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Arch Mal Coeur Vaiss. 2006 Jul-Aug;99(7-8):674-8.

[Access to care: not enough to completely abolish the disparity in hypertension management at the socio-economic level].

[Article in French]

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Centre hospitalier de la Basse-Terre, Gaudeloupe (FWI).


Higher prevalence and poorer control of hypertension have been observed in populations with low socioeconomic status. The causal link between socioeconomic factors and hypertension is complex. What is the impact of medical services compared with other health status determinants? We aimed to assess blood pressure prevalence and control in an unemployed disadvantaged population receiving state financial support and with easy access to health care. This was a cross-sectional study of 2420 consecutive subjects in Guadeloupe, a French Caribbean island, who were referred for check-up in a health centre. As unemployed persons, they all benefited from state financial support and special coverage. Blood pressure was averaged from three consecutive measurements. Subjects not taking antihypertensive medications and with average BP > 140/90 mmHg underwent an additional visit. A total of 1088 men aged 42 +/- 10.6 years and 1332 women aged 40 +/- 11 years were included from November 2001 to November 2003. Hypertension prevalence was 25.2% in men and 22.1% in women, while awareness was 40.2% in men and 73% in women. Blood pressure was controlled (<140/90 mmHg) in 19% of men and 37,2 % of women receiving antihypertensive medication. Among women, 58% were overweight and 29% obese. Hypertension prevalence was slightly higher than that recently observed in cohorts of workers in Caribbean regions and metropolitan France. Control was poorer despite similar awareness and treatment rates. These findings suggest that a universal healthcare system can reduce, but not fully eliminate, disparities in hypertension care and prevalence across income categories.

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