Abstract: Background & objectives:
Hypertension is a disorder that has no apparent symptoms but later results in serious health problems can pose great threat to the health of people. Hypertension is a global public health problem. Even though it can be controlled by early diagnosis, lifestyle modifications and adequate treatment; many remain unaware of their hypertension, especially in rural areas where not many studies have been done. Thus, a study was done in rural area, with primary objective to determine the prevalence, and risk factors of hypertension. The secondary objective was to understand the treatment seeking behaviour of known hypertensive cases among adults in rural areas.
Methods: A cross-sectional community-based study was conducted from July 2017 to September 2018 among adults above 25 years of age in the rural areas of Palakkad, Kerala, India. The blood pressures (BPs) of 278 adults were recorded at their homes. A detailed history was obtained by interviewing study participants using a pretested and semi-structured questionnaire. Clinical examination was done, BP, height and weight were recorded. Data was entered in Microsoft Excel and analysed using (SPSS) statistical software version 16.0.
Results: Out of 278 participants in this study, 191 (68.7%) were women and 87 (32.3%) were men. The prevalence of hypertension was 54%, of which 80 (53.33%) were previously diagnosed hypertensive cases and 70 (46.66%) were newly diagnosed hypertensive cases. Among the 80 previously diagnosed cases 67 (85.9%) were on regular medication, 11 (14.1%) did not adhere to medication schedule and 2 (2.5%) were prescribed any antihypertensive medication. In univariant analysis, the significant risk factors for hypertension were found to be age, diet, cigarette smoking, diabetes and family history of hypertension.
Conclusion: This means that Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) control programme should focus on early screening, correct treatment and control of hypertension in rural areas along with education on lifestyle changes, diet modifications, counselling on adherence to antihypertensive medications, frequent blood pressure check-ups for individuals with prehypertension.