The proportion of the world's adult population with high blood pressure is predicted to increase from a quarter to a third by 2025, totalling over one billion, conclude authors of a study published in this week's issue of THE LANCET.
High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for mortality and increases a person's risk of cardiovascular disease and kidney disease. The prevalence of high blood pressure in various regions of the world has been previously reported but this is the first study to estimate the total worldwide figure.
Accurate estimates of the worldwide prevalence of this condition are an essential source of information for planning of health services. Measurement of the global burden of hypertension will allow public health and policy makers to assign sufficient priority and resources into its management and prevention.
Jaing He (Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, LA, USA) and colleagues pooled data from 30 population-based studies, published from January 1, 1980 to December 31, 2002, involving over 700,000 people, from different regions of the world. The investigators found that the total number of adults with high blood pressure in 2000 was 972 million; 333 million in economically developed countries and 639 million in developing countries. The number of adults with high blood pressure was predicted to increase by about 60% to a total of 1.56 billion in 2025.
The increase in prevalence of high blood pressure is mostly attributed to the number of people with the condition in developing regions. The prevalence of high blood pressure is set to increase by 24% in developed countries and by 80% in developing countries. On the basis of these estimates, in 2025, three quarters of the world's population with high blood pressure will be in developing regions.