Importance: Hypertension is the most important preventable cause of morbidity and mortality globally, yet there are relatively few data collected using standardized methods.
Objective: To examine hypertension prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control in participants at baseline in the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study.
Design, setting, and participants: A cross-sectional study of 153,996 adults (complete data for this analysis on 142,042) aged 35 to 70 years, recruited between January 2003 and December 2009. Participants were from 628 communities in 3 high-income countries (HIC), 10 upper-middle-income and low-middle-income countries (UMIC and LMIC), and 4 low-income countries (LIC).
Main outcomes and measures: Hypertension was defined as individuals with self-reported treated hypertension or with an average of 2 blood pressure measurements of at least 140/90 mm Hg using an automated digital device. Awareness was based on self-reports, treatment was based on the regular use of blood pressure-lowering medications, and control was defined as individuals with blood pressure lower than 140/90 mm Hg.
Results: Among the 142,042 participants, 57,840 (40.8%; 95% CI, 40.5%-41.0%) had hypertension and 26,877 (46.5%; 95% CI, 46.1%-46.9%) were aware of the diagnosis. Of those who were aware of the diagnosis, the majority (23,510 [87.5%; 95% CI, 87.1%-87.9%] of those who were aware) were receiving pharmacological treatments, but only a minority of those receiving treatment were controlled (7634 [32.5%; 95% CI, 31.9%-33.1%]). Overall, 30.8%, 95% CI, 30.2%-31.4% of treated patients were taking 2 or more types of blood pressure-lowering medications. The percentages aware (49.0% [95% CI, 47.8%-50.3%] in HICs, 52.5% [95% CI, 51.8%-53.2%] in UMICs, 43.6% [95% CI, 42.9%-44.2%] in LMICs, and 40.8% [95% CI, 39.9%-41.8%] in LICs) and treated (46.7% [95% CI, 45.5%-47.9%] in HICs, 48.3%, [95% CI, 47.6%-49.1%] in UMICs, 36.9%, [95% CI, 36.3%-37.6%] in LMICs, and 31.7% [95% CI, 30.8%-32.6%] in LICs) were lower in LICs compared with all other countries for awareness (P <.001) and treatment (P <.001). Awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension were higher in urban communities compared with rural ones in LICs (urban vs rural, P <.001) and LMICs (urban vs rural, P <.001), but similar for other countries. Low education was associated with lower rates of awareness, treatment, and control in LICs, but not in other countries.
Conclusions and relevance: Among a multinational study population, 46.5% of participants with hypertension were aware of the diagnosis, with blood pressure control among 32.5% of those being treated. These findings suggest substantial room for improvement in hypertension diagnosis and treatment.