Objectives: To assess the trends in prevalence and in control of hypertension in various parts of Finland during 1982-2007.
Methods: Three independent cross-sectional population surveys were conducted in 1982, 2002 and 2007 with age-stratified samples of men and women aged 25-64 years from the national population register. The total number of participants with complete blood pressure (BP) measurements was 16 775.
Results: Overall, during 1982-2007, the prevalence of hypertension (systolic BP > or = 140 mmHg and/or diastolic BP > or = 90 mmHg and/or current use of antihypertensive drug treatment) fell significantly in both sexes. In men, it fell from 63.3 to 52.1%; in women, from 48.1 to 33.6% (P < 0.001 for both sexes). However, during the past 5-year period, a decline was observed only in women in south-western Finland (P = 0.003). Furthermore, previously observed significant increases in the proportions of treated and controlled hypertensive individuals did not continue among men during 2002-2007. Despite the evident progress in all aspects of hypertension care since 1982, still in 2007, only 68% of all hypertensive individuals were aware of their condition, 52% of those who were aware were treated with antihypertensive drugs and 37% of the drug-treated patients had normal BP.
Conclusion: Steady progress has been made in the prevention and treatment of hypertension in Finland. However, further improvements are clearly needed.