Hypertension and related cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) have not been prevalent in China until early 1970 s. However, over the past 40 years CVD has become one of the major health concern, and hypertension is now one of the most prominent CVD problems. It is estimated that China has now over 290 million hypertensives.
The first national survey on hypertension was conducted in 1958, followed by the 2nd survey in 1979, 3rd survey in 1991, 4th survey in 2002, and 5th survey in 2014. The total prevalence of hypertension was 5.1% in 1958, 7.7% in 1979, 13.6% in 1991, 18.8% in 2002 and 27.2% in 2014 respectively, demonstrating a significant increase over the past half century. Ecological studies on relationship between hypertension and CVD have shown that the incidence and mortality of stroke and coronary heart disease were closely associated with population average hypertension rate. In China, stroke incidence is four to five times higher than that of coronary heart disease, indicating that hypertension control is very demanding.
It is predicted that hypertension and the related CVDs are expected to be major health constraints in China in the years to come. Over the past 40 years much work has been done in China in community control of hypertension and CVDs. The first Chinese guidelines on hypertension was formulated in 1999, based on internationally accepted guidelines, which was revised 3 times. During the past the Chinese government has attached great importance to the prevention program directed at entire populations, with emphasis on blood pressure control by both pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches. Much achievements have been accomplished in the past. However more efforts are needed in the future in view of the size of the problem.