Hypertension by the numbers – Know Your Numbers

Graphic showing 1 in 3 adults has hypertension globally.

These are the facts about The World’s Number One Killer.

World Hypertension Day 2014, annually celebrated on May 17th, provides an opportunity to emphasize opportunities to improve prevention and control of hypertension. The key to the campaign this year and for several years to come with be: Know Your Numbers.

How do the numbers relate to hypertension?

A normal blood pressure is a BP reading of lower than 120/80. When your blood pressure numbers are consistently greater than 140/90, you’re considered to have high blood pressure, or hypertension (with the exception of people with diabetes or kidney disease, when 130/80 is considered a high reading).

In addition to  normal, or “ideal,” blood pressure values, there are three categories of blood pressure — hypertension, pre-hypertension, and hypotension — each of which have a different impact on  health.

Blood Pressure Chart from the Ottawa Heart Institute

Hypertension is far from being only a first world problem. It’s a problem that affects countries around the world.

The numbers don’t lie. Hypertension causes more deaths globally than any other risk factors known to man today.

These are the numbers globally and locally. They tell a shocking story.


Hypertension is the biggest cause of death globally with 7 million deaths annually.

Globally, hypertension causes an estimated 18% of deaths and 7% of disability.

Hypertension causes 50% of deaths from heart disease and stroke and is a leading cause of kidney disease and kidney failure.

An estimated 40% of adults over 25 have hypertension. That’s 1 in 3 adults.

Graphic showing 1 in 3 adults has hypertension globally.

Adults only need less than 1 gram of salt per day, but we consume 8-18 daily depending on where we live.

A reduction in salt of 6 grams/day would prevent approx. 2.5 million deaths a year.

In most countries, 80% of the salt we eat comes from purchased food.

Reducing sodium consumption in low and middle-income countries would cost an estimated 9 cents per person.

A recent study showed that the UK food industry’s initiative to reduce salt 20-30% over five years has saved 6,000 lives and 2.7(Cdn) billion in health care expenses. That’s $2.8 billion in Canadian dollars.


7.4 million people in Canada live with hypertension.

In the most recent year with figures available (2010), hypertension caused 13,000 deaths in Canada.

An estimated 2 million Canadians have hypertension caused by excess dietary sodium.

Over 90% of Canadians are expected to develop hypertension if they live an average lifespan.

The most recent numbers show that the cost to the Canadian health care system from hypertension is $3 billion.


People of South Asian descent are more likely to contract heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes.

First Nations people are at a greater risk developing of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

People of African descent are also at a higher risk of having high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

If you, your family or friends are part of these groups, check out or share these multicultural resources from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada for helpful, translated and/or culturally specific guides to healthier living.


HypertensionTALK Fact Sheets
Hypertension Canada
World Action on Salt

Comments are closed.

Toggle This
  • Resources for Health Professionals

  • Resources for Public

  • Contact Us

    We look forward to hearing from you.

    * indicates required field