Over a third of Chinese adults have high blood pressure

BEIJING • More than a third of adults in China suffer from high blood pressure, but only one in 20 is able to effectively manage his condition, according to research published yesterday.

Strokes are the leading cause of death in China, accounting for one in five deaths annually, researchers said, with uncontrolled high blood pressure a significant risk factor. But fewer than a quarter of people with hypertension in China take medication, and treatment among those who receive it was found to be ineffective or unsuitable.

The availability of medication for high blood pressure is patchy across the country and one in 12 primary healthcare pharmacies do not stock any anti-hypertensive drugs, according to two studies published jointly in medical journal The Lancet.

Researchers also noted that "despite the availability of low-cost medication, higher-cost medication were more often prescribed". Only a third of sites stocked "high-value" medication, drugs that are both recommended and low-cost.

"It is simple deficiencies in the country's health system that make a large contribution to the disease burden," said UCL Institute for Global Health's Professor Therese Hesketh and Zhejiang University School of Public Health's Professor Zhou Xudong in a joint commentary for the study.

"This situation is worrying, not least because prevention and control of hypertension have been a high priority in China for more than two decades."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2017, with the headline 'Over a third of Chinese adults have high blood pressure'. Print Edition | Subscribe