Unhealthy lifestyle might bring a boom in high blood pressure, with the sufferers exceeding a billion within 20 years, a new study has found.
One in four adults suffer from high blood pressure which increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and death.
Lifestyle factors, such as physical inactivity, a salt-rich diet with high fatty foods, and alcohol and tobacco use could see the problem spreading from developed to developing economies, like India and China.
According to The Lancet medical journal, the number of BP patients may rise to 1.56 billion by 2025, up from 972 million in 2000.
Another editorial has claimed that the rise in BP is due to poor observance of medication by patients.
"Many patients still believe that hypertension is a disease that can be cured, and stop or reduce medication when blood pressure levels fall. Physicians need to convey the message that hypertension is the first, and easily measurable, irreversible sign that many organs in the body are under attack," the BBC quoted the editorial, as saying.
"Perhaps this message will make people think more carefully about the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle and give preventative measures a real chance," it said.
Currently, a person in the Western world has a greater than 90 percent lifetime risk of developing high blood pressure or hypertension.
Dr Isabel Lee, of The Stroke Association insisted that many strokes can be prevented by the control of high BP.
"Every five minutes someone in the UK has a stroke - that's 150,000 every year. Yet, over 40 percent of these strokes could be prevented by the control of high blood pressure. Whilst it is important to get your blood pressure measured regularly, it is equally important that people who are prescribed blood pressure medication continue to take it even once their blood pressure is back under control," Lee said.
"GPs need to ensure that patients are made fully aware of the importance of continuing with their blood pressure medication. People can also take additional steps to help improve their lifestyles and reduce their risk of high blood pressure by stopping smoking, having a healthy diet and exercising regularly, she said.