Prevalence, awareness, treatment and control of hypertension in a working Bulgarian population
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Arterial hypertension is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke mortality. Few data exist on prevalence, awareness, and management of hypertension in Bulgaria, precluding development of potentially beneficial risk reduction initiatives. Between September 1996 and July 1997, an age-sex stratified sample of 847 male and 771 female employees (age 18–64 y) of the national transport industry resident in Sofia was recruited during their annual physical examination. A structured interview was conducted and resting blood pressure (BP) measured. Prevalence: Elevated BP (mean of two consecutive readings SBP ≥ 140 mmHg and/or DBP ≥ 90 mmHg) was observed among 24% of women and 58% of men (p < 0.001). Prevalence increased with age in both men and women. Awareness: Among 722 employees with elevated BP, 49% of women and 33% of men (p < 0.001) reported history of hypertension. Awareness increased with age. Management: Among 345 employees with history of hypertension, 37% of women and 36% of men (p > 0.05) reported taking antihypertensive treatment. The proportion under management increased with age. Control: Normal BP was measured in only 6% of men and 7% of women taking antihypertensive medication (p > 0.05; no consistent trends by age). Elevated BP is widespread and hypertension is underdiagnosed and poorly controlled in this urban working-age Bulgarian population, especially among those under 40 y. This may contribute to the high rates of coronary heart disease and stroke incidence and mortality in Bulgaria.
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