High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Why is it an issue?

Improving the early identification and treatment of high blood pressure would reduce the risk of ill health and death through heart disease, stroke and other conditions.

What is the position in Devon?

Of the 216,000 people thought be affected by high blood pressure in Devon, only 53% are known to their GP practice and receiving treatment.  This percentage varies from 49% in the most deprived areas to 57% in the least deprived areas, highlighting higher levels of risk factors and greater reluctance to seek medical support in more deprived areas. Anti-ypertensive drugs account for approximately 15% of the primary care prescribing budget.

What is the evidence of effective interventions?

All people with high blood pressure should have lifestyle interventions including advice on healthy eating, increasing physical activity, reducing excessive alcohol consumption and intake of caffeine products, reducing salt intake and providing support to stop smoking and when clinically appropriate anti-hypertensive drugs should be used.  The challenge in Devon is to identify individuals at risk who do not seek medical attention, nationally research is being undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of health check programmes in identifying and supporting individuals at risk of cardiovascular disease including those with high blood pressure.