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Premature Death in China Linked to Hypertension

Researchers urge shifting resources to prevent and manage hypertension

TUESDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Elevated blood pressure is one of the leading preventable risk factors for premature death in China, according to a study published online Oct. 6 in The Lancet.

Jiang He, M.D., of the Tulane University in New Orleans, and colleagues performed a prospective cohort study in a nationally representative sample of 169,871 Chinese adults aged 40 years and above. The study evaluated total and premature deaths (mortality before 72 years of age in men and 75 years in women) attributable to blood pressure based on population-attributable risk, mortality, and population size of China in 2005. Participants were initially assessed in 1991, with follow-up between 1999 and 2000.

The researchers estimate that increased blood pressure accounted for 2.33 million cardiovascular deaths in 2005, including 2.11 million deaths in adults with hypertension and 220,000 deaths in adults with prehypertension. They also estimate that 1.27 million premature cardiovascular deaths were attributable to increased blood pressure, including 1.15 million deaths in adults with hypertension and 120,000 deaths in adults with prehypertension. Cerebrovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke accounted for a majority of total deaths and premature deaths.

"Our results suggest that mortality attributable to blood pressure is the major public health challenge and argue for shifting of public health priority and resources towards prevention and control of hypertension," the authors conclude.

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