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BMC Public Health. 2003 Jan 6;3:1. Epub 2003 Jan 6.

Hypertension in the Parsi community of Bombay: a study on prevalence, awareness and compliance to treatment.

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Department of Neuroepidemiology, Medical Research Center, Bombay Hospital, Mumbai-400020 India.



Uncontrolled hypertension (HT) is an established risk factor for the development of vascular diseases. Prevalence varies in different communities and no such study has been conducted in the Parsi community living in Bombay, India. The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence, awareness, compliance to medication and control of HT in this community.


We used a 1 in 4 random selection of subjects who were > or = 20 years of age. A questionnaire was administered and the blood pressure (BP) was measured by a doctor. HT was defined as diastolic blood pressure (DBP) > or = 90 mm Hg +/- systolic pressure (SBP) > or = 140 mm Hg. Isolated systolic hypertension (ISH) was defined as SBP > or = 160 mm Hg with DBP < 90 mm Hg. Subsequently, we reanalysed the data using current definition of ISH as SBP > or = 140 mm Hg with DBP < 90 mm Hg.


2879 subjects > or = 20 years of age were randomly selected of which 2415 (84%) participated in the study. The overall prevalence of HT in the community was 36.4%, of whom 48.5% were unaware of their hypertensive status. Of those aware of having HT, 36.4% were non-compliant with their anti-hypertensive drugs and only 13.6% had optimally controlled HT. Prevalence of ISH using the present criteria was 19.5% and 73% of hypertensives > or = 60 years had ISH.


This study shows that prevalence of HT in the Parsi community is high and nearly half are unaware of their hypertensive status. ISH is the dominant form of HT in the elderly. Compliance to treatment is poor and optimal BP control is achieved in only a small minority. The study highlights the need for regular screening coupled with educational programs to detect and optimally treat HT in the community.

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