REVIEW – April 2005

Arterial hypertension as a relevant cardiovascular risk factor


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The article reviews worldwide trends in prevalence and management of arterial hypertension which are vital for health policy, medical care, and public health strategy and resource allocation. From a global perspective, by the year 2025, approximately 1 out of 3 adults aged over 20 years — 1.56 billion people worldwide — will have hypertension, and almost three quarters of the world’s hypertensive population will live in economically developing countries. These trends are associated with increased obesity and an aging and growing population.

Efforts to improve recognition and optimal (non)medical control of hypertension are critical to help reduce the increase in hypertension-related mortality, as well as diminish cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and renal complications. Clinical trial studies have shown the use of antihypertensives to lower BP is associated with mean reduction in the incidence of stroke (35%-40%), myocardial infarction (20%-25%), and heart failure (>50%). Data of hypertension prevalence in Estonia and treatment activities are discussed.