Prevalence, Detection, Management, and Control of Hypertension in Ashanti, West Africa
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Hypertension and stroke are important threats to the health of adults in sub-Saharan Africa. Nevertheless, detection of hypertension is haphazard and stroke prevention targets are currently unattainable. Prevalence, detection, management, and control of hypertension were assessed in 1013 men (n=385) and women (n=628), both aged 55 [SD 11] years, living in 12 villages in Ashanti, Ghana. Five hundred thirty two lived in semi-urban and 481 in rural villages. The participants underwent measurements of height, weight, and blood pressure (BP) and answered a detailed questionnaire. Hypertension was defined as BP ≥140 and/or ≥90 mm Hg or being on drug therapy. Women were heavier than men. Participants in semi-urban areas were heavier and had higher BP (129/76 [26/14] versus 121/72 [25/13] mm Hg; P<0.001 for both) than in rural areas. Prevalence of hypertension was 28.7% overall and comparable in men and women, but higher in semi-urban villages (32.9% [95% CI 28.9 to 37.1] versus 24.1% [20.4 to 28.2]), and increased with age. Detection rate was lower in men than women (13.9% versus 27.3%; P=0.007). Treatment and control rates were low in both groups (7.8% and 4.4% versus 13.6% and 1.7%). Detection, treatment, and control rates were higher in semi-urban (25.7%, 14.3%, and 3.4%) than in rural villages (16.4%, 6.9%, and 1.7%). Hypertension is common in adults in central Ghana, particularly in urban areas. Detection rates are suboptimal in both men and women, especially in rural areas. Adequate treatment of high BP is at a very low level. There is an urgent need for preventive strategies on hypertension control in Ghana.
- Received November 17, 2003.
- Revision received December 15, 2003.
- Accepted February 27, 2004.