Rate of elevated blood pressure increases globally: study

Xinhua, January 11, 2017
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The number of people in the world with elevated blood pressure has increased substantially in the past 25 years, putting billions at an increased risk for heart disease, stroke and kidney disease, a new study said Tuesday.

Researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation of the University of Washington analyzed 844 studies from 154 countries that included 8.69 million participants to examine the health burden associated with systolic blood pressure (SBP), the pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood.

According to the study published in the U.S. journal JAMA, systolic blood pressure of at least 110 mm Hg has been related to multiple cardiovascular and kidney outcomes, including ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and chronic kidney disease.

It found that the rate of SBP of at least 110 to 115 mm Hg increased from 73,119 for every 100,000 people in 1990 to 81,373 per 100,000 in 2015 and that SBP of 140 mm Hg or higher, a condition known as hypertension, increased from 17,307 people in 1990 to 20,526 per 100,000 persons.

Overall, an estimated 3.5 billion individuals had an SBP level of at least 110 to 115 mm Hg and 874 million individuals had hypertension in 2015.

Meanwhile, elevated SBP was associated with more than 10 million deaths in 2015, a 1.4-fold increase since 1990, making it the leading global contributor to preventable death.

The largest numbers of those deaths were due to ischemic heart disease (4.9 million), hemorrhagic stroke (2.0 million) and ischemic stroke (1.5 million), the study said.

"These estimates are concerning," the researchers wrote, adding that "the global obesity epidemic may further increase SBP in some populations."

The study also found China, India, Russia, Indonesia, and the United State accounted for more than half of the lost life-years due to elevated SBP.

"Both the projected number and prevalence rate of SBP of at least 110 to 115 mm Hg are likely to continue to increase globally," the study said. "These findings support increased efforts to control the burden of SBP of at least 110 to 115 mm Hg to reduce disease burden."