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Hypertension Takes Huge Toll in Developing Countries
Date:5/1/2008

Eighty percent of high blood pressure-related deaths occur in poorer nations, study shows

THURSDAY, May 1 (HealthDay News) -- Roughly 80 percent of high blood pressure-related deaths in the world occur in developing nations, a new study by New Zealand researchers shows.

Once regarded as a problem only in high-income countries, high blood pressure is now a global problem that affects both rich and poor nations, the researchers said.

The researchers calculated that 7.6 million premature deaths (about 13.5 percent of the worldwide total) and 92 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYS) -- 6 percent of the worldwide total -- among people over age 30 were caused by high blood pressure in 2001.

About 54 percent of strokes and 47 percent of heart disease cases were attributed to high blood pressure. About half of those cases occurred in people with hypertension (greater than 140 mm Hg systolic), while the remainder occurred in people with lesser degrees of high blood pressure.

In high-income countries, the proportion of premature deaths due to high blood pressure was 17.6 percent, compared to 12.9 percent in middle- and low-income nations. The proportion of DALYS due to high blood pressure in high-income nations was 9.3 percent, compared to 5.6 percent in middle- and low-income nations.

However, 80 percent of worldwide high blood pressure-related deaths occurred in middle- and low-income nations in eastern Europe and Asia, including China and India. More than one-third of all deaths in lower-income nations in Europe and central Asia were related to high blood pressure.

In high-income countries there were 1.39 million high blood pressure-related deaths; 418,000 stroke deaths; 668,000 heart disease deaths; 109,000 deaths due to hypertensive disease; and 197,000 deaths due to other cardiovascular diseases.

In low- and middle-income countries, there were 6.22 million high blood pr
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