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S Afr Med J. 2007 Aug;97(8 Pt 2):692-8.

Estimating the burden of disease attributable to high blood pressure in South Africa in 2000.

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Burden of Disease Research Unit, Medical Research Council of South Africa, Tygerberg, Cape Town.



To estimate the burden of disease attributable to high blood pressure (BP) in adults aged 30 years and older in South Africa in 2000.


World Health Organization comparative risk assessment (CRA) methodology was followed. Mean systolic BP (SBP) estimates by age and sex were obtained from the 1998 South African Demographic and Health Survey adult data. Population-attributable fractions were calculated and applied to revised burden of disease estimates for the relevant disease categories for South Africa in 2000. Monte Carlo simulation-modelling techniques were used for uncertainty analysis.


South Africa.


Adults aged 30 years and older.


Mortality and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) from ischaemic heart disease (IHD), stroke, hypertensive disease and other cardiovascular disease (CVD).


High BP was estimated to have caused 46,888 deaths (95% uncertainty interval 44,878 - 48,566) or 9% (95% uncertainty interval 8.6 - 9.3%) of all deaths in South Africa in 2000, and 390,860 DALYs (95% uncertainty interval 377,955 - 402,256) or 2.4% of all DALYs (95% uncertainty interval 2.3 - 2.5%) in South Africa in 2000. Overall, 50% of stroke, 42% of IHD, 72% of hypertensive disease and 22% of other CVD burden in adult males and females (30+ years) were attributable to high BP (systolic BP >or= 115 mmHg).


High BP contributes to a considerable burden of CVD in South Africa and results indicate that there is considerable potential for health gain from implementing BP-lowering interventions that are known to be highly costeffective.

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