Background: In recent years, developing countries like Bangladesh are facing a higher burden of non-communicable diseases such as hypertension as a result of demographic transition. Prevalence of hypertension is often studied in this setting. However, evidence on undiagnosed hypertension is not widely available in the existing literature. Therefore, the current study focuses on inequalities in the prevalence of undiagnosed hypertension in Bangladesh.
Methods: A total of 8835 participants aged 35+ years were included in this study using nationally representative Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2011 (BDHS). In the survey, systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) of these participants were measured three times with approximately 10 minutes of an interval between each measurement. Any respondent with either SBP ≥ 140 mmHg or DBP ≥ 90 mmHg was considered as patient with hypertension as per the guidelines from American Heart Association. Among the participants, undiagnosed hypertension was defined as having SBP > =140 mmHg or DBP > =90 mmHg and never taking prescribed medicine or being told by health professionals to lower/control blood pressure. Multiple logistic regression analysis was applied for identifying factors associated with undiagnosed hypertension. Further, socioeconomic inequalities in the prevalence of undiagnosed hypertension were estimated using Concentration Index (C).
Results: We found 978 (59.9% of the total) were undiagnosed among 1685 hypertensive patients studied. Regression analysis showed individuals with being underweight, having poor socioeconomic conditions, and lower educational qualifications were more likely to have undiagnosed hypertension. A similar association between undiagnosed hypertension and socioeconomic quintiles was observed using concentration index (C = - 0.07). On the other hand, individuals from higher age group (50-64 or above), female sex, and Sylhet region were at lower risk of undiagnosed hypertension.
Conclusions: This study showed that a large proportion of the cases with hypertension are remained undiagnosed in Bangladesh, especially among the poor and low educated population. Screening and awareness building initiatives on hypertension should be taken for this group of population to reduce the burden of undiagnosed hypertension.
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- Concentration index
- Non-communicable disease
- Undiagnosed hypertension