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Can J Cardiol. 2016 May;32(5):687-94. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2015.07.734. Epub 2015 Aug 15.

Epidemiology of Hypertension in Canada: An Update.

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Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Alberta Diabetes Institute, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Electronic address:
Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Departments of Medicine, Community Health Sciences, and Physiology and Pharmacology, Libin Cardiovascular Institute, O'Brien Institute of Public Health, University of Calgary, Canada.



High blood pressure (BP) is the leading cause of death and disability in the world. The objective of this analysis was to perform a detailed update of the epidemiology of hypertension in Canada.


Five population-based data sources were analyzed. We used the Canadian Health Measures Survey to determine the latest directly measured prevalence, awareness, and control estimates (2012-2013); the National Population Health Survey, and Canadian Community Health Survey to assess crude and age-standardized self-reported prevalence (1994-2013); the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System to assess administrative data-ascertained prevalence and mortality trends (1998-2010); and Intercontinental Medical Statistics Health data to examine antihypertensive drug-prescribing trends and costs (2007-2014).


In 2012-2013, the prevalence of hypertension (defined as drug treatment for high BP or BP ≥ 140/90 mm Hg) in Canadian adults was 22.6%, and the proportion of disease controlled was 68.1%. In Canadians with diabetes, the prevalence (defined as drug treatment or BP ≥ 130/80 mm Hg) was 67.1%, and 60.1% of cases were controlled. Self-reported hypertension prevalence has increased by approximately 2-fold over nearly 2 decades. Age-standardized mortality rates are falling in hypertensive Canadians (from 9.4 to 7.9 deaths per 1000 individuals), but to a lesser extent than in nonhypertensive individuals. Total antihypertensive drug prescription volume has increased steadily since 2007 amid falling drug costs.


Hypertension prevalence in Canada continues to rise. Increased use of antihypertensive drugs and improvements in control are apparent. Coordinated efforts to further improve the treatment and control of hypertension in Canada are needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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