High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common condition in which the heart has to pump extra hard to get the blood to circulate. The extra strain on the heart causes Hypertensive heart disease. The specific cause of high blood pressure is often unknown, although alcohol, obesity and a high salt intake make it worse.
High blood pressure initially causes no symptoms, but increases the risk of having a Heart attack Map 454, or Stroke Map 453 as well as Hypertensive heart disease. The higher the blood pressure the greater the risk. Hypertensive heart disease is caused by the strain the high blood pressure puts on the heart. This causes the heart to initially get larger, but eventually it can fail because it is not strong enough to cope with the increased resistance to the blood going through the arteries. Hypertension can often be treated successfully by long term drugs, but this depends on the condition being diagnosed before any symptoms occur as well as good and affordable medical services.In 2002 Strokes caused 13.3% of all deaths in rich territories, 13.8% of all deaths in poor territories and 5.3% of all deaths in very poor territories.
In 2002 Blood pressure caused 2.6% of deaths in people over 60 years old, 1.7% of all deaths in rich territories and 2.7% of all deaths in poor territories with reasonable life expectancy.
High blood pressure caused 1.6% of all deaths worldwide in 2002, an average of 146 deaths per million people per year.