This finding come from a new study published last Tuesday in The Lancet, which found that the number of people affected by high blood pressure has almost doubled over the past 40 years: lancet.com/high_blood_pressre
The study highlighted a stark contrast between where people are most affected, with high-income countries showing declines in blood pressure among their populations in recent decades, while low- and middle-income countries have seen substantial increases — particularly in South Asia and Africa. Half the world’s adults with high blood pressure now live in Asia, and high blood pressure is a condition of poverty, not affluence.
The study was led by Professor Majid Ezzati at Imperial College, London in collaboration with WHO staff, including my colleague Gretchen Stevens. Hundreds of scientists around the world also collaborated in compiling data from 1,479 population-based studies that had measured the blood pressures of 19·1 million adults. These data were used to estimate trends from 1975 to 2015 in blood pressure distributions for 200 countries. Other analyses by WHO and the Imperial College group have estimated that raised blood pressure causes 7.5 million deaths globally, almost 13% of all deaths.
This study has provided the most complete picture to date of long-term trends in adult blood pressure for all countries and provides important guidance for addressing the global target set by the WHO World Health Assembly to reduce the prevalence of high blood pressure by 25% by 2025.