• Vol. 38 No. 10, 850–856
  • 15 October 2009

Characteristics, and Disease Control and Complications of Hypertensive Patients in Primary-care – A Community-based Study in Singapore



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Introduction: Hypertension is a common chronic condition usually managed by primary-care practitioners in Singapore. This study assessed the characteristics, control and complications of non-diabetic hypertensive patients managed at government primary healthcare clinics. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study involving 9 clinics was conducted over 1-week in 2006. Five hundred and six non-diabetic hypertensive patients were systematically sampled from all clinic attendees. Data relating to socio-demographic, lifestyle factors, treatment and complications were collected by interviewer-administered questionnaires and review of clinic medical records. Blood pressure (BP) measurements were taken with validated automated sets following a standard protocol. Results: The prevalence of good BP control (<140/90 mmHg) was 37.7% (95% CI: 33.6% to 41.8%). Ninety seven percent were on medication with about half on monotherapy. Seventy percent of patients had a body mass index (BMI) of 23.0 kg/m2 or higher, 64% did not exercise regularly and 8% were current smokers. After adjusting for age and lifestyle factors, male hypertensive patients had poorer BP control compared to females. Nineteen percent of patients reported at least 1 complication of hypertension, especially cardiac disease. After multivariate analysis and duration of disease, age and the male gender were associated with the presence of hypertensive complications. Conclusions: More than half of the patients were not controlled to target levels. Male patients were more likely to have poorer control of hypertension and significantly higher risks of complications. Control of BP could be further improved by lifestyle modifications – weight reduction, promotion of physical activity, healthier eating habits and smoking cessation.

Essential hypertension is a chronic disease involving the primary elevation of systemic blood pressure (BP). While the main causes of essential hypertension has not been identified, this disease is currently attributed to a host of genetic and environmental factors.1 Worldwide, hypertension is increasingly prevalent in both developed and developing countries. In the United States (US), the prevalence of hypertension in the community aged 20 years and above is estimated to be 28.7%.2 In Singapore’s National Health Survey 2004 (NHS 2004), the prevalence of hypertension among Singapore residents aged 30 to 69 years old was found to be as high as 24.9%.3

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