Prevalence, awareness, treatment and control of hypertension in an elderly community-based sample in Kerala, India

M. C. Kalavathy, K. R. Thankappan, P. Sankara Sarma, R. S. Vasan

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40 Scopus citations


Background. Hypertension is one of the most important causes of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in the elderly. With the increase in the number of elderly in India, hypertension is likely to emerge as an important public health problem. Methods. We performed a cross-sectional survey of a random sample of 357 community-dwelling elderly individuals (191 women, 166 men; mean age 70 years) in Kerala. We measured blood pressure on all study participants using a standardized technique to assess the prevalence of hypertension. We compared the variations in prevalence, awareness, treatment and control of hypertension according to age, sex and place of residence of the subjects, and examined the socio-demographic correlates of hypertension using sex-specific multiple logistic regression. Results. The overall prevalence of hypertension in our sample was 51.8% (95% Cl: 46.8%-56.8%), which did not vary with sex but increased with age. Fewer than half of the hypertensive subjects were aware of their condition or were on treatment, and only a quarter of the treated hypertensives achieved adequate control of blood pressure. Rural elderly subjects were especially less likely to be aware of, and on treatment for hypertension. Smoking status and rural residence (in men) and marital status (in women) were important correlates of hypertension. Conclusions. Our findings emphasize the public health importance of hypertension in the elderly In Kerala at present, and point to a likely increase in burden of this problem in India In the near future. A National Hypertension Programme, targeted to meet the imminent public health challenge posed by hypertension seems warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
JournalNational Medical Journal of India
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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