India is home to about 200 million adults with high blood pressure, according to the largest study of its kind which found that the number of people in the world with high BP has reached 1.13 billion.
The study, led by scientists at Imperial College London, shows that the number of people with high blood pressure across the world has nearly doubled in 40 years.
Over half of the world’s adults with high blood pressure in 2015 lived in Asia. Around 226 million people in China have high blood pressure, along with 200 million in India, the study published in The Lancet journal found.
Researchers studied changes in blood pressure in every country in the world between 1975 and 2015.
They also found that men had higher blood pressure than women in most countries in the world in 2015.
Globally, 597 million men had raised blood pressure, compared to 529 million women.
The study incorporated blood pressure measurements from nearly 20 million people, showing that while blood pressure has dropped sharply in high-income countries, it has risen in many low and middle-income countries, especially those in Africa and South Asia.
The country with the highest age-corrected proportion of men with high blood pressure in 2015 was Croatia (38 per cent of the population), while Niger had the highest proportion of women with high blood pressure (36 per cent). While the UK had the lowest proportion of people with high blood pressure in Europe in 2015, South Korea, US and Canada were lowest in the world.
“High blood pressure is no longer related to affluence – as it was in 1975 – but is now a major health issue linked with poverty,” said Majid Ezzati, professor at Imperial.
Researchers said the reason for this finding is unclear, but it may be linked to overall better health and increased consumption of fruits and vegetables.
The condition is also caught more frequently and earlier, and managed with medication in high-income countries. These factors may have helped counteract rising obesity, which is a risk factor for high blood pressure.
“Increasing evidence suggests poor nutrition in early life years increases risk of the high blood pressure in later life, which may explain the growing problem in poor countries,” Ezzati said.