Epidemiological Study of Blood Pressure and Hypertension in a Sample of Urban Bantu of Zaire

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Blood pressure and anthropometric characteristics were studied in a 10% random sample (n=675) of Bantu, aged ≥10 years and living in an urban quarter of Kinshasha, Za'i're. The prevalence and awareness of hypertension as well as the therapeutic situation in adult participants aged ≥ 20 years were also evaluated.Systolic and diastolic blood pressure tended to be higher in males than in females. In adults ≥ 20 years, systolic and diastolic pressure were positively and independently correlated with both age and body weight. In youths (10-19 years old), systolic pressure was associated with age and body weight, while in girls diastolic pressure was related to age only.Using WHO criteria, the overall prevalence of definite hypertension in adults was 9.9% (13.6% in males and 6.8% in females). The prevalence of borderline hypertension was 7% (8.4% in males and 5.6% in females). Of the participants studied with definite and borderline hypertension (n=49), 69% were not aware of their blood pressure elevation; 31% were aware, but only 13% were treated and 3% were controlled.It is concluded that hypertension is not uncommon in these urban Bantu and that programmes for screening and educating the population should be developed and implemented.

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