Low levels of awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension in Andean communities of Ecuador
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The major burden of hypertension (HTN) occurs in low-middle-income countries (LMIC) and it is the main modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Few population studies on HTN prevalence have been carried out in Ecuador where there is limited information regarding its prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control. Thus, the aim of the present study was to determine the prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control of HTN and its association with socio-economic, nutritional, and lifestyle habits in urban and rural Andean communities of Pichincha province in Ecuador. The authors studied 2020 individuals aged 35-70 years (mean age 50.8 years, 72% women), included in the Ecuadorian cohort of the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study, from February to December 2018. The hypertension prevalence (>140/90 mmHg) was 27% and was greater in urban than in rural communities, more common in men, in individuals older than 50 years of age, in people with low monthly income and low level of education. Higher prevalence was also observed in subjects with obesity, and among former smokers and those who consumed alcohol. Only 49% of those with HTN were aware of their condition, 40% were using antihypertensive medications, and 19% had their blood pressure under control (<140/90 mmHg). These results showed low levels of awareness, treatment, and control of HTN in the Andean region of Ecuador, suggesting the urgent necessity of implementing programs to improve the diagnosis and management of HTN.
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