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Hypertension Briefing


 Please click on image to access IPH's Hypertension   
 Briefing that was published on World Hypertension
 Day, 17 May 2012






What is hypertension?

Hypertension is the medical name for high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force exerted on artery walls as the heart pumps blood through the body. Hypertension occurs when blood pressure is constantly higher than the pressure needed to carry blood through the body.

Hypertension often goes unnoticed and can cause damage to the heart and blood vessels which, if untreated, can lead to a stroke or heart attack. 

IPH has systematically estimated and forecast the prevalence of hypertension on the island of Ireland.



Age, family history and certain medical conditions put you at greater risk of developing Hypertension. Eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, not smoking and limiting alcohol intake all decrease your risk.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Burden of Disease study provides estimates of premature mortality and time lived in ill health due to hypertension. Hypertensive heart disease (ICD 10 codes I10-I13) is estimated to be responsible for 1.1% of premature mortality and 0.2% of years lived with disability in Europe.

Hypertensive diseases (ICD 10 codes I10-I15) were responsible for 1.2% of all deaths in the Republic of Ireland in 2008 and 0.8% of all deaths In Northern Ireland in 2010.

Hypertension increases the risk of developing other conditions of the circulatory system. Conditions of the circulatory system (ICD 10 codes I00-I99) are responsible for more deaths on the island of Ireland than any other group of conditions. 



In the Republic of Ireland, Changing Cardiovascular Health: National Cardiovascular Health Strategy 2010-2019 identifies the detection and management of hypertension as particularly relevant to the prevention of stroke. The strategy recommends that the effective management of hypertension should be prioritised in primary care and calls for guidelines on standards of assessment, management and review of patients based on best practice and health technology assessments.

In Northern Ireland, the Service Framework for Cardiovascular Health and Wellbeing details standards for a number of cardiovascular conditions including hypertension. The framework identifies hypertension as a key priority for prevention, detection and control and recognises the effective management of hypertension as an essential component of national strategies for coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and chronic kidney disease.


IPH hypertension estimates and forecasts

IPH has estimated and forecast clinical diagnosis rates of hypertension among adults for the years 2010, 2015 and 2020.

In the Republic of Ireland, the data are based on the Survey of Lifestyle, Attitudes and Nutrition (SLÁN) 2007. The data describe the number of people who report that they have experienced doctor-diagnosed hypertension in the previous 12 months (annual clinical diagnosis). Data are available by age and sex for each Local Health Office of the Health Service Executive (HSE) in the Republic of Ireland.

In Northern Ireland, the data is based on the Health and Social Wellbeing Survey 2005/06. The data describe the number of people who report that they have experienced doctor/nurse-diagnosed hypertension at any time in the past (lifetime clinical diagnosis). Data are available by age and sex for each Local Government District in Northern Ireland.

Clinical diagnosis rates in the Republic of Ireland relate to the previous 12 months and are not directly comparable with clinical diagnosis rates in Northern Ireland which relate to anytime in the past.

Click here for details of the methods used to calculate the estimates and forecasts

Use the Health Well's Data Visualiser to explore or download the data (last updated May 2012)

View the hypertension theme on the Health Well's Community Profiles.  

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