High blood pressure, 2013
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High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and kidney failure. It can narrow and block arteries, as well as strain and weaken the body’s organs.Note 1
The high blood pressure data are based on a question in the Canadian Community Health Survey that asked if respondents had been diagnosed with high blood pressure by a health professional.
In 2013, 17.7% (5.3 million) of Canadians aged 12 and older reported being diagnosed with high blood pressure. This was not a significant change from 2012, though it is an increase from 16.9% in 2009.
From 2001 to 2009, females were more likely than males to report that they had been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Between 2010 and 2012 there was no significant difference between the sexes. In 2013, for the first time, the rate of high blood pressure was higher for males than females (Chart 1).
In addition, Canadians aged 18 and over who were obese – based on respondent-reported height and weight and Health Canada guidelines on body mass index – were more likely to have high blood pressure than those who were not obese. In 2013, 32.6% of Canadians aged 18 and over who were obese had high blood pressure, compared with 15.8% of those who were not obese.
High blood pressure rates increased with age for both males and females across all age groups. The highest rate of high blood pressure was the 75 and older age group, with 50.1% of males and 53.3% of females reporting the chronic condition.
The rates of high blood pressure were higher for males than females between the ages of 12 and 54. After age 54, the rate was similar between the sexes (Chart 2).
The proportion of residents who reported high blood pressure was lower than the national average (17.7%) in:
- Alberta (15.1%)
- British Columbia (15.8%)
The proportion of residents who reported high blood pressure that was higher than the national average in:
- Newfoundland and Labrador (23.1%)
- Prince Edward Island (23.5%)
- Nova Scotia (20.1%)
- New Brunswick (23.0%)
- Ontario (18.5%)
Residents of the other provinces and territoriesNote 2 reported rates that were about the same as the national average.
Because of the strong relationship between age and high blood pressure, provinces and territories with disproportionately younger populations are expected to have high blood pressure rates below the national average. The reverse is true for provinces and territories with older populations. To remove the effect of different age distributions when making provincial comparisons, please refer to the CANSIM table 105-0503 for the age standardized rates.
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