2022 Volume 19, Issue 1, e1003855
Hypertension is the most important cardiovascular risk factor in India, and representative studies of middle-aged and older Indian adults have been lacking. Our objectives were to estimate the proportions of hypertensive adults who had been diagnosed, took antihypertensive medication, and achieved control in the middle-aged and older Indian population and to investigate the association between access to healthcare and hypertension management.
<jats:title>Methods and findings</jats:title>
We designed a nationally representative cohort study of the middle-aged and older Indian population, the Longitudinal Aging Study in India (LASI), and analyzed data from the 2017–2019 baseline wave (<jats:italic>N =</jats:italic> 72,262) and the 2010 pilot wave (<jats:italic>N =</jats:italic> 1,683). Hypertension was defined as self-reported physician diagnosis or elevated blood pressure (BP) on measurement, defined as systolic BP ≥ 140 mm Hg or diastolic BP ≥ 90 mm Hg. Among hypertensive individuals, awareness, treatment, and control were defined based on self-reports of having been diagnosed, taking antihypertensive medication, and not having elevated BP, respectively. The estimated prevalence of hypertension for the Indian population aged 45 years and older was 45.9% (95% CI 45.4%–46.5%). Among hypertensive individuals, 55.7% (95% CI 54.9%–56.5%) had been diagnosed, 38.9% (95% CI 38.1%–39.6%) took antihypertensive medication, and 31.7% (95% CI 31.0%–32.4%) achieved BP control. In multivariable logistic regression models, access to public healthcare was a key predictor of hypertension treatment (odds ratio [OR] = 1.35, 95% CI 1.14–1.60, <jats:italic>p</jats:italic> = 0.001), especially in the most economically disadvantaged group (OR of the interaction for middle economic status = 0.76, 95% CI 0.61–0.94, <jats:italic>p</jats:italic> = 0.013; OR of the interaction for high economic status = 0.84, 95% CI 0.68–1.05, <jats:italic>p =</jats:italic> 0.124). Having health insurance was not associated with improved hypertension awareness among those with low economic status (OR = 0.96, 95% CI 0.86–1.07, <jats:italic>p</jats:italic> = 0.437) and those with middle economic status (OR of the interaction = 1.15, 95% CI 1.00–1.33, <jats:italic>p</jats:italic> = 0.051), but it was among those with high economic status (OR of the interaction = 1.28, 95% CI 1.10–1.48, <jats:italic>p</jats:italic> = 0.001). Comparing hypertension awareness, treatment, and control rates in the 4 pilot states, we found statistically significant (<jats:italic>p <</jats:italic> 0.001) improvement in hypertension management from 2010 to 2017–2019. The limitations of this study include the pilot sample being relatively small and that it recruited from only 4 states.
Although considerable variations in hypertension diagnosis, treatment, and control exist across different sociodemographic groups and geographic areas, reducing uncontrolled hypertension remains a public health priority in India. Access to healthcare is closely tied to both hypertension diagnosis and treatment.
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