oa Cardiovascular Journal of Africa - Prevalence of hypertension among the elderly coloured population of the Cape Peninsula

Volume 8, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1995-1892
  • E-ISSN: 1680-0745



A cross-sectional analytic study was conducted to determine the prevalence of hypertension and its associated risk factors in elderly coloured (Euro-Afro-Malay ancestry) South Africans. A random sample of 200 noninstitutionalised subjects aged greater than or equal to 65 years, resident in urban Cape Town, was drawn by means of a two-stage cluster design. The survey procedure included a dietary assessment by means of a quantified food frequency questionnaire method, anthropometric measurements and the drawing of blood for plasma lipid analyses. Blood pressure was determined according to the American Heart Association's recommendations. The prevalence of hypertension (systolic pressure 2:: 160 mmHg and/or diastolic greater than or equal to 95 mmHg) was 66.7% (95% CI: 57.3 - 76.1 %) for men and 76.5% (95% CI: 68.3 - 84.7%) for women. The prevalence of isolated systolic hypertension (greater than or equal to 160/< 95 mmHg) was 33.85'0 (95% CI: 18.2 - 30.2%). Over one-third of hypertensive subjects (37.3%) were previously undiagnosed. Only half of the hypertensives were being treated for the condition, and 72 % of these still had blood pressure levels 2 greater than or equal to 160/95 mmHg. No association was found between either systolic or diastolic pressure and plasma lipids, salt intake, or alcohol intake. The results of this study suggest an inadequate diagnosis and poor management of hypertension in the elderly coloured population. Improved medical care and preventive strategies in respect of the early diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of hypertension require special attention in this age group.

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