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Prevalence, awareness and treatment of hypertension in Finland during 1982–2007

Kastarinen, Mikaa,b; Antikainen, Riittac,d; Peltonen, Markkue; Laatikainen, Tiinae; Barengo, Noel Cf,g; Jula, Anttih; Salomaa, Veikkoe; Jousilahti, Pekkae; Nissinen, Aulikkie; Vartiainen, Erkkie; Tuomilehto, Jaakkoe,f,i

doi: 10.1097/HJH.0b013e32832c41cd
Original papers: Epidemiology

Objectives To assess the trends in prevalence and in control of hypertension in various parts of Finland during 1982–2007.

Methods Three independent cross-sectional population surveys were conducted in 1982, 2002 and 2007 with age-stratified samples of men and women aged 25–64 years from the national population register. The total number of participants with complete blood pressure (BP) measurements was 16 775.

Results Overall, during 1982–2007, the prevalence of hypertension (systolic BP ≥ 140 mmHg and/or diastolic BP ≥ 90 mmHg and/or current use of antihypertensive drug treatment) fell significantly in both sexes. In men, it fell from 63.3 to 52.1%; in women, from 48.1 to 33.6% (P < 0.001 for both sexes). However, during the past 5-year period, a decline was observed only in women in south-western Finland (P = 0.003). Furthermore, previously observed significant increases in the proportions of treated and controlled hypertensive individuals did not continue among men during 2002–2007. Despite the evident progress in all aspects of hypertension care since 1982, still in 2007, only 68% of all hypertensive individuals were aware of their condition, 52% of those who were aware were treated with antihypertensive drugs and 37% of the drug-treated patients had normal BP.

Conclusion Steady progress has been made in the prevention and treatment of hypertension in Finland. However, further improvements are clearly needed.

aDepartment of Internal Medicine, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland

bDepartment of Internal Medicine, Oulu University Hospital, Finland

cOulu City Hospital, Oulu, Finland

dFaculty of Medicine, Imperial College, London, UK

eDepartment of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland

fDepartment of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

gUnit of Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University Hospital LaPaz, Madrid, Spain

hDepartment of Health and Functional Capacity, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Turku

iSouth Ostrobotnia Central Hospital, Seinäjoki, Finland

Received 22 February, 2009

Accepted 27 March, 2009

Correspondence to Mika Kastarinen, MD, PhD, Department of Internal Medicine, Kuopio University Hospital, PB 1777, 70211 Kuopio, Finland Tel: +358 17 173311; fax: +358 17 172229; e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.