Publication Date



Journal of Hypertension


BACKGROUND: Raised blood pressure (BP) remains the biggest risk factor contributing to the global burden of disease and mortality, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. May Measurement Month (MMM), an annual global screening campaign aims to highlight the importance of BP measurement by evaluating global awareness, treatment and control rates among adults with hypertension. In 2021, we assessed the global burden of these rates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

METHODS: Screening sites were set up in 54 countries between May and November 2021 and screenees were recruited by convenience sampling. Three sitting BPs were measured, and a questionnaire completed including demographic, lifestyle and clinical data. Hypertension was defined as a systolic BP at least 140 mmHg and/or a diastolic BP at least 90 mmHg (using the mean of the second and third readings) or taking antihypertensive medication. Multiple imputation was used to impute the average BP when readings were missing.

RESULTS: Of the 642 057 screenees, 225 882 (35.2%) were classified as hypertensive, of whom 56.8% were aware, and 50.3% were on antihypertensive medication. Of those on treatment, 53.9% had controlled BP (<140/90 mmHg). Awareness, treatment and control rates were lower than those reported in MMM campaigns before the COVID-19 pandemic. Minimal changes were apparent among those testing positive for, or being vaccinated against COVID-19. Of those on antihypertensive medication, 94.7% reported no change in their treatment because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CONCLUSION: The high yield of untreated or inadequately treated hypertension in MMM 2021 confirms the need for systematic BP screening where it does not currently exist.


adults, awareness, blood pressure, COVID-19, hypertension, risk factor, screening, treatment



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