Young Adults in England Unaware They Have High Blood Pressure

hypertension high blood pressure

Experts warn that a considerable number of young individuals in England, approximately 170,000 aged 16 to 24, have high blood pressure without their knowledge. 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that around five in 100 young men and one in 100 young women are affected. Although hypertension may not cause initial symptoms, it strains the heart and blood vessels, leading to half of the heart attacks and strokes in the UK.

Medical Perspective on the Prevalence of Undiagnosed Hypertension

High blood pressure can develop at any age, which is why doctors recommend regular blood pressure checks and preventive measures for adults. Chris Shine from the ONS’s analytical hub said the new analysis aimed to identify the most at-risk groups for undiagnosed hypertension. “We see that there are considerable numbers of younger, healthier people who are undiagnosed,” he explained.

Hypertension Statistics in England

About a third of UK adults have high blood pressure, with many unaware of their condition. Factors like being overweight, eating an unhealthy diet, inactivity, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking can raise blood pressure levels. The ONS reports that young men were particularly likely to have an undiagnosed high blood pressure, affecting 66% of males and 26% of females aged 16 to 24 years.

Prevention and Early Detection

Dr. Pauline Swift from Blood Pressure UK emphasised the importance of lifestyle changes in preventing hypertension. She said, “If you start making small changes to your lifestyle when you are young, such as eating less salt, more fruit and vegetables and taking more exercise to maintain a healthy weight, then you are more likely to stay healthier and prevent strokes, heart disease and chronic kidney disease.” Swift also encouraged everyone to check their blood pressure regularly.

High Blood Pressure’s Global Impact

Prof. Bryan Williams, President of the International Society of Hypertension, highlighted the global consequences of untreated hypertension. He said that high blood pressure causes an estimated 10 million deaths worldwide every year, more than the total number of global deaths caused by Covid over three years. Williams emphasised the importance of early diagnosis and treatment in controlling high blood pressure.

A Growing Concern in Asia

Similar to the situation in England, hypertension has become an increasing concern among the younger population in Asia. The prevalence of high blood pressure in the region has been steadily rising due to rapid urbanization, changes in dietary habits, and sedentary lifestyles. Additionally, factors such as stress, smoking, and alcohol consumption play a role in exacerbating the situation.

Here are some examples of hypertension prevalence among adults in a few Asian countries:

  1. China: The overall prevalence of hypertension in China was estimated to be 23.2% among adults aged 18 years and older. This is according to a 2018 study published in The Lancet.
  2. India: The prevalence of hypertension among Indian adults aged 18-40 was 19.3% for males and 12.2% for females. The overall prevalence of hypertension in India is estimated to be around 25-30% of the adult population. This is from a study published in the Journal of Hypertension in 2017.
  3. South Korea: The prevalence of hypertension among South Korean adults aged 30-39 was 18.9% for males and 5.7% for females. The overall prevalence of hypertension in the country is around 30% of the adult population. The data is from A 2018 study in the Korean Journal of Family Medicine.
  4. Japan: According to the National Health and Nutrition Survey conducted in 2017, the prevalence of hypertension among Japanese adults aged 20-39 was 17.6% for males and 4.4% for females. The overall prevalence of hypertension in Japan is around 40% of the adult population.

Raising Awareness and Encouraging Action

Increased awareness about hypertension and its risks is crucial for early detection and prevention. Campaigns and educational initiatives focusing on the importance of a healthy lifestyle, regular blood pressure monitoring, and timely medical intervention can help reduce the prevalence of hypertension among young adults in Asia and beyond.

Reducing Risk Factors

Finally, to lower the risk of developing hypertension, it is essential to adopt a balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight, and engage in regular physical activity. Limiting alcohol consumption and quitting smoking are also crucial steps in mitigating the risk of high blood pressure.


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