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A profile of hypertension among rural elderly Malaysians.

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University Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


The main objective of this study was to survey the prevalence of hypertension in Malaysians aged 55 years and above who responded to a public health screening campaign in Kuala Langat district, Selangor, Malaysia. The relationship between the detection, treatment and control in the study population was also examined. An epidemiological survey of the elderly was conducted in Kuala Langat, a rural district in Malaysia for a consecutive period of six weeks. The survey was conducted using a standardized questionnaire and interview by trained research assistants. The medical students and nurses were trained on the correct protocol of measuring blood pressure based on the recommendations of the British Hypertension Society. Newly detected persons with blood pressure readings 160/95 mmHg and above, were given a green card to return to the nearest health center for a further 2 visits to check his/her blood pressure. A total of 1,392 people with a mean age of 65 years and comprising of 53.1% males and 46.9% females responded to the health survey. Based on the history 335 (24.1%) of the respondents were known hypertensives and 82.1% of this hypertensive group were on regular treatment. However good control of hypertension was achieved only in 161 (48.1%) of them. Newly detected hypertension was found in 204 (14.6%) of the respondents. The overall prevalence of hypertension in our sample of respondents was 25.6%. There was no significant difference between the sexes and the races in terms of their detection, treatment and control. However there was a significant difference between the persons aged less than 65 years of age and those older than 65 years. There was a large proportion of previously known hypertensives among the survey population. Of those detected, not all were on regular medications and the majority on medications were not well controlled. Education of the public through intensive public health campaigns is vital to improve their knowledge on hypertension and the need for effective control. More community studies are needed to formulate better methods in the detection, treatment and control of hypertension.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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