The Effect of Age and Gender on the Prevalence and Severity of Hypertension in Rural Western Kenya
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In order to effectively lessen the drastically increasing morbidity of hypertension in sub-Saharan Africa, new prevalences must be calculated and the causes and aggravating factors of this disease must be more completely understood in this region. The literature repeatedly states how prevalence tends to be underestimated in this area of the world due to lack of blood pressure measurements and the highlighted focus on infectious diseases. Many studies have presented different, solid evidence on potential causes behind hypertension including the common ones of BMI, age, diet, and level of physical activity. The usual sample sizes have focused on older groups. The literature lacks concrete data concerning the nature of high blood pressure in younger groups. This cross-sectional study analyzes previously collected clinical data from a sample population of 685 patients who attended a clinic in May 2010 in rural western Kenya within the Nyando District. Data trends are inferred from blood pressure measurements, anthropometric measurements, blood samples, and the patient’s self-report of symptoms. After creating the cut-off age of 18 years, the study’s sample size reduced to 321 patients. For those between the ages of 18 and 44, the prevalence of high systolic blood pressure is 19.42%. For those equal to or over the age of 45, the prevalence of high systolic blood pressure is 53.50%. The prevalence of high blood pressure in males is 43.59% and the prevalence in females is 35.48%. BMI is found to be a statistically significant predictor of the severity and presence of high blood pressure only in the young group and the female group. These results show that hypertension is a silent, severe, proliferating problem in the rural area. The pathophysiology behind high blood pressure is typical in the female group, but there is clearly a different physiological process creating hypertension in those who are young and those who are thin.