HealthDay News — Differences in hypertension prevalence between socioeconomic groups are generally small in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), according to a study published in the Aug. 23 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Tabea K. Kirschbaum, from the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and colleagues examined how hypertension prevalence in LMICs varies by individuals’ education and household wealth and how these socioeconomic gradients in hypertension prevalence are associated with a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. The analysis included pooled nationally representative household survey data from 76 LMICs (1.21 million participants).
The researchers found that hypertension prevalence tended to be similar between education groups and household wealth quintiles. A clear positive association between hypertension and education or household wealth quintile was only seen in the Southeast Asia region. On average, countries with a lower GDP per capita had a more positive association between hypertension with education and household wealth quintile versus countries with a higher GDP per capita. This was especially true in rural areas and among men.
“Policymakers who are concerned with improving health among the most disadvantaged groups may want to invest in improving hypertension prevention and control among these groups,” a coauthor said in a statement. “This appears particularly justified given that we have found in previous research that adults with the least education and household wealth are least likely to be on treatment for their hypertension and ultimately achieve control of their blood pressure.”