Hypertension a hidden condition among adults in Nepal suburb

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Hypertension a hidden condition among adults in Nepal suburb

Less than half of people with the condition are aware of it, UW Public Health researchers show
Ashlie Chandler

In suburban Nepal less than half of the adults with high blood pressure know they have it, according to researchers from the University of Washington School of Public Health and Kathmandu University School of Medical Sciences.

A new study, based on data from nearly 300 hypertensive adults in the town of Dhulikhel, found that just 43.6 percent of hypertensive participants were aware of their condition. Of the "aware" group, more than three-fourths were receiving treatment, but only 35.5 percent of them had their blood pressure under control.

The findings, published this month in the journal Heart Asia, showed that older adults and women had higher levels of awareness, as did people from historically well-off and educated ethnic groups.Researchers also found significant differences in treatment status based on the participants’ sex, occupation, age, income and body mass index.

Dr. Biraj Karmacharya, the study's lead author, conducted research as a graduate student in the School’s Department of Epidemiology. He is now a post-doctoral fellow in the UW’s Cardiovascular Health Research Unit.

To gain more insight into the awareness, treatment and control of hypertension, Karmacharya and his research team used baseline data from the Dhulikhel Heart Study. The original study, which included health interviews and blood pressure measurements, examined cardiovascular disease risk factors.

“It is concerning that, despite the availability of low-cost drugs for hypertension management, the treatment and overall control rates are not satisfactory,” the researchers wrote. This may be stem from the community's low perceptions of risks of hypertension, low health literacy, lack of motivation and/or medication costs in low-resource settings, according to the study.

Hypertension “ranks among the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease, contributing to 45 percent of global cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality,” the researchers wrote.

Study co-authors include Rajendra Koju, James LoGerfo, Kwun Chuen Gary Chan, Ali Mokdad, Archana Shrestha, Nona Sotoodehnia and Annette Fitzpatrick from the UW Schools of Public Health and Medicine.