High blood pressure around the world

4 February 2014        

Blood pressure equipment

High blood pressure could be devastating to global health, a group of experts have warned.

The researchers studied data from the World Health Organization’s Study on Global Ageing and Adult Health (SAGE) to examine patterns of hypertension prevalence, awareness, treatment and control for people in China, Ghana, India, Mexico, the Russian Federation and South Africa.

Hypertension was associated with being overweight or obese and was more common in women, those in the lowest wealth quintile and in heavy alcohol consumers. Awareness of the risks of high blood pressure was found to be low for all countries. Effective control of hypertension was more likely in older people, women and in the richest quintile. Obesity was associated with poorer control of the condition.

Doireann Maddock, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “High blood pressure poses a silent threat to global health. It’s a major risk factor for heart disease but there are usually no symptoms, so the only way to know is to have your blood pressure measured.

High blood pressure poses a silent threat to global health.


“It’s important to be aware of your risk of heart disease. If you’re over 40, you are entitled to a health check from your GP or practice nurse. Based on your results, you will then get advice about what you can do to keep your heart healthy.

“The good news is that we can take steps to control our blood pressure. Keeping as active as possible, maintaining a healthy weight and cutting down on salt in your diet can all help keep your blood pressure healthy and protect your heart.”

Find out about the research we're funding into high blood pressure.