Pan African Medical Journal

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The burden of hypertension and diabetes mellitus in rural communities in southern Nigeria

AR Isara, PO Okundia


Introduction: the African region of the world is experiencing a double  epidemic of both communicable and non-communicable diseases. The objective of the study was to determine the prevalence of hypertension and diabetes mellitus among adult residents of rural communities in southern Nigeria.

Methods: a community based descriptive cross-sectional study. Adults aged 18 years and above residing in the rural communities who attended a free medical outreach programme were screened for  hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Data were collected using a structured interviewer-administered questionnaire.

Results: of the 845 participants, 349 (41.3%) were aged 50-69 years, 263 (31.1%) were males, and 305 (36.1%) were farmers. Overweight and obesity were found in 184 (21.8%) and 90 (10.6%) of them respectively. The overall prevalence of hypertension was 37.6% (males 43.7%, females 35.1%, p = 0.018) while that of diabetes mellitus was 4.6% (males 1.9%, females 5.8%, p = 0.012). Predictors of hypertension were age @ 40 years (OR = 5.04, CI: 2.99 - 8.48), overweight/obesity (OR = 1.56, CI: 1.15 - 2.13) while females are less likely to develop hypertension (OR = 0.72, CI: 0.53 - 0.98). The significant predictor of diabetes mellitus was overweight/obesity (OR = 3.53, CI: 1.78 - 6.98).

Conclusion: the rising prevalence of hypertension and diabetes mellitus is assuming an epidemic level in rural communities in southern Nigeria. There is an urgent need for intensive health education and community  surveillance programmes targeted at rural communities in order to achieve prevention and control of these non-communicable diseases in Nigeria.
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