Background: Hypertension (HTN) is a growing public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and SSA migrants in Europe. Elevated levels of inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP) have been linked to HTN but the relationship of CRP and HTN among SSA populations has not been studied. To address this knowledge gap, we studied the association between CRP and HTN in migrant and nonmigrant SSA populations residing in different settings.
Methods: Cross-sectional data from the multicentre Research on Obesity and Diabetes among African Migrants (RODAM) study were analysed including 5683 Ghanaians aged at least 18 years, residing in rural and urban Ghana, and Europe. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to assess the association between high levels of CRP (≥3 mg/l) and HTN (SBP ≥140 mmHg and/or DBP ≥90 mmHg and/or use of antihypertensive medication) per geographical site and sex.
Results: The association between CRP levels and HTN varied by sex and geographical location. In age-adjusted models, there was an association between high CRP levels and HTN in urban-Ghanaian women (odds ratio 1.50, 95% confidence interval 1.10-2.03), and European-Ghanaian men (1.68, 1.16-2.43) and women (1.63, 1.28-2.07). However, these associations were attenuated after adjustment for conventional risk factors, especially BMI. No association was found in rural-Ghanaians or urban-Ghanaian men.
Conclusion: Our findings show an association between CRP and HTN among Ghanaian migrants and urban-Ghanaian women, however, this was largely explained by conventional risk factors. Thus, prevention of conventional risk factors, in particular obesity, may help to reduce the potentially low-grade inflammatory mechanism underlying HTN.
Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.