Which people are most affected by Hypertension? A new study claimed that hypertension is a prevalent condition among the least educated and poorest people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the researchers noted that investment in interventions toward reducing hypertension rates and risk in these regions is lacking compared to other global health issues like HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.
Hypertension is estimated to be the leading cause of death in LMICs. There was a misconception that hypertension mainly affected wealthier individuals in those countries. They looked at hypertension rates across levels of socioeconomic status to determine the association of educational attainment and household wealth with the issue. They studied how the relationship between socioeconomic status and hypertension differs between regions and how socioeconomic gradients of hypertension within countries are associated with level of economic development.
“Achieving equity in health requires an understanding of which health conditions are most prevalent among the most socioeconomically disadvantaged segments of society,” said Pascal Geldsetzer, ScD, senior author of the study. The researcher said that it was important for hypertension as those with low socioeconomic status are generally least able to access high-quality health care for strokes and heart attacks and are typically most dependent on their full health to earn a living.
Pascal Geldsetzer is assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Primary Care and Population Health at Stanford Universityin Stanford, California.
They analysed more than 1.2 million people in 76 LMICs, which were categorized into six regions according to the World Health Organization’s regional groupings. Africa, Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, the Americas, Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific are the regional groupings. The median age was 40 years old and 58.5% were female.
They found that the differences in hyper tension prevalence between groups divided according to education level and household wealth were small in most countries.
“Policymakers who are concerned with improving health among the most disadvantaged groups may want to invest in improving hypertension prevention and control among these groups,” Geldsetzer said. “This appears particularly justified given that we have found in previous research that adults with the least education and household wealth are least likely to be on treatment for their hypertension and ultimately achieve control of their blood pressure.”