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EPMA J. 2011 Mar;2(1):59-64. doi: 10.1007/s13167-011-0069-y. Epub 2011 Mar 18.

Epidemiology and prevention of hypertension in Japanese: how could Japan get longevity?

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Department of Health Science, Shiga University of Medical Science, Seta-Tsukinowa-cho, Otsu, Shiga 520-2192 Japan.


Japan is one of the countries with the longest longevity in the world, and it was accomplished by a drastic decline in stroke mortality from 1960's. The decline in stroke mortality would be largely explained by a population-wide decreasing trend in blood pressure (BP) level, because higher BP has been the strongest risk factor of stroke; about 20% of total deaths can be explained by higher BP above optimal in Japan. Decreasing trend in BP occurred both in men and women in all age-groups, which cannot be fully explained by the widespread use of anti-hypertensive agents. The most probable reason for the population-wide BP decline in Japan would be a large decline in dietary salt intake after 1950's. However, other factors including obesity, high alcohol intake, and unfavorable dietary habits could increase BP level of Japanese again.

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