Part of: Ill Health and Disability

Related to: Ageing Population, Alcohol, Coronary Heart Disease, Diet and Malnutrition, [[Health Checks]], Heart Failure, Major Causes of Mortality, Healthy Weight, Physical Activity, Stroke

Key Facts:

  • There are 25,395 people (2012/13 financial year) registered with hypertension in GP practises in Bath and North East Somerset
  • The rate of hypertension registered by GPs has been gradually increasing locally, regionally and nationally
  • The observed rate for hypertension in Bath & North East Somerset is 60% of the estimated actual rate.

Definition

Hypertension refers to high blood pressure. Blood pressure measures how strongly blood presses against the walls of your arteries (large blood vessels) as it is pumped around your body by your heart. If this pressure is too high it puts a strain on your arteries and your heart, which makes it more likely that you will suffer a heart attack, a stroke or kidney disease. Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and it is recorded as two figures:

  • systolic pressure : the pressure of the blood when your heart beats to pump blood out
  • diastolic pressure : the pressure of the blood when your heart rests in between beats

You are said to have high blood pressure if readings on separate occasions consistently show your blood pressure to be 140/90mmHg or higher. A blood pressure reading below 130/80mmHg is considered to be normal. 1

What does the data say?

Your chances of having high blood pressure increase as you get older. There is often no clear cause of high blood pressure but you are at increased risk if you:

  • are overweight
  • have a relative with high blood pressure
  • are of African or Caribbean descent
  • eat a lot of salt
  • don't eat enough fruit and vegetables
  • don't do enough exercise
  • drink a lot of coffee (or other caffeine-based drinks)
  • drink a lot of alcohol
  • are aged over 65 2

Around 30% of people in England have hypertension but many do not know it. 3

Bath and North East Somerset

There are 25,395 people (2012/13 financial year) registered with hypertension in GP practises in Bath and North East Somerset. 4

The rate of hypertension registered by GPs has been gradually increasing locally, regionally and nationally.* 5

In Bath and North East Somerset the rate has increased slightly from 12.4% in 2008/09 to 12.8% in 2010-2013 (financial years). This is significantly lower than England which has had a prevalence rate of 13% and above between 2008-2013 (financial years).* 6

hypertension_rates_in_the_bnes_and_england_gp_populations_2008-2013

Figure 1: Hypertension prevalence in B&NES and England GP registered populations (2008/09 – 2012/13 financial years) 7

*It is important to note that the above rates are based on the GP registered population of Bath and North East Somerset and so some of these people may not be residents of Bath North East Somerset. Nevertheless, the vast majority of people will be registered with a GP in their county of residence.

For more up to date prevalence figures for hypertension recorded as part of the NHS Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF), see the Ill Health and Disability section. 

The observed rates for hypertension in Bath & North East Somerset is 60% of the estimated rates. This compares to 59% for England. However, this varies between different GP practices from 67% to just 12% of estimated hypertension cases being registered. 8

Gender

The estimated prevalence rate of hypertension amongst all males 16 years and over in Bath and North East Somerset is 28.6%, and 28.3% for females 16 years and over. These are lower than the estimated prevalence rates for both the South West (33.2% males 16yrs+, 32.1% females16yrs+) and England (31.56% males16yrs+, 29.6% females16yrs+). 9

Age

The estimated prevalence rates of hypertension amongst the following age groups in Bath and North East Somerset are all below those of the South West and England and they are as follows:

  • 16-44 years old- 7.6% (9.1% South West, 9.4% England)
  • 45-64 years old- 36.4% (39.5% South West, 39.8% England)
  • 65-74 years old- 61.5% (64.2% South West, 64.8% England)
  • 75+ years old- 68.3% (70.9% South West, 71.3% England) 10

Ethnicity

The estimated prevalence rates of hypertension amongst the following ethnicity groups in Bath and North East Somerset are all below those of the South West and England and they are as follows:

  • White- 29.3% (33.4% South West, 31.7% England)
  • Mixed- 11.9% (14.9% South West, 14.8% England)
  • Black- 23.7% (27.9% South West, 29.5% England)
  • Asian- 13.06% (18.3% South West, 20.9% England)
  • Other- 14.0% (16.8% South West, 17.5% England) 11

Are we meeting the needs?

82.4% of people diagnosed with hypertension in Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group are given lifestyle advice for increasing physical activity, smoking cessation, safe alcohol consumption and healthy diet, this compares with 81.5% nationally. 12

What can we realistically change?

According to NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) guidance adults should have their blood pressure checked every 5 years, and if hypertension is diagnosed patients have their blood pressure reviewed annually, and be given help in terms of amending their lifestyle, copying with thesymptoms and medication if appropriate. 13