Hypertension (HTN) is a significant and growing national and international public health problem that contributes to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. In Armenia, limited data exist on the prevalence of the high blood pressure (HBP) or HTN and associated risk factors. Past research often employs self-report data on blood pressure (BP) or objective measures of BP that do not follow current Joint National Committee-8 (JNC-8) guidelines. Further, little is known about the relationship between adherence to antihypertensive medication(s), knowledge and awareness of HTN, and current BP. The rapid socio-demographic and infrastructural changes occurring in Armenia create an urgent need for further scientifically rigorous research on HBP.
The purpose of this descriptive, cross-sectional dissertation study, guided by the Health Lifestyle Theory, was to examine the prevalence of HBP and selected risk factors associated with HBP in a convenience sample of Armenian men and women ages 21 and older, living in Armenia. The risk factors included: demographic, physiologic, health lifestyle behaviors, socioeconomic and inherited. The study also examined knowledge, awareness, and attitudes/perceptions related to HBP by awareness, treatment and control categories. The Morisky Medication Adherence Scale-8 was used to measure adherence.
Participants (n = 200) were predominantly middle-aged, married females, with a high school education or higher. Blood pressure was measured following JNC-8 guidelines at a single time point in a community setting.
Over half of the adults of the sample were found to be prehypertensive or hypertensive. For those diagnosed with HTN, adherence to prescribed antihypertensive medication(s) was low. The correlation between adherence and awareness scores was not significant. A significant association was found between HBP and waist-hip ratio, age, body mass index, total cholesterol, low high density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high low density lipoprotein cholesterol as reported in past research. Waist circumference was the strongest predictor of HBP, followed by personal history of HBP, high total cholesterol level, being male, and older age. Findings of this study have several implications for clinical practice. A similar larger study with a national representative sample needs to be conducted in Armenia to determine the prevalence and correlates of HBP.