Skip to content

Journal Article

Untreated hypertension in the UK household population — who are missed by the general health checks?


Publication date

Dec 2016


Hypertension is an age-related, long-term condition and a leading risk factor for premature death and disability worldwide. Due to its asymptomatic nature it can often be left undiagnosed. Long-term treatment is available, but blood pressure can also be reduced through health behaviour changes in weight control, smoking cessation, higher physical activity levels, reduced salt and alcohol intake, and healthful diets if discovered early. This paper investigates the prevalence and characteristics of those with untreated (compared to treated) hypertension who did not have a history of cardiovascular disease (CVD); a group who is in effect missed by general health checks.
Untreated hypertension was studied in 8933 individuals aged 40–74 years representative of the UK household population, who were interviewed and underwent a physical health examination in their home, 2010–2012. The prevalence of untreated hypertension without a history of CVD was 7% for men, 2% for women, and 5% overall. Untreated hypertension was particularly high among the 55–64 year age group.
Age and sex-adjusted analyses found strong positive associations with male gender, smoking, self-reported good–excellent health, full fat dairy preference, white bread preference, higher alcohol consumption, and living alone. Strong negative associations were found for possessing 5 + prescription drugs, statins or antiplatelets, being diagnosed with diabetes or possessing antidiabetics, and long-term limiting illness status.
Notably, many reported their health as good to excellent. A fact which emphasises the importance of motivating individuals to take part in the general health checks for an asymptomatic condition such as hypertension.

Published in

Preventive Medicine Reports

Volume and page numbers

4 , 81 -86





Medicine, Health, and Surveys


Open Access article; Open Access funded by Economic and Social Research Council; Under a Creative Commons license


Research home

Research home


Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest