Success in control of hypertension in a low-resource setting: the Cuban experience

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Abstract

Background

Pharmacologic control of hypertension is an essential component of the current strategy to control cardiovascular diseases. Much concern has been focused in recent years on the challenge that cardiovascular disease poses for developing countries. Available medical therapies should be equally effective in low- and high-resource settings; however, this has not yet been demonstrated. Cuba has a well-organized primary-care system and has made reduction of cardiovascular diseases a priority, particularly through detection and treatment of hypertension.

Methods

To determine current hypertension control rates a population-based sample of 1667 persons aged 15–74 years was examined in the city of Cienfuegos.

Results

The prevalence of hypertension, weighted to the age structure of the sampled population, was 20%. Among all hypertensives, 78% were previously aware of the condition, 61% were currently taking medications, and 40% had systolic/diastolic blood pressures < 140/90 mmHg (men = 29%, women = 49%). Among treated hypertensives, 62% had blood pressures < 140/90 mmHg.

Discussion

The level of control documented in this survey is higher than reported previously from population surveys in other countries. If confirmed in broader samples in Cuba, these findings would suggest that effective control of hypertension is highly feasible in low-resource settings.

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