The number of people living with high blood pressure has more than doubled since 1990, said a major study published yesterday, which found that half of all sufferers — about 720 million people — went untreated in 2019.
Hypertension is linked to more than 8.5 million deaths each year, and is the leading risk factor for strokes, and heart and liver disease.
To find out how hypertension rates have developed globally over the past 30 years, an international team from Non-Communicable Disease Risk Factor Collaboration analyzed data from more than 1,200 national studies covering nearly every country in the world. They used modeling to estimate high blood pressure rates across populations, as well as the number of people taking medication for the condition.
The study found that in 2019 there were 626 million women and 652 million men living with hypertension.
That represented about double the estimated 331 million women and 317 million men with the condition in 1990.
Forty-one percent of women and 51 percent of men with high blood pressure were unaware of their condition, meaning hundreds of millions of people were missing out on effective treatment, the study found.
“Despite medical and pharmacological advances over decades, global progress in hypertension management has been slow, and the vast majority of people with hypertension remain untreated,” said Majid Ezzati, a professor at Imperial College London’s School of Public Health and senior study author.
In the study, published in The Lancet medical journal, Canada and Peru had the lowest proportion of high blood pressure among adults in 2019, with about one in four people living with the condition.
Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and the UK had the lowest hypertension rates in women at less than 24 percent, while Bangladesh, Eritrea, Ethiopia and the Solomon Islands had the lowest rates in men at less than 25 percent.
At the other end of the spectrum, more than half of women in Paraguay and Tuvalu had hypertension; more than half of men in Argentina, Paraguay and Tajikistan also have the condition, the study showed.
Robert Storey, professor of cardiology at the University of Sheffield, said that COVID-19 had distracted governments from hypertension.
“The pandemic of cardiovascular disease has received less attention in the last 18 months, but reflects concerning worldwide trends in unhealthy lifestyle choices such as high fat, sugar, salt and alcohol intake, sedentary lifestyles with avoidance of exercise and smoking,” said Storey, who was not involved in the study. “It is essential that best practice in government policy is adopted by all countries in order to avoid a time bomb of heart disease and stroke.”
A senior UN official has said he is “alarmed” that a peaceful Australian climate protester has been jailed for 15 months — and refused bail before her appeal — amid global outrage at her “disproportionate” punishment. On Friday, Deanna “Violet” Coco was sentenced to 15 months in prison for blocking a single lane of traffic on the Sydney Harbour Bridge in April in a protest staged to draw attention to the global climate emergency. “I am alarmed at a NSW court’s prison term against climate protestor Deanna Coco and refusal to grant bail until a March 2023 appeal hearing, ” UN Special
SECOND ATTEMPT: An overhaul of the criminal code is expected this month, after a similar move was in 2019 stymied by large-scale protests in the Muslim-majority country The Indonesian parliament is this month expected to pass a new criminal code that would penalize sex outside marriage with a punishment of up to one year in jail, officials have said. The legislative overhaul would also ban insulting the Indonesian president or state institutions, and expressing any views counter to the country’s state ideology. Cohabitation before marriage is also banned. Decades in the making, the new criminal code is expected to be passed on Dec. 15, Indonesian Deputy Minister of Justice Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej said. “We’re proud to have a criminal code that’s in line with Indonesian values,” he told Reuters
CARROT-AND-STICK: Authorities tightened control over virtual private networks, which protesters used to access banned non-Chinese news and social media apps Chinese authorities have initiated the highest “emergency response” level of censorship, according to leaked directives, including a crackdown on virtual private networks (VPNs) and other methods of bypassing online censorship after unprecedented protests demonstrated widespread public frustration with the “zero COVID” policy. The crackdown, including the tracking and questioning of protesters, comes alongside the easing of pandemic restrictions in an apparent carrot-and-stick approach to an outpouring of public grievances. During an extraordinary week in China, protests against “zero COVID” restrictions included criticism of the authoritarian rule of Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) — which was further highlighted by the death of
EASING RESTRICTIONS: China has not approved any foreign COVID-19 vaccines and is opting for those produced domestically, the US Director of National Intelligence said Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is unwilling to accept Western vaccines despite the challenges China is facing with COVID-19, and recent protests could affect his personal standing in the Chinese Communist Party, US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said on Saturday. Although China’s daily COVID-19 cases are near all-time highs, some cities are taking steps to loosen testing and quarantine rules after Xi’s “zero COVID” policy triggered a sharp economic slowdown and public unrest. Despite the social and economic impact of the virus, Xi “is unwilling to take a better vaccine from the West, and is instead relying on a vaccine