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Hypertension, diabetes on the rise

Published:Friday | May 18, 2012 | 12:00 AM


The number of Caribbean people with high blood pressure and diabetes is drastically increasing, a United Nations report has said.

"This report is further evidence of the dramatic increase in the conditions that trigger heart disease and other chronic illnesses, particularly in low- and middle-income countries," said Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Margaret Chan.

WHO's World Health Statistics 2012 report, which includes data from 194 countries, said that one in three adults worldwide has raised blood pressure and one in 10 suffers from diabetes.

The global average prevalence of diabetes is around 10 per cent, with up to one in three people in some Pacific Island countries having this condition, the report said.

Left untreated, diabetes can lead to cardiovascular disease, blindness, amputation of limbs, and kidney failure.

An increase in obesity is also highlighted in the report as being a major health risk.

"In every region of the world, obesity doubled between 1980 and 2008," said the director of the Department of Health Statistics and Information Systems at WHO, Ties Boerma. "Today, half a billion people - 12 per cent of the world's population - are considered obese."

The highest obesity levels are in the Americas, with 26 per cent of adults suffering from obesity, and the lowest in the South-East Asian region, where only three per cent of the population is obese, the report says.