China’s out of control ‘silent killer’ affects one-third of adults

A graphic representation of the Chinese flag and a doctor taking a patient's blood pressure.

More than one-third of adults in China have high blood pressure — often dubbed the “silent killer” for its lack of symptoms — but only about one in 20 have the condition under control. These findings are published Oct. 25 in the Lancet’s special issue on China by researchers at Yale and the Chinese National Center for Cardiovascular Disease.

A second study by the team, also published in the same Lancet issue, found that one in 12 primary care pharmacies in China do not stock any anti-hypertensive medications, and that when prescribed, higher-cost anti-hypertensive medicines are more likely to be prescribed than cheaper, equally effective alternatives.