Casual blood pressure among Tanzanian undergraduate students: need for re-defining population specific operational threshold between normotension and hypertension
Background: Despite of the recommendations to use population specific blood pressure (BP) references which consider time, ethnicity and environmental factors, there is limited information regarding BP profile among Tanzanians. This cross sectional study was done to determine casual BP profile among healthy volunteer students of the Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences in Mwanza, Tanzania.
Methods: Socio-demographic and lifestyle data were collected using questionnaires. Systolic BP (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP) were measured using aneroid sphygmomanometer.
Results: A total of 299 students (males=204; females=95) were involved in the study. Their mean age was 23.4 ± 0.2 years. SBP ranged from 82-150mmHg (mean= 115.7 ± 0.7mmHg) and DBP ranged from 44–100mmHg (mean= 71.9±0.6mmHg). Mean arterial pressure (MAP) was 86.5±0.5mmHg. Males had significantly higher BP than females; and BP was noticed to increase with increased age and body weight. Upper limits of the normal SBP and DBP calculated as mean + 2SDs and 95th percentiles were 140.5mmHg and 138mmHg, respectively and for DBP were 91.8 mmHg and 90 mmHg, respectively.
Conclusion: The observed upper limits of the distribution of normal BP for the age of the participants are higher than the World Health Organization recommended values. We recommend a larger study to determine BP among healthy Tanzanians to establish the normal values.