Hypertension and its determinants among adults in high mountain villages of the Northern Areas of Pakistan

Document Type



Community Health Sciences


We studied the prevalence and determinants of hypertension among adults in mountainous rural villages in the Ghizar district Northern Areas of Pakistan, an area that recently has undergone substantial economic development. We selected a stratified random sample of 4203 adults (age > 18 years) from 16 villages in Punial Valley of Ghizar district where the number of study subjects from each village was proportionate to the size of the village. We obtained blood pressure (BP) records by taking the mean of the second and third BP measurement, using a standard mercury sphygmomanometer, and assessed risk factors for hypertension in the study subjects. The mean +/- s.d. blood pressures (mm Hg) were 125 +/- 19 systolic and 80 +/- 12 diastolic in men and 125 +/- 22 systolic and 78 +/- 14 diastolic in women. The 125 +/- 22 systolic and 78 +/- 14 diastolic in women. The mm Hg, or systolic BP > or = 140 mm Hg or currently taking antihypertensive medication) was 15%, increasing from 4% in the 18-29 year age group to 36% among persons 60 years of age or older. The age-standardised prevalence of hypertension was 14% (12.5% among men and 14% among women). There was no significant difference in prevalence of hypertension in males, and in females. Multivariate analysis revealed that age, and higher body mass index (overweight and obesity) were independently associated with higher prevalence of hypertension. People with hypertension were more likely to have a first-degree relative with physician-diagnosed hypertension (OR = 1.90, 95% CI 1.49, 2). Hypertension is a significant health problem in rural northern Pakistan. The primary health care programme in the Northern Areas of Pakistan needs to address this problem, especially identifying people at risk.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Human Hypertension