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Prevalence of prehypertension and its relationship to risk factors for cardiovascular disease in Jamaica: Analysis from a cross-sectional survey

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      BackgroundRecent studies have documented an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in persons with systolic blood pressures of 120–139 mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressures of 80–89 mmHg, classified as prehypertension in the Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. In this paper we estimate the prevalence of prehypertension in Jamaica and evaluate the relationship between prehypertension and other risk factors for CVD.MethodsThe study used data from participants in the Jamaica Lifestyle Survey conducted from 2000–2001. A sample of 2012 persons, 15–74 years old, completed an interviewer administered questionnaire and had anthropometric and blood pressure measurements performed by trained observers using standardized procedures. Fasting glucose and total cholesterol were measured using a capillary blood sample. Analysis yielded crude, and sex-specific prevalence estimates for prehypertension and other CVD risk factors. Odds ratios for associations of prehypertension with CVD risk factors were obtained using logistic regression.ResultsThe prevalence of prehypertension among Jamaicans was 30% (95% confidence interval [CI] 27%–33%). Prehypertension was more common in males, 35% (CI 31%–39%), than females, 25% (CI 22%–28%). Almost 46% of participants were overweight; 19.7% were obese; 14.6% had hypercholesterolemia; 7.2% had diabetes mellitus and 17.8% smoked cigarettes. With the exception of cigarette smoking and low physical activity, all the CVD risk factors had significantly higher prevalence in the prehypertensive and hypertensive groups (p for trend < 0.001) compared to the normotensive group. Odds of obesity, overweight, high cholesterol and increased waist circumference were significantly higher among younger prehypertensive participants (15–44 years-old) when compared to normotensive young participants, but not among those 45–74 years-old. Among men, being prehypertensive increased the odds of having >/=3 CVD risk factors versus no risk factors almost three-fold (odds ratio [OR] 2.8 [CI 1.1–7.2]) while among women the odds of >/=3 CVD risk factors was increased two-fold (OR 2.0 [CI 1.3–3.8])ConclusionPrehypertension occurs in 30% of Jamaicans and is associated with increased prevalence of other CVD risk factors. Health-care providers should recognize the increased CVD risk of prehypertension and should seek to identify and treat modifiable risk factors in these persons.

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      Most cited references 37

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      The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure: the JNC 7 report.

      "The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure" provides a new guideline for hypertension prevention and management. The following are the key messages(1) In persons older than 50 years, systolic blood pressure (BP) of more than 140 mm Hg is a much more important cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factor than diastolic BP; (2) The risk of CVD, beginning at 115/75 mm Hg, doubles with each increment of 20/10 mm Hg; individuals who are normotensive at 55 years of age have a 90% lifetime risk for developing hypertension; (3) Individuals with a systolic BP of 120 to 139 mm Hg or a diastolic BP of 80 to 89 mm Hg should be considered as prehypertensive and require health-promoting lifestyle modifications to prevent CVD; (4) Thiazide-type diuretics should be used in drug treatment for most patients with uncomplicated hypertension, either alone or combined with drugs from other classes. Certain high-risk conditions are compelling indications for the initial use of other antihypertensive drug classes (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin-receptor blockers, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers); (5) Most patients with hypertension will require 2 or more antihypertensive medications to achieve goal BP (<140/90 mm Hg, or <130/80 mm Hg for patients with diabetes or chronic kidney disease); (6) If BP is more than 20/10 mm Hg above goal BP, consideration should be given to initiating therapy with 2 agents, 1 of which usually should be a thiazide-type diuretic; and (7) The most effective therapy prescribed by the most careful clinician will control hypertension only if patients are motivated. Motivation improves when patients have positive experiences with and trust in the clinician. Empathy builds trust and is a potent motivator. Finally, in presenting these guidelines, the committee recognizes that the responsible physician's judgment remains paramount.
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        Age-specific relevance of usual blood pressure to vascular mortality: a meta-analysis of individual data for one million adults in 61 prospective studies.

        The age-specific relevance of blood pressure to cause-specific mortality is best assessed by collaborative meta-analysis of individual participant data from the separate prospective studies. Information was obtained on each of one million adults with no previous vascular disease recorded at baseline in 61 prospective observational studies of blood pressure and mortality. During 12.7 million person-years at risk, there were about 56000 vascular deaths (12000 stroke, 34000 ischaemic heart disease [IHD], 10000 other vascular) and 66000 other deaths at ages 40-89 years. Meta-analyses, involving "time-dependent" correction for regression dilution, related mortality during each decade of age at death to the estimated usual blood pressure at the start of that decade. Within each decade of age at death, the proportional difference in the risk of vascular death associated with a given absolute difference in usual blood pressure is about the same down to at least 115 mm Hg usual systolic blood pressure (SBP) and 75 mm Hg usual diastolic blood pressure (DBP), below which there is little evidence. At ages 40-69 years, each difference of 20 mm Hg usual SBP (or, approximately equivalently, 10 mm Hg usual DBP) is associated with more than a twofold difference in the stroke death rate, and with twofold differences in the death rates from IHD and from other vascular causes. All of these proportional differences in vascular mortality are about half as extreme at ages 80-89 years as at ages 40-49 years, but the annual absolute differences in risk are greater in old age. The age-specific associations are similar for men and women, and for cerebral haemorrhage and cerebral ischaemia. For predicting vascular mortality from a single blood pressure measurement, the average of SBP and DBP is slightly more informative than either alone, and pulse pressure is much less informative. Throughout middle and old age, usual blood pressure is strongly and directly related to vascular (and overall) mortality, without any evidence of a threshold down to at least 115/75 mm Hg.
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          Physical status: the use and interpretation of anthropometry. Report of a WHO Expert Committee.

          Anthropometry provides the single most portable, universally applicable, inexpensive and non-invasive technique for assessing the size, proportions, and composition of the human body. It reflects both health and nutritional status and predicts performance, health, and survival. As such, it is a valuable, but currently underused, tool for guiding public health policy and clinical decisions. This report presents the conclusions and comprehensive recommendations of a WHO Expert Committee for the present and future uses and interpretation of anthropometry. In a section that sets the technical framework for the report, the significance of anthropometric indicators and indices is explained and the principles of applied biostatistics and epidemiology that underlie their various uses are discussed. Subsequent sections provide detailed guidance on the use and interpretation of anthropometric measurements in pregnant and lactating women, newborn infants, infants and children, adolescents, overweight and thin adults, and adults aged 60 years and over. With a similar format for each section, the report assesses specific applications of anthropometry in individuals and populations for purposes of screening and for targeting and evaluating interventions. Advice on data management and analysis is offered, and methods of taking particular measurements are described. Each section also includes a discussion of the extent, reliability and universal relevance of existing reference data. An extensive series of reference data recommended by the Expert Committee and not widely distributed by WHO hitherto is included in an annex.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]Tropical Medicine Research Institute, University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston 7, Jamaica
            [2 ]Ministry of Health, Jamaica
            BMC Cardiovasc Disord
            BMC Cardiovascular Disorders
            BioMed Central
            28 August 2008
            : 8
            : 20
            Copyright © 2008 Ferguson et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

            Research Article

            Cardiovascular Medicine


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