(RxWiki News) As the population ages and people live longer, the rate of high blood pressure is increasing. By 2013, more than a quarter of all Canadians are expected to suffer from hypertension.
Of those rising cases, older women are most likely to suffer from elevated blood pressure, as compared to men. Residents of Canada's Atlantic provinces also have higher incidences of hypertension.
"Make better meal choices if you're at risk of hypertension."
Cynthia Robitaille, a study author with the Public Health Agency of Canada, said that if changes are not made, 27 percent of the population of Canada -- 7.4 million adults -- will be living with hypertension between 2012 and 2013.
To change that statistic, she said that programs to improve the lifestyles of Canadians, such as a proposed initiative to reduce sodium consumption, will be critical.
Canadian researchers examined data on 26 million adults over the age of 20 between 1998 and 2008. The data, collected from the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System, which includes all Canadians who have used the health care system, was studied by age group and province.
Between 2007 and 2008, about 6 million Canadians, or 23 percent of the population, had been diagnosed with hypertension. About 24 percent of cases were among women, while 22 percent of men had high blood pressure. Adjusting for age, the rate of hypertension increased from 13 percent in 1999 to 20 percent in 2008.
During the new research, investigators found that 44 percent of Canadian women over the age of 60 were diagnosed with high blood pressure as compared to 40 percent in older men. They also found that hypertensive adults were up to four times as likely to die as individuals without high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is considered the top risk factor for death and a reduced quality of life even though it is manageable. In Canada it is blamed for about 13 percent of all deaths and is known to increase the risk of stroke, dementia, heart and kidney failure, and other chronic diseases.
The study was recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.