New research published in The Lancet has found that
high blood pressure causes at least 7.6 million premature deaths worldwide - about 13.5% of the global total.
According to researchers, that means that almost one in five premature deaths each year are caused by high blood pressure and the problem is fast becoming a global epidemic.
Mike Rich, Executive Director of the Blood Pressure Association said: "This research rightly shows the size of the global problem with 7.6 million deaths attributed to high blood pressure annually.
The majority of the burden of high blood pressure is clearly being felt in the developing world and it is vital that something is done about it, but it is also clear that the UK picture is nothing to be proud of.
"Even with the availability of effective blood pressure lowering medicines and knowledge of the lifestyle changes that will reduce hypertension, the UK is still failing to effectively reduce blood pressure related disease.
"Every day there are 350 preventable strokes or heart attacks in the UK due to high blood pressure. This research highlights the continuing need for us to help the 16 million people in the UK who have high blood pressure, including the third who do not even know they have it."
References: C Laws, S Vander Hoorn, A Rodgers, for the International Society of Hypertension. ‘Global burden of blood-pressure related disease, 2001’, The Lancet. Friday 2 May 2008.