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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension among Arab Americans.

  • Author(s): Tailakh, Ayman
  • Mentes, Janet C
  • Morisky, Donald E
  • Pike, Nancy A
  • Phillips, Linda R
  • Evangelista, Lorraine S
  • et al.

Hypertension (HTN) is a major risk factor for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States. Hypertension detection and blood pressure (BP) control are critically important for reducing the risk of myocardial infarction and strokes. Although there are more than 3.5 million Arab Americans in the United States, there are no national or regional data on HTN prevalence among Arab Americans.This study aims to estimate the prevalence of HTN in a community sample of Arab Americans; assess levels of awareness, treatment, and control in hypertensive patients; and describe and compare lifestyle behaviors (eg, physical activity, nutrition, and weight control).In this cross-sectional, descriptive study, 126 participants completed a self-administered questionnaire to measure physical activity, nutrition, and medical history. Height and weight were measured. Three BP measurements were obtained at 60-second intervals after resting for 5 minutes. Hypertension was defined as a mean systolic BP of 140 mm Hg or higher, or a diastolic BP 90 mm Hg or higher, and/or taking antihypertensive medications.Overall, 36.5% of participants had HTN and 39.7% had pre-HTN. Among hypertensive participants, only 67.4% were aware of their high BP, and 52.2% were taking antihypertensive medication. Among those taking medication, 46% had controlled BP. The prevalence of HTN was higher in men than in women (45.9% and 23.2%, respectively; P = .029) and increased with age (P = .01). Hypertensive participants also had higher body mass index (mean, 31.55 kg/m) compared with normotensive participants (mean, 28.37 kg/m; P = .01).Our results indicate that HTN and pre-HTN are highly prevalent in Arab Americans. Hypertension awareness and control rates were inadequate and low compared with national data. These results emphasize the urgent need to develop public health strategies to improve the prevention, detection, and treatment of HTN among Arab Americans.

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