Hypertension: Prevalence and leading risk factors

Release date: February 20, 2019
Hypertension: Prevalence and leading risk factors
Hypertension: Prevalence and leading risk factors

Hypertension: Prevalence and leading risk factors

Hypertension is defined as measured blood pressure ≥ 140/90 mm Hg or reported past-month use of blood pressure medication among adults aged 20 to 79 years
140/90 mm Hg is considered high

The prevalence of hypertension is similar for:

  • Men: 24%
  • Women: 23%

Prevalence of hypertension among Canadian adults increases with age

Prevalence of hypertension among Canadian adults, by age group
Age Percentage
20-39 3%
40-59 23%
60-69 47%
70-79 70%

Compared with other countries, adults with hypertension in Canada have higher rates of:

  • 84%: awareness of having hypertension
  • 80%: being treated with medication for their hypertension
  • 66%: keeping their blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg (or "controlled") with medication

However, Canadians with hypertension under the age of 40 are less likely than older people to be aware, treated or keep their condition controlled.

Leading risk factors for hypertension for people aged 20 to 79
Risk factors Men Women
Being overweight or obese increases risk of developing hypertension by: 45% 57%
Eating fruits and vegetables fewer than 5 times per day increases risk of developing hypertension by: 18% 15%
Being less physically active increases risk of developing hypertension by: 19% 26%
Having diabetes increases risk of developing hypertension by: 68% 125%

Regardless of other characteristics, each added risk factor significantly increases the probability of developing hypertension.

Number of risk factors
  Zero One Two Three Four
Men aged 20 to 79 13% 17% 23% 30% 37%
Women aged 20 to 79 9% 14% 21% 30% 41%

Sources:

DeGuire J, Clarke J, Rouleau K, Roy J, Bushnik T. Blood pressure and hypertension. Health Reports 2019; 30(2): 14-21.
Leung AA, Bushnik T, Hennessy D, McAlister FA, Manuel DG. Risk factors for hypertension in Canada. Health Reports 2019; 30(2): 3-13.

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