• Vol. 42 No. 9, 451–465
  • 15 September 2013

Hypertension Management and Lifestyle Changes Following Screening for Hypertension in an Asian Low Socioeconomic Status Community: A Prospective Study



Introduction: This study investigated the effect of an access-enhanced intervention on hypertension screening and management, as well as on health behaviours among newly diagnosed hypertensives, in a multi-ethnic low socioeconomic status (SES) community. Factors associated with hypertension screening, treatment, and control in the community were also determined.

Materials and Methods: The study involved all residents aged ≥40 years in 2 public rental housing precincts (low SES), between 2009 and 2011, who were followed-up prospectively for 1 year after a 6-month community-based intervention comprising a 3-month access-enhanced screening component and a 3-month follow-up (outreach) component. Blood pressure was measured at baseline and follow-up. Multivariate Cox regression determined predictors of hypertension management at follow-up.

Results: The follow-up rate was 80.9% (467/577). At baseline, 60.4% (282/467) were hypertensive; 53.5% (151/282) were untreated; 54.2% (71/131) uncontrolled. One year later, postintervention, 51.6% (78/151) of untreated hypertensives were treated; combined with treated hypertensives previously uncontrolled, 53.0% (79/149) achieved control. Older age independently predicted treatment (adjusted relative risk, aRR = 1.98, CI, 1.08 to 3.65); majority ethnicity (aRR = 1.76, CI, 1.05 to 2.96), employment (aRR = 1.85, CI, 1.26 to 2.80) and newly treated hypertension (aRR=1.52, CI, 1.01 to 2.32) predicted control. A total of 52.4% (97/185) were irregularly screened at baseline; at follow-up 61.9% (60/97) were regularly screened. Cost and misperceptions were common barriers to screening and treatment. Newly diagnosed hypertensives were also less likely to go for additional cardiovascular screening (aRR = 0.54, CI, 0.29 to 0.99).

Conclusion: An access-enhanced intervention had some success in improving hypertension management within low SES communities; however, it was less successful in improving cardiovascular risk management, especially in encouraging lifestyle changes and additional cardiovascular screening amongst newly diagnosed hypertensives.

Hypertension is a major health burden;1 however, treatment and control remain poor especially amongst urban populations and in particular, disadvantaged urban communities. In Asian societies, although much work has been done on hypertension in urban communities, few studies specifically investigate deprived urban areas, and there is little evaluation of potential interventions to improve cardiovascular risk management in disadvantaged populations.

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