Smoking, hypertension the biggest killers in Japan

Smoking, hypertension the biggest killers in Japan

 Even though the Japanese have the world's highest life expectancy, smoking and high blood pressure (BP) still remain the biggest health hazards, reveals a study.

An analytical study, led by Nayu Ikeda from the University of Tokyo, found that in 2007, tobacco smoking and high BP among adults aged 30 years and above accounted for 129,000 and 104,000 deaths respectively in Japan.

Physical inactivity took 52,000 lives, high blood glucose and high dietary salt intake accounted for 34,000 lives, and alcohol use reported 31,000 deaths, the journal Public Library of Science-Medicine reported.

Furthermore, the authors found that life expectancy at age 40 would have been extended by 1.4 years for both sexes if exposure to multiple cardiovascular risk factors had been reduced to an optimal level, said a university statement.

In order to sustain the trend of longevity in Japan in the 21st century, additional efforts in a variety of fields are required for decreasing adult mortality from chronic diseases and injuries. 

"A first step will be to powerfully promote effective programs for smoking cessation," said Ikleda.

Tobacco smoking is deeply rooted in Japanese society, but the authors argue that health professionals can play a big role.