Vidyya Medical News Service
Volume 6 Issue 67 Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 7-Mar-2004 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 8-Mar-2004
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High blood pressure in China looks like U.S. 25 years ago

One in four people living in China may be suffering from high blood pressure, say Tulane University researchers, but barely half of them know they have hypertension. Of those who know, 63 percent have their high blood pressure under control. Only half of those who knew they had high blood pressure had changed diet or exercise habits to try to control it. The study is published in the March issue of Hypertension.

“Hypertension is one of the most manageable risk factors for heart disease and stroke,” says epidemiologist Paul Muntner, lead author. “Our study showed that rates of high blood pressure awareness, diagnosis and treatment in China are similar to those in the United States 25 years ago. Awareness of the problem is poor and high blood pressure is undertreated in China.”

Data was drawn from the Inter ASIA study, a survey of 15,540 Chinese adults between 34 and 75 years old. Among all the people who had high blood pressure, those who were more likely to have their blood pressure under control were women, former smokers, people who were overweight or obese and those who had had a blood pressure measure taken within the previous year or during the five years of the Inter ASIA study. Current smokers, people who drank two or more alcoholic drinks a day and those who were more physically active were less likely to have their high blood pressure under control.

“This study has several public health implications,” Muntner says. “The data indicates that high blood pressure is caught when people address other heart disease risk factors like smoking or excess weight. Given the growing problem of high blood pressure in China, population based efforts to get individuals to check their blood pressure regularly and manage it when it is high are essential.”

Muntner adds that the analysis showed that lifestyle modifications, such as quitting cigarette smoking and reducing alcohol consumption, could help with blood pressure management. The study was done in partnership with colleagues at The Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing.

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