Hypertension in seven Latin American cities: the Cardiovascular Risk Factor Multiple Evaluation in Latin America (CARMELA) study

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BackgroundLittle information is available regarding hypertension, treatment, and control in urban population of Latin America.ObjectiveWe aimed to compare blood pressure (BP) distribution, hypertension prevalence, treatment, and control in seven Latin American cities following standard methodology.MethodsThe Cardiovascular Risk Factor Multiple Evaluation in Latin America (CARMELA) study was a cross-sectional, epidemiologic study assessing cardiovascular risk factors using stratified multistage sampling of adult populations (aged 25–64 years) in seven cities: Barquisimeto (Venezuela; n = 1848); Bogotá (n = 1553); Buenos Aires (n = 1482); Lima (n = 1652); Mexico City (n = 1720); Quito (n = 1638); and Santiago (n = 1655). The prevalence of hypertension and high normal BP were determined based on 2007 European Society of Hypertension and European Society of Cardiology definitions.ResultsBP increased with age in men and women; pulse pressure increased mainly in the upper age group. The hypertension prevalence ranged from 9% in Quito to 29% in Buenos Aires. One-quarter to one-half of the hypertension cases were previously undiagnosed (24% in Mexico City to 47% in Lima); uncontrolled hypertension ranged from 12% (Lima) to 41% (Mexico City). High normal BP was also evident in a substantial number of each city participants (≈5–15%). Majority of population has other cardiovascular risk factors despite hypertension; only 9.19% of participants have no risk factors apart from hypertension.ConclusionFrom 13.4 to 44.2% of the populations of seven major Latin American cities were hypertensive or had high normal BP values. Most hypertensive patients have additional risk factors. Public health programs need to target prevention, detection, treatment, and control of total cardiovascular risk in Latin America.

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