Background: There is considerable variation in hypertension prevalence and awareness, and their correlates, across different geographic locations and ethnic groups. We performed this cross-sectional analysis on data from the Golestan Cohort Study (GCS).
Methods: Enrollment in this study occurred in 2004-2008, and included 50,045 healthy individuals from Golestan Province in northeastern Iran. Hypertension was defined as a SBP at least 140 mmHg, a DBP at least 90 mmHg, a prior diagnosis of hypertension, or the use of antihypertensive drugs. Potential correlates of hypertension and its awareness were analyzed by logistic regression adjusted for sex, age, BMI, place of residence, literacy, ethnicity, physical activity, smoking, black and green tea consumption and wealth score.
Results: Of the total cohort participants, 21,350 (42.7%) were hypertensive. Age-standardized prevalence of hypertension, using the 2001 WHO standard world population, was 41.8% (95% confidence interval: 38.3-45.2%). Hypertension was directly associated with female sex, increased BMI, Turkmen ethnicity, and lack of physical activity, and inversely associated with drinking black tea and wealth score. Among hypertensive patients, 46.2% were aware of their disease, 17.6% were receiving antihypertensive medication, and 32.1% of the treated patients had controlled hypertension. Hypertension awareness was greater among women, the elderly, overweight and obese patients, and those with a higher wealth score.
Conclusion: Hypertension is highly prevalent in rural Iran, many of the affected individuals are unaware of their disease, and the rate of control by antihypertensive medications is low. Increasing hypertension awareness and access to health services, especially among less privileged residents are recommended.