One in Three Adults Have Hypertension

WHO finds high incidence of high blood pressure

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

(RxWiki News) One in three adults around the world has elevated blood pressure, a World Health Organization (WHO) report has indicated. The report also emphasized increasing rates of diabetes and obesity.

One in 10 adults now have diabetes worldwide, and 26 percent of adults in the Americas are obese, the World Health Statistics Report found.

"Exercise and follow a healthy diet to improve heart health."

Margaret Chan, MD, Director-General of WHO, called the report "further evidence of the dramatic increase in conditions that trigger heart disease and other chronic illnesses, particularly in low to middle income countries."

She noted that in some African countries, as much as half of the population has hypertension. In many of those cases, the patients have not yet been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

Residents of higher income countries have managed to reduce the incidence of high blood pressure, mostly through improved diagnosis and treatment with inexpensive medications, reducing the number of deaths from heart disease.

The annual statistics report includes data from 194 countries regarding the percentage of men and women with high blood pressure and elevated blood glucose levels. Information collected ranges from mortality, disease and health system indicators, including life expectancy, to risk factors, health services and treatments.

For the first time, the report also included data on raised glucose levels. An estimated 10 percent have high glucose, or diabetes, though one in three adults in certain Pacific Island countries suffer from the condition.

The levels of worldwide obesity also increased to 12 percent over the last decade, equaling half a billion individuals. The southeast Asia region reported the lowest obesity rate at 3 percent, while a region known as the Americas retained the top spot. The report also revealed that women are more likely to be obese as compared to men, leaving them at greater risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.

The World Health Assembly planned May 21 through May 26 meeting in Switzerland will be used as a forum to discuss next steps for preventing and controlling these diseases, and to set future goals and targets.

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Review Date: 
May 16, 2012
Last Updated:
July 30, 2012