The development of hypertension care in Finland from 1982 to 1987

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The development of hypertension care in Finland was evaluated using the data from two independent population samples of the FINMONICA Project comprising 9350 and 6250 persons examined in 1982 and 1987, respectively. The sampling frame was the population aged 25 to 64 years in the provinces of North Karelia and Kuopio in eastern Finland and in the Turku-Loimaa region in south-western Finland. During the 5-year period, the mean systolic blood pressure levels decreased in all of the groups except the North Karelian men. Mean diastolic blood pressure did not change significantly. The proportion of hypertensive men with adequately controlled blood pressure increased from 22.6 to 29.4% [difference 6.8%, 95% confidence interval (Cl) for the difference 2.4-11.2] during 1982-1987. At the same time, the proportion of hypertensive men unaware of their condition fell from 30 to 20.9% (difference −9.1%, 95% Cl for the difference −13.4-−4.8). There were corresponding falls for women from 39.2 to 41.3% (difference 2.1%, 95% Cl for the difference −3.1−7.3) and from 15.4 to 13.1% (difference -2.3%, 95% Cl for the difference 1.4-−6.0), respectively. Thus, obvious progress had taken place, although the situation remained far from satisfactory. The possibility of overly aggressive treatment of hypertension was also investigated. It was found that only <10% of the middle-aged hypertensive men treated with drugs had diastolic pressures ≤85mmHg, suggesting that this might not be an issue of concern at community level.

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