Wed, May 16, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Prevalence of hypertension soars as awareness falters

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The prevalence of high blood pressure (hypertension) in Taiwan has increased by about three times over the past 10 years, and about one in every four adults has hypertension, but nearly 30 percent of them are not aware of it, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) said yesterday.

World Hypertension Day is observed every year on May 17, and this year’s theme is “Know Your Numbers,” the agency said.

The day is an initiative of the World Hypertension League and aims to raise hypertension awareness around the world, and encourage people to prevent and control it by measuring their blood pressure, it added.

Heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and hypertensive disease ranked second, fourth and eighth respectively among the most common causes of death in Taiwan in 2016, the agency said.

Hypertension is also a risk factor for diabetes, kidney disease, eye disease and other chronic diseases, HPA Chronic Disease Control Division Director Chia Shu-li (賈淑麗) said.

A survey conducted by the agency last year showed that 23.7 percent of respondents aged 18 and older had not measured their blood pressure in the past year, and more than 30 percent of people aged 18 to 39 had not measured their blood pressure in the past three years.

Meanwhile, the agency’s Nutrition and Health Survey conducted between 2014 and last year showed that the prevalence of hypertension in adults was 25.2 percent, Chia said, adding that the prevalence in people above 40 reached 37.5 percent.

“Hypertension has no initial symptoms, so we hope that people will measure their blood pressure regularly,” said Lin Hung-ju (林鴻儒), Taiwan Hypertension Society secretary-general and an attending physician at National Taiwan University Hospital’s Division of Cardiology.

“Hypertension can affect the whole body,” he said, adding that people with hypertension have a higher risk of suffering a stroke, sustaining damage to the blood vessels in the retina, coronary artery disease, aortic dissection and kidney disease.

HPA Director-General Wang Ying-wei (王英偉) said people with blood pressure of more than 140/90 millimeters of mercury is considered as hypertensive and should seek medical treatment.

The agency urged people older than 18 to measure their blood pressure at least once a year and people above 40 to check it daily.

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