Objective: Suboptimal blood pressure including established nonoptimal blood pressure has been shown to have significant economic consequences in developed countries. However, no exhaustive study has been done to evaluate its potential costs, globally. We, therefore, set out to estimate the global economic cost of nonoptimal blood pressure.
Methods: Estimates for healthcare costs attributed to suboptimal blood pressure for those over the age of 30 were made for all the World Bank regions. Annual and 10-year estimates using Markov models were made for the cost of treating nonoptimal blood pressure and its main sequelae: stroke and myocardial infarction.
Results: Suboptimal blood pressure cost US$370,000,000,000 globally in 2001. This represents about 10% of the world's overall healthcare expenditures. In the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region, high blood pressure consumed 25% of all health expenditures. Over a 10-year period, elevated blood pressure may cost nearly $1,000,000,000,000 globally in health spending, if current blood pressure levels persist. Indirect costs could be as high as $3,600,000,000,000 annually.
Conclusion: Suboptimal blood pressure is responsible for a large and an increasing economic and health burden in developing countries. Although the majority of the current absolute expenditure occurs in the high-income countries, an ever-increasing proportion of the cost is going to be carried by developing countries.