The number of people with high blood pressure and diabetes is increasing in both developed and developing countries, a UN report on World Health Statistics 2012 has disclosed.
“This report is further evidence of the dramatic increase in the conditions that trigger heart disease and other chronic illnesses, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
“In some African countries, as much as half the adult population has high blood pressure,” the report quoted the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Margaret Chan as saying.
The report, which included data from 194 countries, stated that one in every three adults worldwide had high blood pressure and one in 10 suffered from diabetes.
It said that in high-income countries, widespread diagnosis and treatment with low-cost medication had reduced blood pressure across populations, leading in turn to a reduction in deaths from heart disease.
The report said that in Africa, however, more than 40 percent of adults in many countries were estimated to have high blood pressure and that most of them remained undiagnosed, even though many of the cases could be treated with low-cost medications, which would significantly reduce the risk of death.
It stated that in the case of diabetes, the global average prevalence was around 10 percent, with up to one third of populations in some Pacific Island countries having this condition.
According to the report, if left untreated, diabetes could lead to cardiovascular disease, blindness and kidney failure, adding that an increase in obesity is a major health risk.
The report also said that the highest obesity levels were in the Americas, with 26 percent of adults suffering from obesity, and the lowest in the South-East Asian region where only three percent of the population was obesed.
It said in all parts of the world, women were more likely to be obesed than men, making them more vulnerable to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
According to the report, non-communicable diseases currently caused almost two thirds of all deaths worldwide.