African Journal of Rheumatology

OGOLA EN, Ahmed AH, JOSHI MD, Amayo EO, NJERU E. "African Journal of Rheumatology." Journal of Hypertension. 2012.


Background: Hypertension, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease is rapidly attaining epidemic portions in Africa and is strongly associated with urbanisation. We studied a population of Kenyans of Somali ethnicity; traditionally a semi nomadic pastoralist community but who have settled in local urban centres and thereby subject to lifestyle influences of urbanisation. This represents a unique position in the epidemiological transition.

Methods: A cross-sectional community survey carried out in Garissa town, the administrative centre for North Eastern Province, with a population of 196,062. Utilising cluster sampling 2200 adults were recruited. WHO STEPS questionnaire was followed by measurement of BP; height and weight for BMI; waist and hip circumference. Non fasting blood specimens were taken for random blood sugar and total cholesterol.

Results: Data for 1823 subjects, 702 males, 1121 females were complete and analysed. Mean age was 38.5 (range 18-96 years), 82% less than 50 years. Hypertension prevalence was 12.6% (95% CI 11.1-14.2%) and increased with age reaching 38.5 % in over 65years; with a 61% detection rate. Concurrent risk factors were: diabetes 3.7% (2.9-4.7); Overweight 23.9% (21.9-25.9%), Obesity 12.6% (11.2-14.3%), Abdominal obesity (WHR)20.4% (18.5-22.3%), Smoking 5.2% (4.4-6.5%) and hypercholesterolemia 16.9%(11.0-24.3%). Male sex, increasing age, diabetes and over weight were independently associated with hypertension.

Discussion: Despite the young age, this unique and previously unstudied urban & semi-urban population has a high prevalence of hypertension and cardiovascular risk factors showing evidence of epidemiological transition to NCDs. There is opportunity for primary prevention.


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