AN international study investigated changes in the prevalence and treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) between the years 1990 and 2019 in 184 countries.
Worldwide, the number of people living with the condition more than doubled over this period to almost 1.3 billion.
The researchers say that smoking and poor diets, which lead to obesity, are partly responsible for the increase.
More than half of all people with hypertension in 2019, or 720 million individuals, were receiving no treatment for the condition because many of them were unaware that they had it.
In 2015, hypertension was responsible for about 8.5 million deathsTrusted Source worldwide.
It is a risk factor for a range of health conditions, including kidney disease and cardiovascular conditions such as stroke and heart disease.
Despite being relatively easy to diagnose and treat with inexpensive drugs, the medical community refers to high blood pressure as a “silent killer” because most people with it show no symptoms.
New research by an international team of scientists has discovered that in 2019, close to 41% of women and 51% of men with high blood pressure were unaware that they had the condition.
The same study found that, in total, about 53% of women and 62% of men with hypertension were not receiving appropriate treatment, as most of them were not aware that they had the condition.
“Nearly half a century after we started treating hypertension, which is easy to diagnose and treat with low cost medicines, it is a public health failure that so many of the people with high blood pressure in the world are still not getting the treatment they need,” says Prof.
Majid Ezzati, Ph.D., senior author of the study and professor of global environmental health at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom.
The Non-Communicable Disease Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC) analyzed data from 1,201 studies that were representative of the populations of 184 countries.
The studies used blood pressure measurements and information about treatment for a total of 104 million people.
Modeling by the researchers suggested that the number of people aged 30–79 years with hypertension increased globally from about 650 million in 1990 to almost 1.3 billion in 2019.