According to a new research, the number of people in the world with high blood pressure has reached 1.13 billion. The research which is the largest ever study of its kind, involved the World Health Organization and hundreds of scientists throughout the world, and incorporated blood pressure measurements from nearly 20 million people.
The study was conducted by scientists at Imperial College London, and these are 5 key things to learn from the study.
1. Previously, high blood pressure was mostly linked with the rich and affluent, but according to Professor Majid Ezzati, senior author of the study at the School of Public Health at Imperial: “High blood pressure is no longer related to affluence — as it was in 1975 — but is now a major health issue linked with poverty.”
2. The research also revealed men had higher blood pressure than women in most countries in the world in 2015. Globally, 597 million men had raised blood pressure, compared to 529 million women.
3. High blood pressure puts extra strain on the blood vessels and major organs such as heart, brain and kidneys. It is the world’s leading cause of cardiovascular disease, which leads to stroke and heart attacks, and is thought to cause 7.5 million deaths a year across the globe.
4. The team explained the condition is caused by a number of factors including dietary influences, such as eating too much salt and not enough fruit and vegetables, obesity, insufficient exercise and some environmental factors such as lead exposure and air pollution. The condition is more common in older ages.
5. The top five countries with the highest proportion of men with high blood pressure in 2015 were all in Central and Eastern Europe: Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, and Slovenia. Nearly two in five men in these countries had high blood pressure. While the top five countries with the highest proportion of women with high blood pressure in 2015 were all in Africa: Niger, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Somalia. Around one in three women in these countries had high blood pressure.
6. Professor Ezzati also revealed that poor nutrition in childhood in low-income countries may also play a role in the study findings: “Increasing evidence suggests poor nutrition in early life years increases risk of the high blood pressure in later life, which may explain the growing problem in poor countries.”
The research led by scientists at Imperial College London is the largest ever study of its kind, the research involved the World Health Organization and hundreds of scientists throughout the world, and it was funded by the Wellcome Trust.
Findings from the study were published in the journal The Lancet.