Prevalence, awareness and control of hypertension in Uganda

PLoS One. 2013 Apr 17;8(4):e62236. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062236. Print 2013.


Background: Prevention and control of hypertension are critical in reducing morbidity and mortality attributable to cardiovascular diseases. Awareness of hypertension is a pre-condition for control and prevention. This study estimated the proportion of adults who were hypertensive, were aware of their hypertension and those that achieved adequate control.

Methods: We conducted a community based cross sectional survey among people ≥ 15 years in Buikwe and Mukono districts of Uganda. People had their blood pressure measured and were interviewed about their social-demographic characteristics. Hypertension was defined as systolic blood pressure ≥ 140 mmHg, or diastolic blood pressure ≥ 90 mmHg, or previous diagnosis of hypertension. Participants were classified as hypertensive aware if they reported that they had previously been informed by a health professional that they had hypertension. Control of hypertension among those aware was if systolic blood pressure was <140 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure was <90 mmHg.

Results: The age standardized prevalence of hypertension was 27.2% (95% CI 25.9-28.5) similar among females (27.7%) and males (26.4%). Prevalence increased linearly with age, and age effect was more marked among females. Among the hypertensive participants, awareness was 28.2% (95% CI 25.4-31.0) higher among females (37.0%) compared to males (12.4%). Only 9.4% (95% CI 7.5-11.1) of all hypertensive participants were controlled. Control was higher among females (13.2%) compared to males (2.5%).

Conclusion: More than a quarter of the adult population had hypertension but awareness and control was very low. Measures are needed to enhance control, awareness and prevention of hypertension.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Hypertension / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Marital Status / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Uganda / epidemiology
  • Young Adult

Grant support

This work was supported by a grant from Makerere University Infectious Diseases Institute (TARGETS II). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.