Hypertension and other conditions posing a challenge for public health in Sweden
Newly published research shows that out of the six most common diseases in Sweden’s Stockholm capital region, high blood pressure is the most prevalent.

The 2007-2011 study was conducted in Stockholm County, which has 2.1 million inhabitants, includes the capital city of Stockholm and represents over one-fifth of Sweden’s entire population.

For the study, researchers defined ‘prevalence’ as the proportion of individuals with a recorded diagnosis of diabetes, depression, anxiety disorders, hypertension, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) during the study period. Analysis was done by age and gender.

They found that hypertension had the highest five-year prevalence at 12.2%, followed by depression (6.6%), diabetes mellitus (6.2%), asthma (5.9%), anxiety disorders/phobia (4.8%), and COPD (1.8%).

Diabetes was more common in men (5.3% of women and 7.1% of men), while depression (8.7% in women and 4.4% in men) and anxiety (6.3% in women and 3.4% in men) were considerably more common in women. Smaller gender differences were also found for high blood pressure (13 % in women and 11.4% in men), asthma (6.4% in women and 5.4% in men) and COPD (2.1% in women and 1.6% in men).

High blood pressure, diabetes, and COPD increased noticeably with age, whereas anxiety, depression and asthma were fairly constant in individuals over the age of 18. During one year of observation, out of more than half of all patients that had only been diagnosed in primary health care, the most (70.6 percent), were hypertension diagnoses.

The researchers say that the high prevalence of the six conditions analyzed “calls for preventive action to minimize suffering and costs to society.”

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