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1.  Trends in the utilization of antihypertensive medications among Palestine refugees in Jordan, 2008-2012 
Objectives
The purpose of this study is to describe trends in the utilization of antihypertensive medications, overall and by type of medication, specifically thiazide diuretics, as well as uncontrolled hypertension, in the Palestine refugee population in Jordan between 2008 and 2012.
Methods
We analyzed aggregate procurement data on antihypertensive medications derived from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) pharmacy records between 2008 and 2012. Antihypertensive medications were aggregated and utilization was calculated overall and for specific types of antihypertensive medications (e.g. β-blockers, diuretics). We used the WHO (World Health Organization) defined daily dose (DDD) methodology, often used to evaluate drug utilization patterns using aggregate data, to calculate utilization defined as DDDs per 100 persons with hypertension. In addition, UNRWA medical records were used to measure the prevalence of uncontrolled hypertension in the primary care setting. Uncontrolled hypertension was defined as a systolic/diastolic blood pressure ≥140/90 in at least 2 out of 3 readings, one of which is the most recent reading, during the year for a patient diagnosed with hypertension.
Results
Overall, total utilization of antihypertensive medications has not changed between 2008 and 2012; hypertensive patients persistently used at least 2 antihypertensive medications daily (range 200–280 DDDs/100 patients with hypertension) during this five-year period. However, there is significant variation in utilization patterns by type of antihypertensive medication. While Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors (ACE-I) were persistently the most commonly used antihypertensive medication, there utilization significantly (P < 0.05) declined by 26%. However, there was a statistically significant increase of 124% in the utilization of thiazide diuretics. Further, the prevalence of uncontrolled hypertension has also declined at a rate of 3% annually between 2008 and 2012.
Conclusion
Our findings indicate that the STGs for hypertension management implemented in 2009 as part of UNRWA's essential drug program have increased the utilization of thiazide diuretics, and potentially contributed to improvements in hypertension control. This study also demonstrates that feasibility of drug utilization studies in monitoring and evaluating trends in the use of essential medications in low-resource settings.
doi:10.1186/s40545-015-0036-4
PMCID: PMC4436138  PMID: 25992295
Essential medicines; Refugees; Palestine; Antihypertensives
2.  Trends in prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension, and the risk of mortality among middle-aged Lithuanian urban population in 1983–2009 
Background
Arterial hypertension (AH) is a main risk factor for the risk from cardiovascular (CVD) and stroke mortality. Only few data was published on prevalence, awareness and management of AH in Lithuania. Development of objective approaches to the treatment and control of AH reduces the risk of mortality. The aim of this study was to evaluate time trends, the prevalence, awareness, treatment and control of AH and risk of mortality among Lithuanian urban population aged 45–64 years during the period of 1983–2009.
Methods
Time trends of AH and risk of mortality were examined in three MONICA health surveys in 1983, 1986, 1992, and in one health survey according to MONICA protocol in 2002 included randomly recruited of 2,218 men and 2,491 women. AH was defined as systolic blood pressure (BP) ≥140 mmHg and/or diastolic BP of ≥90 mmHg or current use of antihypertensive medication. The main outcome measures were all-cause mortality, mortality from CVD, coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke. The mean duration of follow-up was 11.8 ± 9.2 years. All survey periods were age standardized to the year 2006 of Kaunas population. The estimates of hazard ratio and 95% confidence interval were based on the multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression.
Results
In men during 1983–2002 period hypertension prevalence was 52.1–58.7% and did not significantly change whereas in women decreased from 61.0 to 51.0%. There was a significant increase in hypertension awareness among hypertensive men and women (45.0 to 64.4% and 47.7 to 72.3%, respectively) and in treated hypertensives (55.4 to 68.3% in men and 65.6 to 86.2% in women). Adjusted Cox proportional hazard regression analyses revealed a strong dose–response association between blood-pressure level and all-cause, CVD, CHD and stroke-mortality risk in both men and women groups.
Conclusion
In Lithuanian urban population the prevalence of hypertension remains high. Despite positive changes in hypertension awareness and treatment, hypertension control remains poor. A strong dose–response association between the level of BP and all-cause, CVD, CHD and stroke mortality risk was indicated.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-68
PMCID: PMC3480954  PMID: 22937997
Hypertension; Awareness; Treatment; Control; Risk of mortality
3.  Prevalence, awareness, medication, control, and risk factors associated with hypertension in Yi ethnic group aged 50 years and over in rural China: the Yunnan minority eye study 
BMC Public Health  2015;15:383.
Background
Hypertension is an important public health issue in China, but there are few studies examining hypertension in ethnic groups in Yunnan, China. This study, Yunnan Minority Eye Study (YMES), was initially designed to determine the prevalence and impact of eye diseases, including hypertension and diabetes mellitus. As a part of YMES, the prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension and the associated risk factors among the Yi ethnic population in rural China are reported.
Methods
A population-based survey was conducted in 2012 with adult participants over 50 from rural communities in Shilin Yi Autonomous County, Yunnan Province, located in southwest China. A random cluster sampling method was used to select a representative sample. The participants’ blood pressure, height, weight, and waist circumference were measured. Hypertension was defined as mean systolic blood pressure ≥140 mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure ≥90 mmHg, and/or current use of antihypertensive medications.
Results
A total of 2208 adults were assessed. The prevalence of hypertension was 38.5%, and the age- and gender-adjusted prevalence was 37.0%. The proportion of patients who were aware of their hypertension among those diagnosed with hypertension was 24.8%. Of those aware of having hypertension, 23.6% took antihypertensive drugs. Among all hypertensive patients, only 7.2% had controlled their hypertension (<140/90 mmHg). Risk factors for hypertension were older age, smoking, alcohol consumption, family history of high blood pressure, overweight, and obesity. Protective factors included being slim and higher education.
Conclusions
Hypertension was highly prevalent among this population of the Yi ethnic group in China. The ratio of awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension were considerately low. Hypertension education and screening programs in rural China are recommended to improve the health status of this population.
doi:10.1186/s12889-015-1687-4
PMCID: PMC4404212  PMID: 25886600
Hypertension; Prevalence; Awareness; Medication; Control; Risk factors; Yi ethnic group
4.  Prevalence, Awareness, Treatment, and Control of Hypertension in United States Counties, 2001–2009 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e60308.
Hypertension is an important and modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease and mortality. Over the last decade, national-levels of controlled hypertension have increased, but little information on hypertension prevalence and trends in hypertension treatment and control exists at the county-level. We estimate trends in prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension in US counties using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in five two-year waves from 1999–2008 including 26,349 adults aged 30 years and older and from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) from 1997–2009 including 1,283,722 adults aged 30 years and older. Hypertension was defined as systolic blood pressure (BP) of at least 140 mm Hg, self-reported use of antihypertensive treatment, or both. Hypertension control was defined as systolic BP less than 140 mm Hg. The median prevalence of total hypertension in 2009 was estimated at 37.6% (range: 26.5 to 54.4%) in men and 40.1% (range: 28.5 to 57.9%) in women. Within-state differences in the county prevalence of uncontrolled hypertension were as high as 7.8 percentage points in 2009. Awareness, treatment, and control was highest in the southeastern US, and increased between 2001 and 2009 on average. The median county-level control in men was 57.7% (range: 43.4 to 65.9%) and in women was 57.1% (range: 43.0 to 65.46%) in 2009, with highest rates in white men and black women. While control of hypertension is on the rise, prevalence of total hypertension continues to increase in the US. Concurrent increases in treatment and control of hypertension are promising, but efforts to decrease the prevalence of hypertension are needed.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060308
PMCID: PMC3618269  PMID: 23577099
5.  1999–2009 Trends in Prevalence, Unawareness, Treatment and Control of Hypertension in Geneva, Switzerland 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39877.
Background
There are no time trends in prevalence, unawareness, treatment, and control of hypertension in Switzerland. The objective of this study was to analyze these trends and to determine the associated factors.
Methods/Findings
Population-based study conducted in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland, between 1999 and 2009. Blood pressure was measured thrice using a standard protocol. Hypertension was defined as mean systolic or diastolic blood pressure ≥140/90 mmHg or self-reported hypertension or anti-hypertensive medication. Unawareness, untreated and uncontrolled hypertension was determined by questionnaires/blood pressure measurements. Yearly age-standardized prevalences and adjusted associations for the 1999–2003 and 2004–2009 survey periods were reported. The 10-year survey included 9,215 participants aged 35 to 74 years. Hypertension remained stable (34.4%). Hypertension unawareness decreased from 35.9% to 17.7% (P<0.001). The decrease in hypertension unawareness was not paralleled by a concomitant absolute increase in hypertension treatment, which remained low (38.2%). A larger proportion of all hypertensive participants were aware but not treated in 2004–2009 (43.7%) compared to 1999–2003 (33.1%). Uncontrolled hypertension improved from 62.2% to 40.6% between 1999 and 2009 (P = 0.02). In 1999–2003 period, factors associated with hypertension unawareness were current smoking (OR = 1.27, 95%CI, 1.02–1.59), male gender (OR = 1.56, 1.27–1.92), hypercholesterolemia (OR = 1.31, 1.20–1.44), and older age (OR 65–74yrs vs 35–49yrs  = 1.56, 1.21–2.02). In 1999–2003 and 2004–2009, obesity and diabetes were negatively associated with hypertension unawareness, high education was associated with untreated hypertension (OR = 1.45, 1.12–1.88 and 1.42, 1.02–1.99, respectively), and male gender with uncontrolled hypertension (OR = 1.49, 1.03–2.17 and 1.65, 1.08–2.50, respectively). Sedentarity was associated with higher risk of hypertension and uncontrolled hypertension in 1999–2003.
Conclusions
Hypertension prevalence remained stable since 1999 in the canton of Geneva. Although hypertension unawareness substantially decreased, more than half of hypertensive subjects still remained untreated or uncontrolled in 2004–2009. This study identified determinants that should guide interventions aimed at improving hypertension treatment and control.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039877
PMCID: PMC3384604  PMID: 22761919
6.  The Influence of Health Systems on Hypertension Awareness, Treatment, and Control: A Systematic Literature Review 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(7):e1001490.
Will Maimaris and colleagues systematically review the evidence that national or regional health systems, including place of care and medication co-pays, influence hypertension awareness, treatment, and control.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Hypertension (HT) affects an estimated one billion people worldwide, nearly three-quarters of whom live in low- or middle-income countries (LMICs). In both developed and developing countries, only a minority of individuals with HT are adequately treated. The reasons are many but, as with other chronic diseases, they include weaknesses in health systems. We conducted a systematic review of the influence of national or regional health systems on HT awareness, treatment, and control.
Methods and Findings
Eligible studies were those that analyzed the impact of health systems arrangements at the regional or national level on HT awareness, treatment, control, or antihypertensive medication adherence. The following databases were searched on 13th May 2013: Medline, Embase, Global Health, LILACS, Africa-Wide Information, IMSEAR, IMEMR, and WPRIM. There were no date or language restrictions. Two authors independently assessed papers for inclusion, extracted data, and assessed risk of bias. A narrative synthesis of the findings was conducted. Meta-analysis was not conducted due to substantial methodological heterogeneity in included studies. 53 studies were included, 11 of which were carried out in LMICs. Most studies evaluated health system financing and only four evaluated the effect of either human, physical, social, or intellectual resources on HT outcomes. Reduced medication co-payments were associated with improved HT control and treatment adherence, mainly evaluated in US settings. On balance, health insurance coverage was associated with improved outcomes of HT care in US settings. Having a routine place of care or physician was associated with improved HT care.
Conclusions
This review supports the minimization of medication co-payments in health insurance plans, and although studies were largely conducted in the US, the principle is likely to apply more generally. Studies that identify and analyze complexities and links between health systems arrangements and their effects on HT management are required, particularly in LMICs.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
In 2008, one billion people, three-quarters of whom were living in low- and middle-income countries, had high blood pressure (hypertension). Worldwide, hypertension, which rarely has any symptoms, leads to about 7.5 million deaths annually from heart attacks, stroke, other cardiovascular diseases, and kidney disease. Hypertension, selected by the World Health Organization as the theme for World Health Day 2013, is diagnosed by measuring blood pressure, the force that blood circulating in the body exerts on the inside of large blood vessels. Blood pressure is highest when the heart is contracts to pump blood out (systolic blood pressure) and lowest when the heart relaxes and refills (diastolic blood pressure). Normal adult blood pressure is defined as a systolic blood pressure of less than 120 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and a diastolic blood pressure of less than 80 mmHg (a blood pressure of less than 120/80 mmHg). A blood pressure reading of more than 140/90 mmHg indicates hypertension. Many factors affect blood pressure, but overweight people and individuals who eat fatty or salty foods are at high risk of developing hypertension.
Why Was This Study Done?
Most individuals can achieve good hypertension control, which reduces death and disability from cardiovascular and kidney disease, by making lifestyle changes (mild hypertension) and/or by taking antihypertensive drugs. Yet, in both developed and developing countries, many people with hypertension are not aware of their condition and are not adequately treated. As with other chronic diseases, weaknesses in health care systems probably contribute to the inadequate treatment of hypertension. A health care system comprises all the organizations, institutions, and resources whose primary purpose is to improve health. Weaknesses in health care systems can exist at the national, regional, district, community, and household level. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic), the researchers investigate how national and regional health care system arrangements influence hypertension awareness, treatment, and control. Actions that might influence hypertension care at this level of health care systems include providing treatment for hypertension at no or reduced cost, the introduction of financial incentives to healthcare practitioners for the diagnosis and treatment of hypertension, and enhanced insurance coverage in countries such as the US where people pay for health care through insurance policies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 53 studies that analyzed whether regional or national health care systems arrangements were associated with patient awareness of hypertension, treatment of hypertension, adherence to antihypertensive medication treatment, and control of hypertension. The researchers used an established conceptual framework for health care systems and an approach called narrative synthesis to analyze the results of these studies, most of which were conducted in the US (36 studies) and other high-income countries (eight studies). Nearly all the studies evaluated the effects of health system financing on hypertension outcomes, although several looked at the effects of delivery and governance of health systems on these outcomes. The researchers' analysis revealed an association between reduced medication co-payments (drug costs that are not covered by health insurance and that are paid by patients in countries without universal free healthcare) and improved hypertension control and treatment adherence, mainly in US settings. In addition, in US settings, health insurance coverage was associated with improved hypertension outcomes, as was having a routine physician or place of care.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that minimizing co-payments for health care and expansion of health insurance coverage in countries without universal free health care may improve the awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension. Although these findings are based mainly on US studies, they are likely to apply more generally but, importantly, these findings indicate that additional, high-quality studies are needed to unravel the impact of health systems arrangements on the management of hypertension. In particular, they reveal few studies in low- and middle-income countries where most of the global burden of hypertension lies and where weaknesses in health systems often result in deficiencies in the care of chronic diseases. Moreover, they highlight a need for studies that evaluate how aspects of health care systems other than financing (for example, delivery and governance mechanisms) and interactions between health care system arrangements affect hypertension outcomes. Without the results of such studies, governments and national and international organizations will not know the best ways to deal effectively with the global public-health crisis posed by hypertension.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001490.
The US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute has patient information about high blood pressure (in English and Spanish)
The American Heart Association provides information on high blood pressure (in several languages) and personal stories about dealing with high blood pressure
The UK National Health Service (NHS) Choices website provides detailed information for patients about hypertension and a personal story about hypertension
The World Health Organization provides information on controlling blood pressure and on health systems (in several languages); its "A Global Brief on Hypertension" was published on World Health Day 2013
MedlinePlus provides links to further information about high blood pressure (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001490
PMCID: PMC3728036  PMID: 23935461
7.  Twenty-Four-Hour Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring in Hypertension 
Executive Summary
Objective
The objective of this health technology assessment was to determine the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) for hypertension.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Hypertension occurs when either systolic blood pressure, the pressure in the artery when the heart contracts, or diastolic blood pressure, the pressure in the artery when the heart relaxes between beats, are consistently high. Blood pressure (BP) that is consistently more than 140/90 mmHg (systolic/diastolic) is considered high. A lower threshold, greater than 130/80 mmHg (systolic/diastolic), is set for individuals with diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
In 2006 and 2007, the age-standardized incidence rate of diagnosed hypertension in Canada was 25.8 per 1,000 (450,000 individuals were newly diagnosed). During the same time period, 22.7% of adult Canadians were living with diagnosed hypertension.
A smaller proportion of Canadians are unaware they have hypertension; therefore, the estimated number of Canadians affected by this disease may be higher. Diagnosis and management of hypertension are important, since elevated BP levels are related to the risk of cardiovascular disease, including stroke. In Canada in 2003, the costs to the health care system related to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of hypertension were over $2.3 billion (Cdn).
Technology
The 24-hour ABPM device consists of a standard inflatable cuff attached to a small computer weighing about 500 grams, which is worn over the shoulder or on a belt. The technology is noninvasive and fully automated. The device takes BP measurements every 15 to 30 minutes over a 24-to 28-hour time period, thus providing extended, continuous BP recordings even during a patient’s normal daily activities. Information on the multiple BP measurements can be downloaded to a computer.
The main detection methods used by the device are auscultation and oscillometry. The device avoids some of the pitfalls of conventional office or clinic blood pressure monitoring (CBPM) using a cuff and mercury sphygmomanometer such as observer bias (the phenomenon of measurement error when the observer overemphasizes expected results) and white coat hypertension (the phenomenon of elevated BP when measured in the office or clinic but normal BP when measured outside of the medical setting).
Research Questions
Is there a difference in patient outcome and treatment protocol using 24-hour ABPM versus CBPM for uncomplicated hypertension?
Is there a difference between the 2 technologies when white coat hypertension is taken into account?
What is the cost-effectiveness and budget impact of 24-hour ABPM versus CBPM for uncomplicated hypertension?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on August 4, 2011 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1, 1997 to August 4, 2011. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer. For those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. Articles with unknown eligibility were reviewed with a second clinical epidemiologist and then a group of epidemiologists until consensus was established. The quality of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Inclusion Criteria
English language articles;
published between January 1, 1997 and August 4, 2011;
adults aged 18 years of age or older;
journal articles reporting on the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, or safety for the comparison of interest;
clearly described study design and methods;
health technology assessments, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, or randomized controlled trials.
Exclusion Criteria
non-English papers;
animal or in vitro studies;
case reports, case series, or case-case studies;
studies comparing different antihypertensive therapies and evaluating their antihypertensive effects using 24-hour ABPM;
studies on home or self-monitoring of BP, and studies on automated office BP measurement;
studies in high-risk subgroups (e.g. diabetes, pregnancy, kidney disease).
Outcomes of Interest
Patient Outcomes
mortality: all cardiovascular events (e.g., myocardial infarction [MI], stroke);
non-fatal: all cardiovascular events (e.g., MI, stroke);
combined fatal and non-fatal: all cardiovascular events (e.g., MI, stroke);
all non-cardiovascular events;
control of BP (e.g. systolic and/or diastolic target level).
Drug-Related Outcomes
percentage of patients who show a reduction in, or stop, drug treatment;
percentage of patients who begin multi-drug treatment;
drug therapy use (e.g. number, intensity of drug use);
drug-related adverse events.
Quality of Evidence
The quality of the body of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE Working Group criteria.
As stated by the GRADE Working Group, the following definitions of quality were used in grading the quality of the evidence:
Summary of Findings
Short-Term Follow-Up Studies (Length of Follow-Up of ≤ 1 Year)
Based on very low quality of evidence, there is no difference between technologies for non-fatal cardiovascular events.
Based on moderate quality of evidence, ABPM resulted in improved BP control among patients with sustained hypertension compared to CBPM.
Based on low quality of evidence, ABPM resulted in hypertensive patients being more likely to stop antihypertensive therapy and less likely to proceed to multi-drug therapy compared to CBPM.
Based on low quality of evidence, there is a beneficial effect of ABPM on the intensity of antihypertensive drug use compared to CBPM.
Based on moderate quality of evidence, there is no difference between technologies in the number of antihypertensive drugs used.
Based on low to very low quality of evidence, there is no difference between technologies in the risk for a drug-related adverse event or noncardiovascular event.
Long-Term Follow-Up Study (Mean Length of Follow-Up of 5 Years)
Based on moderate quality of evidence, there is a beneficial effect of ABPM on total combined cardiovascular events compared to CBPM.
Based on low quality of evidence, there is a lack of a beneficial effect of ABPM on nonfatal cardiovascular events compared to CBPM; however, the lack of a beneficial effect is based on a borderline result.
Based on low quality of evidence, there is no beneficial effect of ABPM on fatal cardiovascular events compared to CBPM.
Based on low quality of evidence, there is no difference between technologies for the number of patients who began multi-drug therapy.
Based on low quality of evidence, there is a beneficial effect of CBPM on control of BP compared to ABPM. This result is in the opposite direction than expected.
Based on moderate quality of evidence, there is no difference between technologies in the risk for a drug-related adverse event.
PMCID: PMC3377518  PMID: 23074425
8.  Prevalence and predictors of white-coat response in patients with treated hypertension 
BACKGROUND: White-coat response, defined as higher office blood pressure readings than ambulatory readings, is common. Few studies have estimated its prevalence among subjects with treated hypertension, and almost none have defined its determinants. The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of white-coat response among subjects with treated hypertension and to determine whether the phenomenon could be predicted using clinical and psychometric data. METHODS: A total of 103 treated patients (55 men and 48 women) with uncontrolled hypertension who attended a hypertension outpatient clinic in Saskatoon between September 1993 and December 1995 were entered into the study. Patients had at least 2 clinic blood pressure readings of 140/90 mm Hg or higher, had no target organ damage or left ventricular hypertrophy, and had been prescribed 2 or more classes of antihypertensive drugs. Patients had blood pressure measured in the supine position in the clinic, were placed on 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and then completed questionnaires before returning to the clinic. Patients were classified as exhibiting a white-coat response if their mean daytime ambulatory systolic/diastolic blood pressure was 139/89 mm Hg (both) or less, or if the systolic/diastolic pressure was at least 20/15 mm Hg (both) lower than the clinic reading. RESULTS: Eleven men (20%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 10%-33%) and 26 women (54%, 95% CI 39%-69%) showed white-coat response. Logistic regression modelling showed that determinants such as stress had significantly different effects among men and women. Separate models were therefore created for men and women. For women, perceived level of stress was the most important predictor of white-coat response (odds ratio [OR] per unit 7.0, 95% CI 1.3-36.0), followed by time since diagnosis. For men, depression was a weak predictor, with higher depression scores predicting sustained hypertension (OR per unit 1.2, 95% CI 1.01-1.5). INTERPRETATION: Sex is an important factor in white-coat response. Attempts to predict white-coat response from psychometric variables should take sex differences into account. Clinical variables were not effective as predictors of white-coat response.
PMCID: PMC1230502  PMID: 10463047
9.  Risk Stratification by Self-Measured Home Blood Pressure across Categories of Conventional Blood Pressure: A Participant-Level Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(1):e1001591.
Jan Staessen and colleagues compare the risk of cardiovascular, cardiac, or cerebrovascular events in patients with elevated office blood pressure vs. self-measured home blood pressure.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
The Global Burden of Diseases Study 2010 reported that hypertension is worldwide the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease, causing 9.4 million deaths annually. We examined to what extent self-measurement of home blood pressure (HBP) refines risk stratification across increasing categories of conventional blood pressure (CBP).
Methods and Findings
This meta-analysis included 5,008 individuals randomly recruited from five populations (56.6% women; mean age, 57.1 y). All were not treated with antihypertensive drugs. In multivariable analyses, hazard ratios (HRs) associated with 10-mm Hg increases in systolic HBP were computed across CBP categories, using the following systolic/diastolic CBP thresholds (in mm Hg): optimal, <120/<80; normal, 120–129/80–84; high-normal, 130–139/85–89; mild hypertension, 140–159/90–99; and severe hypertension, ≥160/≥100.
Over 8.3 y, 522 participants died, and 414, 225, and 194 had cardiovascular, cardiac, and cerebrovascular events, respectively. In participants with optimal or normal CBP, HRs for a composite cardiovascular end point associated with a 10-mm Hg higher systolic HBP were 1.28 (1.01–1.62) and 1.22 (1.00–1.49), respectively. At high-normal CBP and in mild hypertension, the HRs were 1.24 (1.03–1.49) and 1.20 (1.06–1.37), respectively, for all cardiovascular events and 1.33 (1.07–1.65) and 1.30 (1.09–1.56), respectively, for stroke. In severe hypertension, the HRs were not significant (p≥0.20). Among people with optimal, normal, and high-normal CBP, 67 (5.0%), 187 (18.4%), and 315 (30.3%), respectively, had masked hypertension (HBP≥130 mm Hg systolic or ≥85 mm Hg diastolic). Compared to true optimal CBP, masked hypertension was associated with a 2.3-fold (1.5–3.5) higher cardiovascular risk. A limitation was few data from low- and middle-income countries.
Conclusions
HBP substantially refines risk stratification at CBP levels assumed to carry no or only mildly increased risk, in particular in the presence of masked hypertension. Randomized trials could help determine the best use of CBP vs. HBP in guiding BP management. Our study identified a novel indication for HBP, which, in view of its low cost and the increased availability of electronic communication, might be globally applicable, even in remote areas or in low-resource settings.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Globally, hypertension (high blood pressure) is the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease and is responsible for 9.4 million deaths annually from heart attacks, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. Hypertension, which rarely has any symptoms, is diagnosed by measuring blood pressure, the force that blood circulating in the body exerts on the inside of large blood vessels. Blood pressure is highest when the heart is pumping out blood (systolic blood pressure) and lowest when the heart is refilling (diastolic blood pressure). European guidelines define optimal blood pressure as a systolic blood pressure of less than 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and a diastolic blood pressure of less than 80 mm Hg (a blood pressure of less than 120/80 mm Hg). Normal blood pressure, high-normal blood pressure, and mild hypertension are defined as blood pressures in the ranges 120–129/80–84 mm Hg, 130–139/85–89 mm Hg, and 140–159/90–99 mm Hg, respectively. A blood pressure of more than 160 mm Hg systolic or 100 mm Hg diastolic indicates severe hypertension. Many factors affect blood pressure; overweight people and individuals who eat salty or fatty food are at high risk of developing hypertension. Lifestyle changes and/or antihypertensive drugs can be used to control hypertension.
Why Was This Study Done?
The current guidelines for the diagnosis and management of hypertension recommend risk stratification based on conventionally measured blood pressure (CBP, the average of two consecutive measurements made at a clinic). However, self-measured home blood pressure (HBP) more accurately predicts outcomes because multiple HBP readings are taken and because HBP measurement avoids the “white-coat effect”—some individuals have a raised blood pressure in a clinical setting but not at home. Could risk stratification across increasing categories of CBP be refined through the use of self-measured HBP, particularly at CBP levels assumed to be associated with no or only mildly increased risk? Here, the researchers undertake a participant-level meta-analysis (a study that uses statistical approaches to pool results from individual participants in several independent studies) to answer this question.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers included 5,008 individuals recruited from five populations and enrolled in the International Database of Home Blood Pressure in Relation to Cardiovascular Outcome (IDHOCO) in their meta-analysis. CBP readings were available for all the participants, who measured their HBP using an oscillometric device (an electronic device for measuring blood pressure). The researchers used information on fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular, cardiac, and cerebrovascular (stroke) events to calculate the hazard ratios (HRs, indicators of increased risk) associated with a 10-mm Hg increase in systolic HBP across standard CBP categories. In participants with optimal CBP, an increase in systolic HBP of 10-mm Hg increased the risk of any cardiovascular event by nearly 30% (an HR of 1.28). Similar HRs were associated with a 10-mm Hg increase in systolic HBP for all cardiovascular events among people with normal and high-normal CBP and with mild hypertension, but for people with severe hypertension, systolic HBP did not significantly add to the prediction of any end point. Among people with optimal, normal, and high-normal CBP, 5%, 18.4%, and 30.4%, respectively, had a HBP of 130/85 or higher (“masked hypertension,” a higher blood pressure in daily life than in a clinical setting). Finally, compared to individuals with optimal CBP without masked hypertension, individuals with masked hypertension had more than double the risk of cardiovascular disease.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that HBP measurements, particularly in individuals with masked hypertension, refine risk stratification at CBP levels assumed to be associated with no or mildly elevated risk of cardiovascular disease. That is, HBP measurements can improve the prediction of cardiovascular complications or death among individuals with optimal, normal, and high-normal CBP but not among individuals with severe hypertension. Clinical trials are needed to test whether the identification and treatment of masked hypertension leads to a reduction of cardiovascular complications and is cost-effective compared to the current standard of care, which does not include HBP measurements and does not treat people with normal or high-normal CBP. Until then, these findings provide support for including HBP monitoring in primary prevention strategies for cardiovascular disease among individuals at risk for masked hypertension (for example, people with diabetes), and for carrying out HBP monitoring in people with a normal CBP but unexplained signs of hypertensive target organ damage.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001591.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Mark Caulfield
The US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has patient information about high blood pressure (in English and Spanish) and a guide to lowering high blood pressure that includes personal stories
The American Heart Association provides information on high blood pressure and on cardiovascular diseases (in several languages); it also provides personal stories about dealing with high blood pressure
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides detailed information for patients about hypertension (including a personal story) and about cardiovascular disease
The World Health Organization provides information on cardiovascular disease and controlling blood pressure; its A Global Brief on Hypertension was published on World Health Day 2013
The UK charity Blood Pressure UK provides information about white-coat hypertension and about home blood pressure monitoring
MedlinePlus provides links to further information about high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001591
PMCID: PMC3897370  PMID: 24465187
10.  Alcohol Intake and Blood Pressure: A Systematic Review Implementing a Mendelian Randomization Approach 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(3):e52.
Background
Alcohol has been reported to be a common and modifiable risk factor for hypertension. However, observational studies are subject to confounding by other behavioural and sociodemographic factors, while clinical trials are difficult to implement and have limited follow-up time. Mendelian randomization can provide robust evidence on the nature of this association by use of a common polymorphism in aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) as a surrogate for measuring alcohol consumption. ALDH2 encodes a major enzyme involved in alcohol metabolism. Individuals homozygous for the null variant (*2*2) experience adverse symptoms when drinking alcohol and consequently drink considerably less alcohol than wild-type homozygotes (*1*1) or heterozygotes. We hypothesise that this polymorphism may influence the risk of hypertension by affecting alcohol drinking behaviour.
Methods and Findings
We carried out fixed effect meta-analyses of the ALDH2 genotype with blood pressure (five studies, n = 7,658) and hypertension (three studies, n = 4,219) using studies identified via systematic review. In males, we obtained an overall odds ratio of 2.42 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.66–3.55, p = 4.8 × 10−6) for hypertension comparing *1*1 with *2*2 homozygotes and an odds ratio of 1.72 (95% CI 1.17–2.52, p = 0.006) comparing heterozygotes (surrogate for moderate drinkers) with *2*2 homozygotes. Systolic blood pressure was 7.44 mmHg (95% CI 5.39–9.49, p = 1.1 × 10−12) greater among *1*1 than among *2*2 homozygotes, and 4.24 mmHg (95% CI 2.18–6.31, p = 0.00005) greater among heterozygotes than among *2*2 homozygotes.
Conclusions
These findings support the hypothesis that alcohol intake has a marked effect on blood pressure and the risk of hypertension.
Using a mendelian randomization approach Sarah Lewis and colleagues find strong support for the hypothesis that alcohol intake has a marked effect on blood pressure and the risk of hypertension.
Editors' Summary
Background.
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common medical condition that affects nearly a third of US and UK adults. Hypertension has no symptoms but can lead to heart attacks or strokes. It is diagnosed by measuring blood pressure—the force that blood moving around the body exerts on the inside of large blood vessels. Blood pressure is highest when the heart is pumping out blood (systolic pressure) and lowest when it is filling up with blood (diastolic pressure). Normal blood pressure is defined as a systolic pressure of less than 130 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and a diastolic pressure of less than 85 mmHg (a blood pressure of 130/85). A reading of more than 140/90 indicates hypertension. Many factors affect blood pressure, but overweight people and individuals who eat too much salty or fatty foods are at high risk of developing hypertension. Mild hypertension can often be corrected by lifestyle changes, but many people also take antihypertensive drugs to reduce their blood pressure.
Why Was This Study Done?
Another modifiable lifestyle factor thought to affect blood pressure is alcohol intake. Observational studies that ask people about their drinking habits and measure their blood pressure suggest that alcohol intake correlates with blood pressure, but they cannot prove a causal link because of “confounding”—other risk factors associated with alcohol drinking, such as diet, might also affect the study participant's blood pressures. A trial that randomly assigns people to different alcohol intakes could provide this proof of causality, but such a trial is impractical. In this study, therefore, the researchers have used “Mendelian randomization” to investigate whether alcohol intake affects blood pressure. An inactive variant of aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2; the enzyme that removes alcohol from the body) has been identified. People who inherit the variant form of this gene from both parents have an ALDH2 *2*2 genotype (genetic makeup) and become flushed and nauseated after drinking. Consequently, they drink less than people with a *1*2 genotype and much less than those with a *1*1 genotype. Because inheritance of these genetic variants does not affect lifestyle factors other than alcohol intake, an association between ALDH2 genotypes and blood pressure would indicate that alcohol intake has an effect on blood pressure without any confounding.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified ten published studies (mainly done in Japan where the ALDH2 gene variant is common) on associations between ALDH2 genotype and blood pressure or hypertension using a detailed search protocol (a “systematic review”). A meta-analysis (a statistical method for combining the results of independent studies) of the studies that had investigated the association between ALDH2 genotype and hypertension showed that men with the *1*1 genotype (highest alcohol intake) and those with the *1*2 genotype (intermediate alcohol intake) were 2.42 and 1.72 times more likely, respectively, to have hypertension than those with the *2*2 genotype (lowest alcohol intake). There was no association between ALDH2 genotype and hypertension among the women in these studies because they drank very little. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures showed a similar relationship to ALDH2 genotype in a second meta-analysis of relevant studies. Finally, the researchers estimated that for men the lifetime effect of drinking 1 g of alcohol a day (one unit of alcohol contains 8 g of alcohol in the UK and 14 g in the US; recommended daily limits in these countries are 3–4 and 1–2 units, respectively) would be an increase in systolic blood pressure of 0.24 mmHg.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings support the suggestion that alcohol has a marked effect on blood pressure and hypertension. Consequently, some cases of hypertension could be prevented by encouraging people to reduce their daily alcohol intake. Although the Mendelian randomization approach avoids most of the confounding intrinsic to observational studies, it is possible that a gene near ALDH2 that has no effect on alcohol intake affects blood pressure, since genes are often inherited in blocks. Alternatively, ALDH2 could affect blood pressure independent of alcohol intake. The possibility that ALDH2 could effect blood pressure independently of alcohol is intake made unlikely by the fact that no effect of genotype on blood pressure is seen among women who drink very little. Additional large-scale studies are needed to address these possibilities, to confirm the current finding in more people, and to improve the estimates of the effect that alcohol intake has on blood pressure.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050052.
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has a page on hypertension (in English and Spanish)
The American Heart Association provides information for patients and health professionals about hypertension
The UK Blood Pressure Association provides information for patients and health professionals on all aspects of hypertension, including information about alcohol affects blood pressure
The Explore@Bristol science center (a UK charity) provides an alcohol unit calculator and information on the effects of alcohol
The International Center for Alcohol Policies provides drinking guidelines for countries around the world
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050052
PMCID: PMC2265305  PMID: 18318597
11.  Long-term Follow-up of Blood Pressure in Family Members of Soldiers Killed During the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina 
Croatian medical journal  2006;47(3):416-423.
Aim
To asses prevalence of essential arterial hypertension in family members of soldiers killed in 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Methods
The study enrolled 1144 subjects who lost a family member in the war and 582 of their close neighbors who experienced no such loss. Data on their medical history and habits were collected, and their blood pressure was recorded in 1996 and 2003. Arterial hypertension was defined as systolic blood pressure ≥140 mm Hg (≥130 mm Hg in patients with diabetes mellitus), or diastolic blood pressure ≥90 mm Hg (≥80 mm Hg in patients with diabetes mellitus), or taking antihypertensive therapy. Additional laboratory and clinical tests were performed in subjects with hypertension.
Results
The prevalence of hypertension at both time points was higher in the group with a killed family member than in the group without the loss (55.1% vs 42.1%, P<0.001 in 1996, and 50.7% vs 39.0%, P<0.001 in 2003, respectively). However, there was also a significant decrease in the prevalence of hypertension in the group with the loss in 2003 (P<0.001), but not in group without the loss. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), smoking, and alcohol consumption were more prevalent in the group with a killed family member, but not cholesterol and triglyceride blood concentrations. In both groups, hypertension was more prevalent in subjects with PTSD and smoking or drinking habit. Proportion of subjects with hypertension who smoked and used alcohol was similar in both groups. Proportion of subjects with hypertension who did not smoke or drink was higher in the group with the loss (51.1% vs 36.7%, P<0.001; 46.2% vs 35.0%, P = 0.006; respectively).
Conclusion
This study showed higher prevalence of hypertension in family members of killed soldiers, regardless of the presence of other cardiovascular risk factors. Only the stress of mourning was associated with higher prevalence of hypertension. Over time, proportion of hypertensive subjects with the loss decreased in the group with a killed family member, further suggesting that at least a part of their hypertension might have been of psychological origin.
PMCID: PMC2080420  PMID: 16758520
12.  Pattern of declining blood pressure across replicate population surveys of the WHO MONICA project, mid-1980s to mid-1990s, and the role of medication 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2006;332(7542):629-635.
Objective Declining mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures were observed in most populations of the World Health Organization MONICA (monitoring trends and determinants in cardiovascular disease) project from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s. We tested whether pooled results would show mean change associated with decline in high readings only, resulting from better antihypertensive medication, or with similar falls in low, middle, and high readings, implying other causes.
Design Independent, random sample, cross sectional population surveys, each end of the MONICA decade.
Setting 38 populations in 21 countries across four continents.
Participants Design target in each survey of 200 participants in each 10 year age and sex group from age 35 to 64
Main outcome measures Changes in the population in mean systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and in low, middle, and high readings—the 20th, 50th, and 80th centiles—and the differences between these changes.
Results Individual populations differed considerably, but pooling the 38 population results gave mean changes in systolic blood pressure of -2.2 mm Hg in men, -3.3 mm Hg in women, and in diastolic blood pressure of -1.4 mm Hg in men and -2.2 mm Hg in women (overall average -2.26 mm Hg, population median -1.55 mm Hg). Antihypertensive medication, associated with high readings, rose by 0.5% to 11.4%. However, average falls in low and middle blood pressure readings were so similar to those in high readings and in the mean that no effect from improving treatment of hypertension was detected. Results in contrasted subgroups were consistent.
Conclusions Blood pressure fell across 38 MONICA populations at all levels of readings, with no differential fall in high readings attributable to better control of hypertension. Despite the importance of medication to individuals, in that decade other determinants of blood pressure lowering must have been more pervasive and powerful in whole populations.
doi:10.1136/bmj.38753.779005.BE
PMCID: PMC1403225  PMID: 16531419
13.  Trends in sudden cardiac death and its risk factors in Japan from 1981 to 2005: the Circulatory Risk in Communities Study (CIRCS) 
BMJ Open  2012;2(2):e000573.
Objective
There is little evidence whether sudden cardiac death (SCD) is increasing in Asia, although the incidence of coronary heart disease among urban middle-aged Japanese men has increased recently. We examined trends in the incidence of SCD and its risk factors in the Circulatory Risk in Communities Study.
Design and setting
This was a population-based longitudinal study. Surveillance of men and women for SCD incidence and risk factors was conducted from 1981 to 2005.
Subjects
The surveyed population was all men and women aged 30–84 years who lived in three rural communities and one urban community in Japan.
Main outcome measures
Trends in SCD incidence and its risk factors.
Results
Age-adjusted and sex-adjusted incidence of SCD decreased from 1981–1985 to 1991–1995, and plateaued thereafter. The annual incidence per 100 000 person-years was 76.0 in 1981–1985, 57.9 in 1986–1990, 39.3 in 1991–1995, 31.6 in 1996–2000 and 36.8 in 2001–2005. The prevalence of hypertension decreased from 1981–1985 to 1991–1995, and plateaued thereafter for men and women. The age-adjusted prevalence of current smoking for men decreased while that of diabetes mellitus increased for both sexes from 1981–1985 to 2001–2005.
Conclusions
The incidence of SCD decreased from 1981 to 1995 but was unchanged from 1996 to 2005. Continuous surveillance is necessary to clarify future trends in SCD in Japan because of an increasing incidence of diabetes mellitus.
Article summary
Article focus
The incidence of coronary heart disease among urban middle-aged Japanese men increased from the 1990s to the 2000s, therefore the incidence of sudden cardiac death (SCD) may have increased in recent decades.
This is the first study to examine recent trends in SCD in Japan.
Key messages
The age-adjusted and sex-adjusted incidence of SCD among men and women aged 30–84 years in four Japanese communities decreased from 1981–1985 to 1991–1995 and plateaued after 1996.
Continuous surveillance is necessary to clarify future trends in SCD in Japan because of an increasing incidence of diabetes mellitus.
Strengths and limitations of this study
Trends in SCD were analysed using population-based data from a large number of participants in a long-term observational study and annual cardiovascular risk factor surveys ascertained the trends in predisposing risk factors of SCD.
The incidence of SCD was only examined for people aged 30–84 years; other age ranges were not included.
Clinical features and neuroimaging reports were used to exclude death due to stroke; some cases may have been misclassified, especially out-of-hospital deaths.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000573
PMCID: PMC3312077  PMID: 22446988
14.  Results of the Ontario Survey on the Prevalence and Control of Hypertension 
Background
Available information on the prevalence and management of hypertension in the Canadian population dates back to 1986–1992 and probably does not reflect the current status of this major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. We sought to evaluate the current prevalence and management of hypertension among adults in the province of Ontario.
Methods
Potential respondents from randomly selected dwellings within target neighbourhoods in 16 municipalities were contacted at their homes to request participation in the study. For potential respondents who agreed to participate, blood pressure was measured with an automated device. Estimation weights were used to obtain representative estimates of population parameters. Responses were weighted to the total adult population in Ontario of 7 996 653.
Results
From 6436 eligible dwellings, contact was made with 4559 potential participants, of whom 2992 agreed to participate. Blood pressure measurements were obtained for 2551 of these respondents (age 20–79 years). Hypertension, defined as systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg or more, diastolic blood pressure of 90 mm Hg or more, or treatment with an antihypertensive medication, was identified in 21.3% of the population overall (23.8% of men and 19.0% of women). Prevalence increased with age, from 3.4% among participants 20–39 years of age to 51.6% among those 60–79 years of age. Hypertension was more common among black people and people of South Asian background than among white people; hypertension was also associated with higher body mass index. Among participants with hypertension, 65.7% were undergoing treatment with control of hypertension, 14.7% were undergoing treatment but the hypertension was not controlled, and 19.5% were not receiving any treatment (including 13.7% who were unaware of their hypertension). The extent of control of hypertension did not differ significantly by age, sex, ethnic background or comorbidities.
Interpretation
In Ontario, the overall prevalence of hypertension is high in the older population but appears not to have increased in recent decades. Hypertension management has improved markedly among all age groups and for both sexes.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.071340
PMCID: PMC2374854  PMID: 18490640
15.  Changes in blood pressure among students attending Glasgow University between 1948 and 1968: analyses of cross sectional surveys 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2001;322(7291):885-889.
Objectives
To examine the changes in blood pressure over time in a cohort of young adults attending university between 1948 and 1968.
Design
Cross sectional study.
Setting
Glasgow University.
Participants
12 414 students aged 16-25 years—9248 men (mean age 19.9 years) and 3164 women (19.2 years)—who participated in health screening on entering university between 1948 and 1968.
Main outcome measures
Systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Results
In male students mean systolic blood pressure adjusted for age decreased from 134.5 (95% confidence interval 133.8 to 135.2) mm Hg in those born before 1929 to 125.7 (125.0 to 126.3) mm Hg in those born after 1945, and diastolic blood pressure dropped from 80.3 (79.8 to 80.8) mm Hg to 74.7 (74.2 to 75.1) mm Hg. For female students the corresponding declines were from 129.0 (127.5 to 130.5) mm Hg to 120.6 (119.8 to 121.4) mm Hg and from 79.7 (78.7 to 80.6) mm Hg to 77.0 (76.5 to 77.5) mm Hg. Adjustment for potential confounding factors made little difference to these findings. The proportion of students with hypertension declined substantially in both sexes.
Conclusions
Substantial declines in systolic and diastolic blood pressure over time were occurring up to 50 years ago in young adults who were not taking antihypertensive medication. Since blood pressure tracks into adult life, the results of the cross sectional comparisons suggest that factors acting in early life may be important in determining population risk of cardiovascular disease. Changes in such factors may have made important contributions to the decline in rates of cardiovascular diseases, particularly stroke, seen in developed countries during the past century.
What is already known on this topicMortality from stroke in developed countries decreased throughout the 20th century; declines in mortality from coronary heart disease occurred more recentlyExplanations may include favourable trends in risk factors, including blood pressureSince blood pressure tracks into adulthood, description of the trends occurring in blood pressure in young adults may help to elucidate the critical periods involved in influencing trends in blood pressureWhat this study addsDeclines in blood pressure over time were taking place up to 50 years ago in young adultsThese changes did not result from use of antihypertensive medications and point to the importance of factors in early life in determining blood pressure and risk of subsequent cardiovascular disease
PMCID: PMC30581  PMID: 11302898
16.  Study of urban community survey in India: growing trend of high prevalence of hypertension in a developing country 
The prevalence pattern of hypertension in developing countries is different from that in the developed countries. In India, a very large, populous and typical developing country, community surveys have documented that between three and six decades, prevalence of hypertension has increased by about 30 times among urban dwellers and by about 10 times among the rural inhabitants. Various factors might have contributed to this rising trend and among others, consequences of urbanization such as change in life style pattern, diet and stress, increased population and shrinking employment have been implicated. In this paper, we study the prevalence of hypertension in an urban community of India using the JNC VII criteria, with the aim of identifying the risk factors and suggesting intervention strategies. A total of 1609 respondents out of 1662 individuals participated in our cross-sectional survey of validated and structured questionnaire followed by blood pressure measurement. Results showed pre-hypertensive levels of blood pressures among 35.8% of the participants in systolic group (120-139mm of Hg) and 47.7% in diastolic group (80-89 mm of Hg). Systolic hypertension (140 mm of Hg) was present in 40.9% and diastolic hypertension (90 mm of Hg) in 29.3% of the participants. Age and sex-specific prevalence of hypertension showed progressive rise of systolic and diastolic hypertension in women when compared to men. Men showed progressive rise in systolic hypertension beyond fifth decade of life. Bivariate analysis showed significant relationship of hypertension with age, sedentary occupation, body mass index (BMI), diet, ischemic heart disease, and smoking. Multivariate analysis revealed age and BMI as risk factors, and non-vegetarian diet as protective factor with respect to hypertension. Prevalence of prehypertensives was high among younger subjects - particularly students and laborers who need special attention. Role of non-vegetarian diet as a protective factor might have been related to fish-eating behavior of the sample population, who also use mustard oil as cooking medium - both of which have significant level of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids. The observed prevalence of hypertension in this study and other studies suggest the need for a comprehensive national policy to control hypertension in India, and, in other similar developing countries.
PMCID: PMC1145137  PMID: 15968343
Hypertension; eastern India; urban study; JNC-VII criteria; prehypertensives; non-vegetarian diet; developing countries
17.  The association between concurrent and remote blood pressure and disability in older adults 
Hypertension  2007;50(6):1026-1032.
The objective of this study was to investigate the association between blood pressure and disability in older adults. Stroke-free participants in the Charleston Heart Study (n=999, mean age= 68.5± standard error 0.2 years, 57% women, and 39% African Americans) were followed between 1960 and 1993. Functional measures including Nagi’s Congruency in Medical and Self Assessment of Disability scale, the Rosow-Breslaw scale and Katz’ Activities of Daily Living scale, in addition to systolic and diastolic blood pressures were collected in 1984–1985, 1987–1990, and 1990–1993. Additional systolic and diastolic blood pressures from 1960–63 were also available. We defined remote blood pressure change as the change from 1960 to 1984–85 and concurrent blood pressure change as the change from 1984–85 to the follow-up periods. Hypertension was defined as blood pressure ≥140/90 mm Hg or receiving antihypertensives, and it was considered uncontrolled if subjects were receiving antihypertensives and blood pressure ≥140/90 mm Hg. Greater remote and concurrent systolic blood pressure increases but not diastolic blood pressure were associated with greater declines in all three functional measures. Participants with hypertension were also at increased risk of developing new disability (hazard ratio= 1.28, 95% confidence interval (CI) (1.04–1.59) for Nagi scale, 1.28, 95%CI (1.02–1.59) for Rosow-Breslaw scale, and 1.3, 95%CI (1.01–1.69)) for Katz scale). Participants with uncontrolled hypertension were at greatest risk of disability compared to normotensives. In stroke-free older adults, remote and concurrent SBP increases are associated with greater functional decline. Older adults with uncontrolled hypertension are at a particularly increased risk for disability.
doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.107.097667
PMCID: PMC2424316  PMID: 18025294
Hypertension; disability; blood pressure; aged; southeast
18.  Trends of blood pressure levels and management in Västerbotten County, Sweden, during 1990–2010 
Global Health Action  2012;5:10.3402/gha.v5i0.18195.
Background
Availability of longitudinal data on hypertension and blood pressure levels are important to assess changes over time at the population level. Moreover, detailed information in different population sub-groups is important to understand inequity and social determinants of blood pressure distribution in the population.
Objectives
The objectives of this study are to: (1) describe the trends of population blood pressure levels in men and women between different educational levels and geographic areas in Sweden during 1990–2010; (2) identify prevalences of hypertension, awareness, treatment, and control in the population; and (3) assess the 10-year risk of developing hypertension among individuals with normal and high normal blood pressures.
Methods
This study is based on data from the Västerbotten Intervention Program (VIP) in Västerbotten County, Sweden. The cross-sectional analysis includes 133,082 VIP health examinations among individuals aged 30, 40, 50, and 60 years from 1990 to 2010. The panel analysis includes 34,868 individuals who were re-examined 10 years after the baseline examination. Individuals completed a self-administered health questionnaire that covers demographic and socio-economic information, self-reported health, and lifestyle behaviours. Blood pressure measurement was obtained prior to the questionnaire. In the cross-sectional analysis, trends of blood pressure by sex, and between educational groups and geographic areas are presented. In the panel analysis, the 10-year risk of developing hypertension is estimated using the predicted probability from logistic regression analysis for each sex, controlling for age and educational level.
Results
The prevalence of hypertension decreased from 1990 to 2010; from 43.8 to 36.0% (p < 0.001) among men, and 37.6 to 27.5% among women (p < 0.001). Individuals with basic education had a significantly higher prevalence of hypertension compared to those with medium or high education. Although the decreases were observed in all geographic areas, individuals in rural inland areas had a much higher prevalence compared to those who lived in Umeå City. The proportion of hypertensive women who were aware of their hypertension (61.7%) was significantly higher than men (51.6%). About 34% of men and 42% of women with hypertension reported taking blood pressure medication. Over time, awareness and control of hypertension improved (from 46.5% in 1990 to 69% in 2010 and from 30 to 65%, respectively). The gaps between educational groups diminished. This study shows a significantly higher risk of developing hypertension for men and women with high normal blood pressure compared to those with normal blood pressure at baseline in all age cohorts and educational groups. The average risks of developing hypertension among men with high normal blood pressure were 21.5, 45.8, and 56.3% in the 30, 40, and 50-year cohorts, respectively. Corresponding numbers for women were 22.6, 47.4, and 57.9%.
Conclusions
Levels of blood pressure and hypertension decreased significantly among the Västerbotten population in the last 21 years. Hypertension management has improved and there is increased awareness, treatment, and control of blood pressure. Despite these achievements, the persisting social gaps in blood pressure levels and management demand further investigation and action from policy makers. Future research should attempt to identify and address the root causes of these health inequities to ensure better and equal health for the whole population.
doi:10.3402/gha.v5i0.18195
PMCID: PMC3409341  PMID: 22855645
hypertension; awareness; treatment; control; Sweden; Västerbotten Intervention Program; high normal; prehypertension
19.  Prevalence and management of hypertension in primary care practices with electronic medical records: a report from the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network 
CMAJ Open  2015;3(1):E76-E82.
Background
Most epidemiologic reports on hypertension in Canada are based on data from surveys or on administrative data. We report on the prevalence and management of hypertension based on data from the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN), which consists of validated, national, point-of-care data from primary care practices.
Methods
We included CPCSSN data as of Dec. 31, 2012, for patients 18 years and older who had at least 1 clinical encounter during the previous 2 years with one of the 444 family physicians and nurse-practitioners who participate in the CPCSSN. We calculated the prevalence of hypertension, the proportion of patients who achieved blood pressure targets, the number of encounters with primary care providers, comorbidities and pharmacologic management.
Results
Of the 250 346 patients who met the eligibility criteria, 57 180 (22.8%) had a diagnosis of hypertension. Of the 44 981 patients for whom blood pressure data were available, 35 094 (78.0%) had achieved both targets for systolic (≤□140 mm Hg) and diastolic (≤□90 mm Hg) pressure. Compared with patients who did not have a hypertension diagnosis, those with hypertension were significantly more likely to have a comorbidity and visited their primary care provider more often. Among the patients with hypertension, 12.1% were not taking antihypertensive medications; nearly two-thirds (61.7%) had their condition controlled with 1 or 2 drugs.
Interpretation
The prevalence of hypertension based on CPCSSN data was similar to estimates from the Canadian Health Measures Survey. Although achievement of blood pressure targets was high, patients with hypertension had more comorbidities and saw their primary care provider more often than those without hypertension.
doi:10.9778/cmajo.20140038
PMCID: PMC4382047  PMID: 25844373
20.  Coping Strategies Used by Patients Infected with Hepatitis C Virus Who Are Facing Medication Costs 
Background:
The prevalence of infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is increasing worldwide. Antiviral therapy, prescription and nonprescription medications, and nondrug therapies to treat HCV infection and to manage associated adverse effects are costly.
Objective:
To determine whether individuals infected with HCV attending a hepatology clinic were negatively affected by the costs of prescription medications, and if so, to determine coping strategies they adopted.
Methods:
Patients infected with HCV attending Hepatology Services, a clinic within the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, were interviewed as part of an exploratory study (April 2 to July 8, 2008). The interview was based on a validated survey adapted for Nova Scotia. Information collected included demographic characteristics; types of prescription, nonprescription, and complementary medications used by patients; and strategies patients adopted to pay their medication costs.
Results:
Fifty patients (age 33–64 years) participated in the interviewer-administered survey, including 35 (70%) men and 19 people (38%) with household income less than $30 000. Frequently used medications were antidepressants (19 patients [38%]), antihypertensive agents (12 [24%]), anxiolytics (10 [20%]), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (10 [20%]). More than half (29 [58%]) were concerned about having sufficient money to pay for their medications. Coping strategies adopted in response to costs of prescription medications were either self-initiated or undertaken in consultation with physicians and/or other health care professionals. Sixteen (32%) of the respondents expressed the belief that physicians usually do not consider patients’ concerns about affordability when prescribing medications. Seven (14%) indicated they would seek help from a pharmacist to buy low-cost substitutes for their medications.
Conclusion:
This study highlighted a range of coping strategies adopted by patients infected with HCV in response to medication costs. It underscores that cost may limit access to essential medications within this patient population, even in a publicly funded health care system. Some of the coping strategies adopted might reduce patients’ persistence and adherence with medication therapy, which could lead to adverse health outcomes. Hospital and community pharmacists need to be aware of the challenges faced by patients in terms of paying for medications and should consider possible proactive responses to address potentially detrimental coping strategies.
PMCID: PMC3093420  PMID: 22479042
hepatitis C virus; treatment; cost of medications; chronic disease; coping strategies; pharmacists; virus de l’hépatite C; traitement; coût des médicaments; maladie chronique; stratégies d’adaptation; pharmaciens
21.  Awareness, Treatment, and control of Hypertension among Adult Population in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina over the Past Decade 
Background
Many studies throughout the world show that hypertension is not effectively treated and controlled, which continued to pose an important challenge in health systems in the world.
Design and methods
Population surveys were carried out in 2002 and 2012 in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBIH) on representative sample at the age of 25-64. The surveys used systematic stratified sample. Questionnaires and anthropometric measure protocols were adapted from internationally recommended surveys.
Results
In the past ten years there has been a slight increase in hypertension prevalence in researched population (41% vs. 42%). Percentage of hypertensive male and female respondents who are not aware of their hypertension actually dropped in the past decade from 54.3% to 51.4%. In 2002 total number of hypertensive respondents aware of their hypertension included 8.1% of male respondents and 10.3% female respondents whose condition was not treated and this rate effectively dropped during the 10-year period. Number of hypertensive, treated, and uncontrolled respondents dropped as reported in the 2012 survey; consequently percentage of hypertensive, treated, and controlled respondents in the 2012 survey increased, in particular in female population.
Conclusions
Investments in primary health care, improved availability, and improved quality of health care in the FBIH in the past 10 years can explain increased rate of hypertension detection and treatment; however, efforts should be continued to introduce hypertension screening programs and hypertension control programs.
Significance for public healthIn spite of wide knowledge of pathophysiology and epidemiology in development of hypertension, ability to easily diagnose it, availability of efficient medications, hypertension continues to have high prevalence and setting up hypertension controls poses significant public health challenge. Recently conducted cross-sectional population surveys in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina give us opportunity to follow the trend for hypertension and implement public health measures to reduce or eliminate causes of high blood pressure in population and at the same time with implementation of medical treatment.
doi:10.4081/jphr.2014.323
PMCID: PMC4274498  PMID: 25553314
blood pressure; hypertension awareness; hypertension control; Bosnia and Herzegovina
22.  Changes in left ventricular structure and function in patients with white coat hypertension: cross sectional survey 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1998;317(7158):565-570.
Objectives: To assess the relation between white coat hypertension and alterations of left ventricular structure and function.
Design: Cross sectional survey.
Setting: Augsburg, Germany.
Subjects: 1677 subjects, aged 25 to 74 years, who participated in an echocardiographic substudy of the monitoring of trends and determinants in cardiovascular disease Augsburg study during 1994-5.
Outcome measures: Blood pressure measurements and M mode, two dimensional, and Doppler echocardiography. After at least 30 minutes’ rest blood pressure was measured three times by a technician, and once by a physician after echocardiography. Subjects were classified as normotensive (technician <140/90 mm Hg, physician <160/95 mm Hg; n=849), white coat hypertensive (technician <140/90 mm Hg, physician ⩾160/95 mm Hg; n=160), mildly hypertensive (technician ⩾140/90 mm Hg, physician <160/95 mm Hg; n=129), and sustained hypertensive (taking antihypertensive drugs or blood pressure measured by a technican ⩾140/90 mm Hg, and physician ⩾160/95 mm Hg; n=538).
Results: White coat hypertension was more common in men than women (10.9% versus 8.2% respectively) and positively related to age and body mass index. After adjustment for these variables, white coat hypertension was associated with an increase in left ventricular mass and an increased prevalence of left ventricular hypertrophy (odds ratio 1.9, 95% confidence interval 1.2 to 3.2; P=0.009) compared with normotensive patients. The increase in left ventricular mass was secondary to significantly increased septal and posterior wall thicknesses whereas end diastolic diameters were similar in both groups with white coat hypertension or normotension. Additionally, the systolic white coat effect (difference between blood pressures recorded by a technician and physician) was associated with increased left ventricular mass and increased prevalence of left ventricular hypertrophy (P<0.05 each). Values for systolic left ventricular function (M mode fractional shortening) were above normal in subjects with white coat hypertension whereas diastolic filling and left atrial size were similar to those in normotension.
Conclusion: About 10% of the general population show exaggerated inotropic and blood pressure responses when mildly stressed. This is associated with an increased risk of left ventricular hypertrophy.
Key messages About 10% of the general population display white coat hypertension After adjustment for age, body mass index, and baseline blood pressure, white coat hypertension is associated with increased left ventricular mass and increased risk of left ventricular hypertrophy In white coat hypertension, after adjustment for covariates, systolic function has values above normal whereas diastolic filling is unchanged White coat hypertension cannot be dismissed as a benign condition
PMCID: PMC28649  PMID: 9721112
23.  Prevalence, awareness and risk factors of hypertension in a large cohort of Iranian adult population 
Journal of hypertension  2013;31(7):1364-1371.
Background
There is considerable variation in hypertension prevalence and awareness, and their correlates, across different geographic locations and ethnic groups. We performed this cross-sectional analysis on data from the Golestan Cohort Study (GCS).
Methods
Enrollment in this study occurred in 2004–2008, and included 50,045 healthy subjects from Golestan Province in northeastern Iran. Hypertension was defined as a systolic blood pressure (SBP) ≥140, a diastolic blood pressure (DBP) ≥90, a prior diagnosis of hypertension, or the use of antihypertensive drugs. Potential correlates of hypertension and its awareness were analyzed by logistic regression adjusted for sex, age, BMI, place of residence, literacy, ethnicity, physical activity, smoking, black and green tea consumption and wealth score.
Results
Of the total cohort participants, 21,350 (42.7%) were hypertensive. Age-standardized prevalence of hypertension, using the 2001 WHO standard world population, was 41.8% (95%CI: 38.3%–45.2%). Hypertension was directly associated with female sex, increased BMI, Turkmen ethnicity, and lack of physical activity, and inversely associated with drinking black tea and wealth score. Among hypertensive subjects, 46.2% were aware of their disease, 17.6% were receiving antihypertensive medication, and 32.1% of the treated subjects had controlled hypertension. Hypertension awareness was greater among women, the elderly, overweight and obese subjects, and those with a higher wealth score.
Conclusions
Hypertension is highly prevalent in rural Iran, many of the affected individuals are unaware of their disease, and the rate of control by antihypertensive medications is low. Increasing hypertension awareness and access to health services, especially among less privileged residents are recommended.
doi:10.1097/HJH.0b013e3283613053
PMCID: PMC3766446  PMID: 23673348
hypertension; awareness; obesity; smoking; socioeconomic status
24.  Prevalence of Hypertension, Awareness, Treatment, and Control in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos 
American Journal of Hypertension  2014;27(6):793-800.
BACKGROUND
The prevention and control of hypertension is an essential component for reducing the burden of cardiovascular diseases. Here we describe the prevalence of hypertension in diverse Hispanic/Latino background groups and describe the proportion who are aware of their diagnosis, receiving treatment, and having their hypertension under control.
METHODS
The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos is a longitudinal cohort study of 16,415 Hispanics/Latinos, aged 18–74 years from 4 US communities (Bronx, NY; Chicago, IL; Miami, FL; and San Diego, CA). At baseline (2008–2011) the study collected extensive measurements and completed questionnaires related to research on cardiovascular diseases. Hypertension was defined as measured blood pressure ≥140/90mm Hg or use of antihypertensive medication.
RESULTS
The total age-adjusted prevalence of hypertension in this study was 25.5% as compared with 27.4% in non-Hispanic whites in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Prevalence of hypertension increased with increasing age groups and was highest in Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Dominican background groups. The percent with hypertension who were aware, being treated with medication, or had their hypertension controlled was lower compared with US non-Hispanic whites with hypertension and it was lowest in those without health insurance.
CONCLUSIONS
These findings indicate a significant deficit in treatment and control of hypertension among Hispanics/Latinos residing in the United States, particularly those without health insurance. Given the relative ease of identification of hypertension and the availability of low-cost medications, enabling better access to diagnostic and treatment services should reduce the burden of hypertension in Hispanic populations.
doi:10.1093/ajh/hpu003
PMCID: PMC4017932  PMID: 24627442
blood pressure; epidemiology; Hispanics; hypertension; Latinos; medically uninsured; socioeconomic status.
25.  Prevalence and Associated Factors of Hypertension: A Crossectional Community Based Study in Northwest Ethiopia 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0125210.
Background
Hypertension, being the root cause of many of the body sytem and organs failure, remains to be a major public health challenge globally. Though the problem is huge in both developed and developing countries, data are scarce in developing countries like Ethiopia. Therefore, this study was aimed to determine the magnitude and associated factors of hypertension in North West Ethiopia.
Methods
A cross-sectional survey was conducted on adults aged 35 years and above in the rural and urban communities of Dabat district and Gondar town in 2012. The data were collected using the WHO STEPwise strategy. Hypertension was defined as having a Systolic blood pressure of ≥140 mmHg and/ or a Diastolic BP of ≥ 90mmHg or a reported use of anti-hypertensive medications for raised blood pressure. Prevalence was computed with a 95% confidence interval. Selected risk factors were assessed using a biviarete logistic regression.
Results
A total of 2200 participants were included in the study. The median age (±SD) was 47 (±12.4) years. The overall prevalence of hypertension was found to be 27.9% [95% CI 26.0, 29.8], with the proportion in the urban and rural residents being 30.7% and 25.3% respectively. The prevalence of hypertension was 29.3% for women and 26.3% for men. Out of the 598 hypertensive patients 241 (40.3%) had blood pressure measurements, and 99 (16.6%) had known hypertension and were on treatment. The proportion of systolic and diastolic hypertension in this subgroup of adults was 133(6.2%). The multivariable logistic regression analysis showed older age (AOR = 1.06; 1.05, 1.07), raised fasting glucose (AOR = 1.01; 1.001, 1.01), alcohol consumption (AOR = 1.71; 1.24, 2.36), and raised BMI (AOR =1.07; 1.04, 1.10) were significantly associated with hypertension.
Conclusion
The prevalence of hypertension was considerably higher in rural areas than previously reported. The health system needs to develop strategies to increase the reach of relevant screening and diagnostic services to both rural and urban populations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0125210
PMCID: PMC4409323  PMID: 25909382

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