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One in two has BP, says study

One in every two Kenyan adults has prehypertension.

A new study says overall prehypertension and hypertension burden is now at 54.5 per cent and 20.8 per cent respectively.

This is after an analysis of cross-sectional data obtained from population-level blood pressure (BP) screening of adults aged above 18 in the community and ambulatory care facilities in 17 out of 47 sub-national administrative units in Kenya. All participants with a complete record for systolic and diastolic BP were included.

The study by Healthy Heart Africa (HHA) Programme published this month also reveals that approximately one in every two Kenyan adults has prehypertension. The study was conducted through a public-private partnership initiative between the Ministry of Health and AstraZeneca PLC, from February 2015 to October 2018.

“The prevalence of prehypertension was 54.5 per cent and that of hypertension was 20.8 per cent. Characteristics that were independently associated with prehypertension.

This calls for urgent development and roll-out of a national BP screening and control programme,” the study read.

Of 5,985,185 participant records that were included in the analysis, 34 per cent were men (mean age of 45). The majority (63 per cent) lived in rural Kenya.

The analyses in the study found a slightly higher proportion of prehypertension among rural residents.

This could be attributed to lower rates of screening and diagnosis among rural compared with urban residents.

The Kenya STEPwise Survey documented that 60.7 per cent of rural residents had never measured their BP compared with 48.1 per cent of urban residents.

The study noted that the condition is more common among men than women, and the burden increases with increasing age.

According to the study, the rise begins early in the third decade of life, a population often overlooked by hypertension control programmes.

“This is a worrying finding in view of the excess cardiovascular risk associated with prehypertension and underscores the need for early screening programmes and population-wide primary prevention measures,” the study says.

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