An increasing number of Canadians are facing high blood pressure or hypertension, causing concern for health professionals as it could lead to greater risk of heart attacks and strokes, a new report has revealed.
New survey findings released Tuesday (Oct. 18) by Heart & Stroke details a concerning trend when it comes to these health problems, which can also cause heart disease.
Currently, one-in-four Canadians have high blood pressure. Due to the pandemic, doctors anticipate that number to continue growing due to undiagnosed new cases and an increase in lifestyle risk factors, according to the report.
In a survey of almost 1,000 health professionals, researchers found that eight-in-10 doctors are concerned about the rising number of adults with high blood pressure.
The aging population and the increase in adults who are diagnosed at young ages, as well as the pandemic and lack of education are among their top concerns.
Stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, increased alcohol consumption and obesity all contribute to an increase the in chances of hypertension, which has spiked since the pandemic, doctors reported.
The doctors included in the study also fear that the pandemic has contributed to those with already diagnosed cases to be less vigilant about managing their condition, due to the lack of access to screenings and in-person appointments.
Seven-in-10 health professionals surveyed attributed the rising number of new diagnoses to lack of access to annual health exams, which include blood pressure screening, as well as a lack of public education surrounding hypertension.
Additionally, more than half of the health professionals included in the report believed that low-income and racialized communities are at a higher risk of hypertension because of social determinants such as income, access to healthy foods and education.
The report makes clear that education, awareness and bettering access could help address the rising cases of hypertension among Canadians.