This is true in high income countries, like Canada, as well as middle and low income countries, according to an international team of researchers led by the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences.
"Our study indicates over half of people with hypertension are unaware of their condition and, amongst those identified, very few are taking enough treatment to control their blood pressure," Dr. Clara Chow, lead author, a member of PHRI and an associate professor of medicine of Sydney University and the George Institute for Global Health in Australia, said.
Dr. Salim Yusuf, senior author and professor of medicine of McMaster University's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, added that drug treatments that work to control hypertension are well known, however this study found only about a third of patients who are aware of their condition were achieving target blood pressure control.
"Blood pressure lowering drugs are generally inexpensive and commonly available treatments," Yusuf said.
"However only a third of patients commenced on treatment are on enough treatment to control their blood pressure. This is worst in low income countries, but significant in high and middle income countries too," he added.
The study is published by JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.