China has 160 million high blood pressure patients, and 50 percent of senior citizens over 65, or 47 million, have the condition, posing great pressure not only to their lives, but to economic and social development, an expert said Sunday.
"Cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases have become the first killer of the Chinese people, and high blood pressure is the foremost cause of these diseases," said Hong Zhaoguang, a consultant with the Ministry of Health.
According to a survey published by the State Council last year, nearly one in five Chinese adults has suffered from high blood pressure.
China's cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease patients spend 300 billion yuan (US$37 billion) each year for treatments, of which 30 billion (US$3.7 billion) are directly used for high blood pressure, Hong said.
At present, China has 130 million people aged over 60, accounting for one tenth of the nation's population. Some 94 million of those are over 65. It is estimated that by the middle of this century, there would be more than 400 million people aged over 65 and at least 100 million aged 80 or older, and that their health problems would become one of the major concerns of society.
(Xinhua News Agency October 10, 2005)