Blood Pressure Profile and Hypertension in Adolescents in Port Harcourt, Southern Nigeria
Background: Childhood hypertension is a precursor of hypertension in adults with associated increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Therefore, early detection in these young ones would help in reducing the burden of hypertension in future. This study was undertaken to determine the blood pressure profile, prevalence of hypertension in apparently healthy secondary school children in Port Harcourt and the relationship between body mass index and hypertension.
Materials and Methods: A cross sectional study of 1,056 adolescents, aged 10-18 years, selected from 8 secondary schools in Port Harcourt was conducted using a multi-stage stratified sampling technique. Blood pressure measurements were taken by auscultatory method. An average of three readings was taken as the actual blood pressure. Hypertension was defined as systolic and/or diastolic blood pressures greater than or equal to 2 standard deviation above the mean blood pressure for age and sex.
Results: Systolic and diastolic blood pressure increased with age. The mean systolic blood pressure of males and females were 106.67 ± 15.54 mmHg and 109.30 ± 15.19 mmHg respectively, whilst the mean diastolic blood pressure was 66.90 ± 11.05 mmHg and 66.87 ± 11.47 mmHg respectively. Hypertension was seen in 43(4.1%) subjects. This was higher in males (4.2%) than in females (3.9%). This gender difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.802). The proportional prevalence of hypertension was higher in subjects aged 14 years, (9.2%) though not significant (p = 0.013). Prevalence of hypertension was significantly higher in obese subjects (p = 0.000).
Conclusion: The prevalence of hypertension in adolescents in Port Harcourt is high, and is significantly associated with obesity. We recommend blood pressure measurement as part of the School Health Programme in secondary schools.
Keywords: Blood pressure, Hypertension, Adolescents, Nigeria.