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Korea Hypertension Fact Sheet 2023: analysis of nationwide population-based data with a particular focus on hypertension in special populations.

BACKGROUND: The Korea Hypertension Fact Sheet 2023, presented by the Korean Society of Hypertension, offers an overview of the prevalence and management of hypertension, along with recent trends.

METHODS: Data for the Fact Sheet were derived from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey spanning 1998 to 2021, and the National Health Insurance Big Data from 2002 to 2021.

RESULTS: As of 2021, hypertension affected 28.0% of Korean adults aged 20 and older, totaling approximately 12.3 million individuals, with 5.3 million (43.5%) aged 65 or older. Among those with hypertension, awareness stood at 74.1%, treatment rates at 70.3%, and control rates at 56.0%. Over the years, the number of hypertension diagnoses increased from 3.0 million in 2002 to 11.1 million in 2021. During the same period, the utilization of antihypertensive medications rose from 2.5 million to 10.5 million, with treatment adherence also improving from 0.6 million to 7.8 million individuals. In 2021, the predominant antihypertensive drug class was angiotensin receptor blockers (75.1%), followed by calcium channel blockers (61.7%), diuretics (23.4%), and beta blockers (15.3%). Notably, 60.2% of all antihypertensive prescriptions involved combination therapy with at least two classes of antihypertensive medication. There was a positive trend towards stricter blood pressure control targets (systolic/diastolic blood pressure < 130/80 mmHg) among elderly hypertensive patients, as well as those with diabetes, obesity, and high-risk hypertension. However, this trend declined in individuals aged 80 years or older and those with chronic kidney disease in recent years.

CONCLUSION: In Korea, hypertension management is making strides, yet the total number of hypertensive individuals is rising. Effectively addressing the growing population of elderly hypertensive patients and the persistently low treatment rates among younger individuals with hypertension is a critical challenge. Additionally, developing more efficient and customized policies for blood pressure control and cardiovascular disease prevention is imperative.

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