UK statistics highlight high rates of undiagnosed hypertension

‘Considerable numbers’ of young people in England have undiagnosed hypertension, according to data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in the UK.

The data, reported by the BBC, indicate that, among people aged between 16 and 24, 170,000 have undiagnosed hypertension.

This is out of a total of 320,000 people between 16 and 24 who have hypertension. A much higher proportion of men were undiagnosed compared with women.

The ONS data indicate that in total, around 4.2 million adults in England have undiagnosed hypertension.

The highest total estimated number of cases of undiagnosed hypertension were among males aged 55 to 64 (500,000 males in this age group with undiagnosed hypertension) and females aged 65 to 74 (460,000 females in this age group with undiagnosed hypertension).

President of the International Society of Hypertension (ISH), Professor Bryan Williams, said:

“These figures highlight an ongoing challenge we have in that so many people don’t know they have hypertension.

“And the challenge is that these figures – over 4 million people in England – will be replicated all over the world, so that’s millions and millions of people who aren’t aware of their condition.

“High blood pressure is the most common cause of premature death in the world – but once it is properly diagnosed, high blood pressure can be easy to treat, especially if it is diagnosed early.

“We have good medications which are able to lower blood pressure, and in turn bring down the risk of conditions it can lead to such as heart disease, kidney disease and stroke.

“And simple changes to lifestyle can make a big difference in terms of prevention and management of hypertension, including having a healthy diet, minimising salt intake, exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and managing stress.”

World Hypertension Day is on 17 May 2023 and May Measure Month begins on 1 May.

Both initiatives highlight the importance of better prevention, detection and treatment of high blood pressure, and encourage people to get their blood pressure checked.

Find out more about World Hypertension Day and May Measure Month.