Blood pressure across the global population increased substantially between 1990 and 2015, according to research looking at the burden of hypertension on populations and its associated mortality and impact on quality of life.
In what they claim to be the first research of its kind, researchers analysed data for 8.7 million people from 195 countries and territories across the globe and estimate that 3.5 billion adults had a systolic blood pressure (SBP) of at least 110–115mmHg in 2015, while another 874 million had a SBP of a least 140mmHg — a 1.4-fold increase since 1990.
The team found considerable variation between countries, with five — China, India, Russia, Indonesia and the United States — accounting for more than half of the total calculated loss of disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) associated with a minimum SBP of 110 to 115mmHg.
Writing in JAMA
(online, 10 January 2016), the researchers say: “This study showed that SBP of at least 110–115mmHg was associated with more than 10 million deaths (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 9.6–11.8 million) and more than 212 million DALYs (95% UI 193–231 million) in 2015.
“SBP of at least 110–115mmHg was the leading global contributor to preventable death in 2015. These estimates are concerning.”
The researchers add that the global projected prevalence rate of SBP of at least 110–115mmHg is likely to continue to rise. “These findings support increased efforts to control the burden of SBP of at least 110–115mmHg to reduce disease burden,” they say.
 Forouzanfar MH, Liu P, Roth GA et al. Global burden of hypertension and systolic blood pressure of at least 110 to 115 mmHg 1990-2015. JAMA. 2017;317(2):165-182. doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.19043