Raised blood pressure, defined as systolic blood pressure (SBP) of 140 mmHg or higher or diastolic blood pressure (DBP) of 90 mmHg or higher, is the leading risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and chronic kidney disease. Blood pressure is a multifaceted trait, affected by nutrition, environment, and behavior throughout the life course, including fetal and early childhood nutrition and growth, adiposity, specific components of the diet, especially sodium and potassium intakes, alcohol use, smoking, physical activity, air pollution, lead, noise, psychosocial stress, and the use of blood pressure-lowering drugs.
The prevalence of raised blood pressure measures the number of people at high risk of cardiovascular diseases, irrespective of treatment status, and it is an indicator of uncontrolled high blood pressure in the total population. Reduce the prevalence of raised blood pressure by 25% by 2025 relative to its 2010 level is one of the global noncommunicable disease (NCD) targets adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2013 and included in the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases 2013-2020.
In the Region of the Américas, the age-standardized prevalence of raised blood pressure in adults aged 18 years and over was 17.6% (15.3–20.0) in both sexes combined, 20.3% (16.9–24.4) in men and 14.8% (12.2–17.9) in women in 2015. It ranges from a high of 27.1% in Saint Lucia to a low of 12.9% in the United States of America.
In the map, data are presented in five discrete classes created using the quantile classification method. Each class contains 20% of countries, which is easy to interpret. The quintile classes are labeled sequentially from Q1 as the first quintile including the lowest fifth (1% to 20%) of the data to Q5, the fifth quintile representing the class with the highest fifth (81% to 100%) of the data.
Indicator name: Prevalence of raised blood pressure, systolic blood pressure (SBP)≥140 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure (DBP)≥90 mmHg
Measure: Number of people
Unit of measurement: cases per 100 population
Topic: Risk factors for noncommunicable diseases
Definition: Percent of defined population with raised blood pressure (systolic blood pressure ≥ 140 OR diastolic blood pressure ≥ 90 mmHg).
Disaggregation: Sex, Location, Year
Method of measurement: Based on physical measured blood pressure in a population-based study. If multiple blood pressure readings were taken, the first reading per participant was dropped and the average of remaining readings was used. It is recommended to take at least three measurements.
Monitoring and Evaluation Framework: Outcome
Method of estimation: Input data and methods are described in:
- NCD Risk Factor Collaboration. Worldwide trends in blood pressure from 1975 to 2015: a pooled analysis of 1479 population-based measurement studies with 19.1 million participants. The Lancet; 2017.
- Methodological Notes, NMH Data Portal. Pan American Health Organization. 2020.
Preferred data sources: Population-based surveys