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AIMS/BACKGROUND: Serial blood pressure surveys in cohort studies can inform public health policies to control blood pressure for prevention of cardiovascular diseases. METHODS: Mean levels of systolic blood pressure (SBP) were collected in six sequential surveys, involving 38,825 individuals aged 30-79 years (51% female), between 1979 and 2015 in the Tromsø Study in Norway. Mean levels of SBP, prevalence of hypertension and use of blood pressure-lowering treatment were estimated by age, sex and calendar year of survey. RESULTS: Age-specific mean levels of SBP in each decade of age increased by 20-25 mmHg in men and 30-35 mmHg in women and the prevalence of hypertension increased from 25% to 75% among adults aged 30-79 years. Among successive cohorts of adults aged 40-49 years at the time of the six surveys between 1979 and 2015, the mean levels of SBP declined by about 10 mmHg and the prevalence of hypertension declined from 46% to 25% in men and from 30% to 14% in women. The proportion of individuals with hypertension who were treated increased sixfold (from 7% to 42%) between 1979 and 2015, and the proportion of adults with hypertension that were successfully controlled also increased sixfold from 10% to 60% between 1979 and 2015. CONCLUSIONS: Although this study demonstrated a halving in the age-specific prevalence of hypertension in men and women and a sixfold increase in treatment and control of hypertension, the burden of hypertension remains high among older people in Norway.

Original publication




Journal article


Scand J Public Health

Publication Date



Hypertension, cardiovascular disease, epidemiology, heart attack, serial surveys, stroke, systolic blood pressure