High Blood Pressure In China Spiraling Out Of Control

More and more people in China are suffering from high blood pressure, but proper medication to manage the disease is often lacking.

AsianScientist (Nov. 6, 2017) – In two studies published in a special issue on China in The Lancet, scientists in China the US have discovered that high blood pressure is prevalent and poorly managed in China.

Uncontrolled hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a significant risk factor for stroke, which causes one in five deaths in China annually. Several anti-hypertensive drugs are currently available in the market and are effective at keeping blood pressure under control.

In these two studies, researchers from Yale University and the Chinese National Center for Cardiovascular Disease highlighted that the rate of high blood pressure among the Chinese population is rising. Factors contributing to this increase are an aging population, dietary changes, obesity and urbanization.

The first study showed that a low proportion of all sections of the Chinese population were in control of their condition and less than a quarter of those with hypertension were taking any medication. In general, treatments were also ineffective, and among those being treated, most were only taking one medication.

“The small number of people in China who have this disease under control, even among those who receive medication, is quite alarming,” said co-senior author on both studies, Dr. Harlan Krumholz, Director of the Yale Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE).

“Improving both awareness and treatment is likely necessary, but not sufficient, to achieve better control,” said Dr. Liu Yuan, an associate research scientist at CORE who is a co-author on both studies. “What is also needed is a broad-based, global strategy, such as greater efforts at prevention as well as better screening and more effective and affordable treatment.”

The second study is part of the China Million Persons Project—an ongoing government-funded initiative with the goal of enrolling five million people to improve identification of cardiovascular disease risk factors in China. This is the largest study of hypertension in China ever conducted, involving 1.7 million people between the ages of 35 and 75 in all 31 provinces in mainland China, and 3,362 primary health centers in China.

The researchers found that most primary health centers stocked at least one medication for hypertension, but only 37 percent stocked all four classes of medication. One in 12 sites did not stock any of these classes of medication. Higher-cost anti-hypertensive medicines were also more likely to be prescribed than cheaper, equally effective alternatives.

“This remarkable collaboration has revealed substantial opportunities for improvement, with the prospect of preventing millions of events over the next decade if we can succeed in improving the control of hypertension in China,” said Krumholz.

The articles can be found at:
Su et al. (2017) Availability, Cost, and Prescription Patterns of Antihypertensive Medications in Primary Health Care in China: a Nationwide Cross-sectional Survey.
Lu et al. (2017) Prevalence, Awareness, Treatment, and Control of Hypertension in China: Data from 1·7 Million Adults in a Population-based Screening Study (China PEACE Million Persons Project).


Source: Yale University; Photo: Shutterstock.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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