Prevalence of Systemic Arterial Hypertension and Associated Factors Among Adults from the Semi-Arid Region of Pernambuco, Brazil

Abstract Background: Systemic arterial hypertension is a substantial public health problem responsible for millions of deaths per year worldwide. However, little is known about the epidemiology of this disease in areas distant from large urban centers in Brazil. Such information is necessary to plan health promotion strategies. Objective: To estimate the prevalence of hypertension and determine its associated factors in adults residing in the semi-arid region of the state of Pernambuco, Northeastern Brazil. Method: This is a cross-sectional study conducted with a random sample of male and female adults. Individuals with systolic blood pressure ≥ 140 mm/Hg and/or diastolic blood pressure ≥ 90 mm/Hg and those who reported being under treatment with antihypertensive drugs were considered hypertensive. We collected data on demographic, socioeconomic, behavioral, and anthropometric characteristics, as well as health and nutrition. The statistical analysis used Pearson’s chi-square test, the chi-square test for trend, and multivariate Poisson regression analysis. A p-value < 0.05 in the final model was considered indicative of statistical significance. Results: The sample consisted of 416 individuals, and the prevalence of hypertension was 27.4% (95%CI 23.2 - 32.0). In the final model, the independent predictors of hypertension were age of 40 years or older (p = 0.000), low economic class (p = 0.007), smoking (p = 0.023), overweight determined by the body mass index (p = 0.003), and reduced glucose tolerance/diabetes mellitus (p = 0.012). Conclusion: The prevalence of hypertension was high and related to important risk factors. Thus, prevention and control strategies are recommended.