High blood pressure, or hypertension, is known as the silent killer because there can be very few symptoms . There are an estimated 550,000 people in the UK with hypertension who know nothing about it.

It occurred to me that perhaps part of the reason there are so many people with undiagnosed hypertension is that those people appear to be otherwise healthy. Whilst people with health concerns visit their GP where they probably have their blood pressure checked and so high blood pressure gets discovered, people who don’t have any health concerns don’t visit their GP, and so remain undiagnosed.

So, in an attempt to validate this assumption I downloaded data from the NHS on the estimated prevalence of hypertension across each of the Care Commissioning Group areas, and using the total population of those areas calculated the percentage of the population with undiagnosed hypertension. I compared this to the surveyed percentage of people in the same area who are inactive (as a proxy for being unhealthy) and active (as a proxy for being healthy).

Blood pressure activity analysis uk ccg

There is no clear correlation between areas with a higher than average percentage of people with hypertension and higher than average percentage of activity or inactivity, so based on this data it doesn’t look like activity has any direct relation to the prevalence of hypertension. Of course this doesn’t mean that being active or inactive doesn’t affect hypertension, or that my assumption is right or wrong, just unvalidated.