Low-income countries, especially developing countries, now have increased rates of hypertension in contrast to high-income countries, according to a study conducted by Jiang He of Tulane University School of Public Health, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.

The study revealed that from the year 2000 to 2010, the rate of hypertension in middle and low-income countries increased by nearly 8 percentage points.

For high-income countries in that same time period, it decreased by nearly 3 percentage points.

Jiang He and his team combed through studies published from January 1995 to December 2014.

The study they analysed addressed sex and age-specific rates of high blood pressure, and they grouped countries using a World Bank classification system.

The researchers estimated that 1.39 billion adults across the globe had high blood pressure in 2010 compared with 921 million in 2000.

The prevalence of hypertension in high-income countries dropped from 31.1 per cent in 2000 to 28.5 per cent in 2010, while the prevalence increased over that time from 23.8 per cent to 31.5 per cent in middle and low-income countries.

The study found that East Asia and the Pacific region had the highest rate and increase in adults with hypertension: Nearly 439 million people there have hypertension.

The South Asia and sub-Sahara Africa regions also had a significant uptick in high blood pressure prevalence, with 114 million more people and 78 million more people, respectively living with hypertension in 2010 than in 2000.

Changes in urbanisation and diet are likely explanations for why hypertension is now an issue in middle and low-income countries, according to the study.

“People who live in the countryside, engage in the farmer lifestyle and have manual labour, When they move to the city, they get office jobs and stress,” Jiang said.

The study also found that there were disparities between middle and low-income countries and high-income countries when it came to hypertension awareness and treatment.

Only 38 per cent of people in middle and low-income countries were aware of their high blood pressure status compared with 67 per cent of people in high-income countries.

Moreover, 56 per cent of high-income residents were likely to receive treatment compared with 29 per cent in middle and low-income countries.

Suffice to say that, stress and anxiety and the pressure to keep up with city life are the major reasons for this increase in the rate of hypertension in Low-income countries.

Excerpts from Washington Post


Author: Dotun Obatuyi

My name is Dotun Obatuyi (Dotunoba), I hail from Osun state, a public health scientist (monitoring and evaluation specialist), my keen interests are researching, critiquing and writing feature articles on health, science and technology as well as issues around the globe.