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Hypertension on the rise

One billion people are predicted to have high blood pressure  by 2027, researchers claimed last week.

A study in The Lancet medical journal has estimated that 972 million people had high blood pressure in 2000.

A high blood pressure reading is one that exceeds 140/90 mm.

People with high blood pressure risk developing heart disease, kidney failure, diabetes and strokes.

Major obstacles preventing effective treatment of high blood pressure are poor lifestyle and a lack of patient compliance.

Editors writing in the Lancet said: "Lifestyle factors such as physical inactivity a salt-rich diet with high processed and fatty foods, and alcohol and tobacco use, are at the heart of this increased disease burden, which is spreading at an alarming rate from developed countries to emerging economies such as India and China."

He adds: "Physicians need to convey the message that hypertension is the first, and easily measurable, irreversible sign that many organs in the body are under attack."

Dr Isabel Lee from The Stroke Association said: "While it is important to get your blood pressure measured regularly, it is equally important that people who are prescribed blood pressure medication, contintue to take it even once their blood pressure is back under control.

"GP's need to ensure that patients are made fully aware of the importance of continuing with their blood pressure medication."

The Lancet