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11 Oct 2021

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is when pressure in the blood vessels is unusually high. It can increase the risk of heart attack, heart disease and strokes, and has been linked to more than 8.5 million deaths world-wide.

In order to find out some more in-depth statistics and figures, we conducted a survey of 2,000 UK adults to find out exactly how we are affected by our blood pressure, and how common diagnosis is. This is what we found:

High blood pressure statistics in a nutshell 

  • Over 1 in 5 people in the UK have been diagnosed with high blood pressure in their lifetime.
     
  • Men are affected by high blood pressure more so than women, with 1 in 4 men being diagnosed with the condition.
     
  • Nearly a third (31%) of people over the age of 55 in the UK have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.
     
  • Plymouth is the most affected by high blood pressure, with the highest number of diagnoses in the UK.
     
  • From August 2020 to July 2021, NHS England spent over £72.5 million on items to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart failure.
     
  • Of the 100+ NHS CCGs in England, Kent and Medway prescribes the most items to treat high blood pressure and spends the most money on treating the condition.
     

How many people in the UK have high blood pressure? 

In August 2021, we used Censuswide to run a survey of 2,000 Britons to find out just how many of us are affected by our blood pressure, whether we are diagnosed or otherwise. We asked:

Which of the following statements, if any, most applies to you? (Tick one)
Answer options:

 

  • I have had my blood pressure checked and it is normal
  • I have been diagnosed with high blood pressure previously and this is ongoing
  • I believe my blood pressure is normal, but it has not been checked
  • I have been diagnosed with high blood pressure previously, but this is now resolved
  • I have been diagnosed with low blood pressure previous and this is ongoing
  • I suspect that my blood pressure is high, but I have not been diagnosed as such
  • I have been diagnosed with low blood pressure previously, but this is now resolved
  • I suspect that my blood pressure is low, but I have not been diagnosed as such
  • None of the above
  • Prefer not to say


As you can see from the graph:

  • Over 1 in 5 (20.7%) UK adults have been diagnosed with high blood pressure in the past or are still receiving treatment for the condition.
     
  • 16.8% of respondents reported that they had had their blood pressure checked and it was normal.
     
  • Low blood pressure is far less prevalent than high blood pressure, with 11.4% of UK adults having been diagnosed with low blood pressure at some point in their life. 

 

Does gender impact who is affected by high blood pressure?

Since high blood pressure can be a cause of cardiovascular disease, something which men are more prone to, we wondered if our results would mirror this fact. Here is what we found: 

  • Over 1 in 4 UK men have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, making them more prone to the condition than women.
     
  • Over 1 in 7 UK women have been diagnosed with high blood pressure at some point. 
     
  • Slightly more women than men are affected by low blood pressure, with 11.7% of women being affected and 11% of men being affected.

Diagnoses figures were worked out through adding the percentage of survey respondents who had been diagnosed with high blood pressure and had ongoing treatment, and respondents who had previously been diagnosed with high blood pressure, and whose treatment was now resolved.


Key: BP = blood pressure, HBP = high blood pressure, LBP = low blood pressure

Which age group is most likely to have high blood pressure? 

Are we more likely to be affected by high blood pressure the older we get? Or is it just as prevalent in younger people? To find out, we asked those surveyed to specify their age group. Here are the results:

  • Nearly a third (31.3%) of people aged 55 or over have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.
     
  • Just over 1 in 5 people aged 45-54 have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.
     
  • The 25-34 age group, with 13.1% of people affected by high blood pressure, are slightly more affected by high blood pressure than the 35-44 age group, which have a diagnosis percentage of 12.9%.
     
  • The least affected age group was 16-24, with only 9.6% of that age group having been diagnosed with high blood pressure.


Which UK cities are most affected by high blood pressure? 

Does location really have a dramatic effect on our blood pressure? Are we more likely to be affected by high blood pressure if we live in a big city, or are those in the countryside affected just as severely? Does how wealthy our area is have any correlation to the risk of high blood pressure? To find out, we asked those surveyed about their location, and here are the results:

As we can see from the graph:

  • Plymouth has the highest number of diagnoses for high blood pressure, with 31.7% of the city having received a diagnosis at some point in their lifetime.
     
  • This was very closely followed by Edinburgh and Cardiff, where 31% and 30.4% of their populations have respectively been diagnosed with high blood pressure.
     
  • Brighton and Newcastle were closely ranked for having the lowest number of diagnoses in the UK, with Newcastle only just beating Brighton as having the lowest number, at 15.19%, whereas Brighton has 15.52%.
     
  • Londoners, despite living in one of the biggest cities in the whole of Europe, had a rather middling percentage of high blood pressure diagnosis, with just 17.89% of them having been diagnosed with the condition.

How many people are on high blood pressure medication? 

Medication can be really useful when it comes to high blood pressure, and the higher your blood pressure is, the more likely you are to benefit from taking antihypertensive medication. But just how many people in the UK take medication for their high blood pressure? To find out, we analysed NHS prescription data using OpenPrescribing, which found:

  • In July 2021 alone, 6,220,498 items for hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart failure were prescribed by CCGs in England.
     
  • From August 2020 to July 2021, £72,779,187 was spent collectively by all CCGs in England on items for hypertension and heart failure.
     
  • NHS Kent and Medway CCG, as well as prescribing the most items for the treatment of hypertension and heart failure, also spent the most money on treatments for the condition, spending a total of £656,966 in July 2021.
     
  • On the other end of the spectrum, the CCG that prescribed the least number of items to treat hypertension and heart failure was NHS West Lancashire CCG, which prescribed a total of 14,475 items to their patients in July 2021.
     
  • The CCG that spent the least on the treatment of hypertension and heart failure was NHS Bassetlaw CCG, which spent a total of £39,557 on items for their treatments.


Using NHS prescription data, we also conducted an analysis to find out which CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups) in England prescribed the most high blood pressure-related medicines in July 2021, and the cost of treating high blood pressure on the NHS over the past 12 months.

As you can see from the graph:

  • NHS Kent and Medway CCG prescribes the most high blood pressure medication, with 201,909 items prescribed in July 2021 alone.
     
  • In the Greater London region, 634,546 items in total were prescribed by the NW, NE, SW and SE London CCGs.
     
  • The North London CCGs are higher up, following NHS Kent and Medway CCG as prescribing the second and third most number of items for hypertension and heart failure. Whereas the South London CCGs are at the bottom of the list as prescribing the 9th and 10th least amount of items for high blood pressure treatment.

High Blood Pressure Statistics in the UK

We used Keyword Finder to find out which cities across the UK are searching the most for terms related to high blood pressure.

One of the first keywords we decided to analyse was ‘high blood pressure’. The table below shows our results in descending order.

Place Average Yearly Searches Per 100,000 People For 'high blood pressure'
Bedford 2,827
Stockport 2,041
Doncaster 1,849
Peterborough 1,812
Bolton 1,732
Birkenhead 1,722
Rochdale 1,686
Newcastle upon Tyne 1,586
Bournemouth 1,581
Glasgow 1,549

We used the Keyword Finder tool to find the average monthly searches per search term in different towns and cities. We then divided this number by the population of each town/city and multiplied by 100,000 to get the average monthly searches per 100,000 people. We then multiplied this number by 12 in order to find the average yearly searches per 100,000 people.

As you can see from the table above:

  • People in Bedford conduct the most searches for the term ‘high blood pressure’, with 2,827 in every 100,000 people searching for this term each year. 
     
  • This is then followed by folks in Stockport and Doncaster, where averages of 2,041 and 1,849 in every 100,000 people respectively search for ‘high blood pressure’ each year.
     
  • 4 of the top 10 cities that search the most for the term ‘high blood pressure’ are in the North West of England. 

We also used this method to find the top 10 towns/cities searching for ‘beta blockers’, as this is a more broad term for medications that reduce blood pressure.

This is what we found:

Place Average Yearly Searches Per 100,000 People For 'beta blockers'
Bedford 1,542
Cambridge 1,532
Stockport 1,397
Belfast 1,371
Glasgow 1,294
Oxford 1,257
Birkenhead 1,192
Bath 1,158
Bristol 1,164
Edinburgh 1,156


As shown in the table:

  • Bedford is once again at the top of the list, with 1,542 average yearly searches per 100,000 people.
     
  • This is followed by Cambridge and Stockport, where there are 1,532 and 1,397 average yearly searches per 100,000 people, curious to know about beta blockers.
     
  • Edinburgh was further down the list with 1,156 searches for beta blockers. This is interesting as the population of Edinburgh, at over 470,000, is over 5 times higher than that of Bedford, which is just over 90,000. This means that over 1% of Bedford’s population search for beta blockers yearly, but in Edinburgh just under 0.25% of the population do the same.

This result was reached by taking the populations of Bedford and Edinburgh, 93,767 and 476,626 respectively, dividing these by 100 to find 1% of the population, and then dividing Edinburgh’s result by 4 to get a result closest to the average number of yearly searches for ‘beta blockers’. This is under the assumption that each search was carried out by a unique individual.

High Blood Pressure Facts and Figures in the UK

If you’re worried about your blood pressure (or even if you’re not, since high blood pressure usually has no symptoms), speak to your GP practice or ask your pharmacist for advice. If you want to supporting your heart’s health with 100% natural supplements, then please take a look at our Heartbeet heart formula with organic beetroot extract.

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