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Prehypertension in Jamaica: A Review of Data from Recent Studies

Prehypertension is defined as a systolic blood pressure of 120−139 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure of 80−89 mmHg in patients not on medication for hypertension. Recent studies have shown that prehypertension has a high prevalence in both western and eastern countries and is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, incident CVD and CVD mortality. We reviewed data from ongoing epidemiological studies in Jamaica in order to provide an update on the prevalence and predictors of prehypertension in Jamaica. Studies included were the Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Surveys (2000−2001 and 2007−2008), the Jamaica Youth Risk and Resiliency Behaviour Survey 2006, the 1986 Jamaica Birth Cohort Study and the Spanish Town Cohort Study. The prevalence of prehypertension in the most recent national survey was 35% (95% CI 33, 38%). Prevalence was higher in men compared to women (42% versus 29%). Jamaicans with prehypertension were more likely to have other CVD risk factors and were three times more likely to develop hypertension compared with persons with a normal blood pressure. Prevalence was also high among youth, particularly males. Longitudinal analysis from the 1986 birth cohort suggested that prehypertnsion may be more common in persons with low birthweight or short birth length. Physicians and public health practitioners should recognize the increased CVD risk associated with prehypertension and should begin to institute CVD prevention measures in persons with prehypertension. Sex differences and the early onset of prehypertension in men require further exploration.
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e-Published: 03 Feb, 2014
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