A recent meta-analysis found that 75 percent of patients with high blood pressure now live in low- and middle-income countries, which means that the condition has reached an all-time high in lower-income nations.
The findings are of particular concern since high blood pressure is behind other chronic diseases such as heart and kidney diseases. In 2013, high blood pressure also known as hypertension, killed between 9 million and 12 million people worldwide
The latest study also found that 30 percent of adults are affected by hypertension.
The latest findings are in line with past reports which have found that hypertension prevalence is on the rise in lower-income countries while it is decreasing in the high-income world. However, how bad the situation really was in lower-income nations remained a mystery until now.
The latest study sought to assess high blood pressure prevalence across the world to help lawmakers make better decisions in their efforts to stave off and prevent the condition globally. The latest research is an analysis of 135 studies involving more than 960,000 adults in 90 states.
Study investigators found that six years ago, 1.38 million adults had the condition. Of that, 1.04 billion patients were located in lower-income countries. In high-income states, the condition affected mostly people aged 60 or older while in low- and middle-income states hypertension affected adults in their 40s and 50s.
Over one decade, hypertension rates dropped 2.6 percent in rich countries, and jumped 7.7 percent in poorer ones. In 2010, less than 50 percent of people living with hypertension knew about the condition. In rich countries, 67 percent were aware of the condition while in poor nations, just 37.9 percent knew they had the illness.
Furthermore, 28.4 percent of patients in rich countries kept their hypertension in check as compared with just 17.9 percent in poorer nations.
Lead author of the study Dr. Jiang He believes that the differences may be triggered by aging populations and people moving to cities. Urbanization has been often tied to unhealthy diets that are rich in salt, unhealthy fats and calories. People living in cities are also less likely to engage in physical activity than their countryside peers.
Additionally, poorer nations don’t have enough funds and infrastructure to keep hypertension in check among high-risk groups. Lack of screening in these countries plays a major role in people’s lack of awareness about their condition too.
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