Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a global leading cause of death nowadays. Fortunately, the majority of risk factors which cause CVD are preventable. The INTERSTROKE study recently reported that about 90% of the population-attributable risk of stroke is associated with ten modifiable risk factors. Especially high blood pressure levels are well established to be associated with cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
Recently CVD mortality has been decreasing in high-income countries but increasing in some middle-income countries and low-income countries. Since 2000, CVD morality decreased by 16% among the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries, but increased by 4% in Asian countries. Even within the Asia-Pacific region, individual countries show different patterns of CVD mortality trends. Recent data show that CVD mortality is decreasing in South Korea, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia but the rate is increasing in Philippine, Pakistan, Myanmar and China. South Korea showed a dramatic reduction in CVD mortality reduction. Between 2000 and 2012, CVD mortality has been decreased by 37%, and population mean level of systolic blood pressure has been decreased by around 10 mmHg in the adult Koreans. This blood pressure reduction was mainly due to improved awareness, treatment and control rates of hypertension. However, in countries where CVD mortality is increasing, hypertension control rate were reported to be still low about 10 to 20%, and the population blood pressure level is not decreasing.
Prevention, identification, and management of hypertension might be a main factor, which explains the regional difference of CVD mortality in the Asia-Pacific region. Therefore, more efforts to prevent hypertension and to lower blood pressure and are essential to reduce CVD mortality, especially in countries with poor control rate of hypertension.