Hypertension prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control in Surinamese living in Suriname and The Netherlands: the HELISUR and HELIUS studies

Intern Emerg Med. 2020 Sep;15(6):1041-1049. doi: 10.1007/s11739-019-02269-z. Epub 2020 Jan 16.


We studied hypertension prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control among persons living in a middle-income country compared with those of similar ethnicity living in a high-income country. Data from the cross-sectional HELISUR and HELIUS studies were used among 1000 Surinamese and 6971 Surinamese migrants living in The Netherlands (18-70 years), respectively. Groups were formed based on country and self-defined ethnicity, and stratified by sex. Age-adjusted odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for hypertension prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control. Subsequently, we focused on hypertension prevalence and adjusted for risk factors for hypertension: BMI and waist circumference (model 2), educational level, physical activity, and smoking (model 3). After adjustment for age, no significant differences in hypertension prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control between countries were seen in men. However, women in Suriname were more often hypertensive with lower levels of awareness and control than those in The Netherlands (African: OR 1.54 [95% CI 1.19, 2.00]; South-Asian: 1.90 [1.35, 2.67]; awareness: 0.62 [0.43, 0.88] in African women; control: 0.48 [0.28, 0.84] in South-Asian women). Higher hypertension prevalence was explained by differences in BMI and waist circumference in African women (adjusted OR 1.26 [0.96, 1.65]) and by education, physical activity, and smoking in South-Asian women (adjusted OR 1.29 [0.87, 1.89]). Particularly, women in Suriname bear a relatively high hypertension burden with lower levels of awareness and control. As the higher hypertension prevalence was mainly explained by lifestyle-related risk factors, health promotion interventions may reduce the hypertension burden in Suriname.

Keywords: Awareness; Control; Ethnicity; Hypertension; Prevalence; Treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis*
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Hypertension / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Suriname / epidemiology
  • Suriname / ethnology