Blood Pressure Pattern Among Young People In South-Eastern Nigeria: A Cross-Sectional Survey
Context: Apparently healthy young people are frequently regarded as free from such chronic diseases as hypertension, but reports from many parts of the world show that both hypertension and prehypertension are prevalent among young people.
Objective: The objective of this study was to examine the pattern of blood pressure among apparently healthy young people in Abakaliki.
Methods: Cross-sectional survey of 215 subjects aged between 15 and 24 years, screened and analysed for systolic and diastolic hypertension as well as systolic and diastolic prehypertension. Reference intervals were also derived from the mean and Standard Deviation values.
Result: There is a highly significant sex difference (p=0.000) in the mean Systolic Blood Pressure (114.71±13.46mmHg for males versus 108.56±9.99mmHg for females). The prevalence of systolic hypertension was 3.3% as against 2.3% for the diastolic hypertension (using the WHO/ISH guidelines for the classification of hypertension). With the Reference Interval derived from the study the prevalence of systolic
hypertension was also 3.3% while the diastolic hypertension was 4.3%. The prevalence of systolic prehypertension was 28.8%, as against 16.3% for the diastolic prehypertension.
Conclusion: The high prevalence of systolic and diastolic prehypertension is of clinical significance because virtually all these will eventually progress to frank hypertension on follow-up. Being diagnosed early implies that early intervention with lifestyle modification will eventually reduce the prevalence of hypertension in the adults. In view of limited resources in developing countries, this will provide a more cost effective approach to
the control of hypertension in the community than the treatment of established hypertension in adult life.
Key Words: Blood pressure, pattern; Prehypertension; Hypertension; Young people.