Document Type

Article

Department

School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa

Abstract

We aimed to obtain overall and regional estimates of hypertension prevalence, and to examine the pattern of this disease condition across different socio-demographic characteristics in low-and middle-income countries. We searched electronic databases from inception to August 2015. We included population-based studies that reported hypertension prevalence using the current definition of blood pressure ≥140/90 mm Hg or self-reported use of antihypertensive medication. We used random-effects meta-analyses to pool prevalence estimates of hypertension, overall, by World Bank region and country income group. Meta-regression analyses were performed to explore sources of heterogeneity across the included studies. A total of 242 studies, comprising data on 1,494,609 adults from 45 countries, met our inclusion criteria. The overall prevalence of hypertension was 32.3% (95% confidence interval [CI] 29.4-35.3), with the Latin America and Caribbean region reporting the highest estimates (39.1%, 95% CI 33.1-45.2). Pooled prevalence estimate was also highest across upper middle income countries (37.8%, 95% CI 35.0-40.6) and lowest across low-income countries (23.1%, 95% CI 20.1-26.2). Prevalence estimates were significantly higher in the elderly (≥65 years) compared with younger adults (<65 years) overall and across the geographical regions; however, there was no significant sex-difference in hypertension prevalence (31.9% vs 30.8%, P = 0.6). Persons without formal education (49.0% vs 24.9%, P < 0.00001), overweight/obese (46.4% vs 26.3%, P < 0.00001), and urban settlers (32.7% vs 25.2%, P = 0.0005) were also more likely to be hypertensive, compared with those who were educated, normal weight, and rural settlers respectively. This study provides contemporary and up-to-date estimates that reflect the significant burden of hypertension in low- and middle-income countries, as well as evidence that hypertension remains a major public health issue across the various socio-demographic subgroups. On average, about 1 in 3 adults in the developing world is hypertensive. The findings of this study will be useful for the design of hypertension screening and treatment programmes in low- and middle-income countries.

Comments

This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication

Medicine

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Nursing Commons

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