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Prevalence and correlates of diagnosed and undiagnosed hypertension in the indigenous Kuna population of Panamá. BMC Public Health 2019 Jun 28;19(1):843



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BACKGROUND: To determine the prevalence of hypertension and investigate sociodemographic correlates in an indigenous Kuna community living on the San Blas islands of Panama.

METHODS: Data was collected from adults using a paper-based survey using a cross sectional study design. Blood pressure was measured, and hypertension defined at two cut-points: 130/80 mmHg and 140/90 mmHg. Individuals with undiagnosed hypertension had a blood pressure measurement that indicated hypertension, however, the individual had not been told by a doctor they had hypertension. Whereas individuals with diagnosed hypertension had been told by a healthcare provider that they had hypertension. Univariate tests compared diagnosed and undiagnosed hypertension by sociodemographic categories and logistic regression models tested individual correlates adjusting for all sociodemographic factors.

RESULTS: Two hundred and eleven adult indigenous Kuna participated in the study. Overall prevalence of hypertension was 6.2% (95%CI:3.32-10.30) as defined by 140/90 mmHg, and 16.6% (95%CI:11.83-22.31) as defined by 130/80 mmHg. Hypertension was significantly higher in men (31.6, 95% CI:19.90-45.24, compared to 11.0, 95% CI:6.56-17.09). Individuals with low income were 3 times more likely to be hypertensive (OR = 3.13, 95% CI:1.02-9.60) and 3.5 times more likely to have undiagnosed hypertension (OR = 3.42, 95% CI:1.01-11.52); while those with moderate income were 6 times more likely to be hypertensive (OR = 7.37, 95% CI:1.76-30.90) compared to those who were poor.

CONCLUSION: The prevalence of diagnosed and undiagnosed hypertension is higher in men and those with higher income. Investigating these factors remains vitally important in helping improve the health of the Kuna through targeted interventions to address chronic disease.

Author List

Hanna DR, Walker RJ, Smalls BL, Campbell JA, Dawson AZ, Egede LE


Aprill Z. Dawson PhD, MPH Assistant Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Leonard E. Egede MD Center Director, Chief, Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Rebekah Walker PhD Assistant Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Aged, 80 and over
Cross-Sectional Studies
Indians, Central American
Middle Aged
Risk Factors
Sex Distribution
Socioeconomic Factors
Young Adult
jenkins-FCD Prod-409 d1e206b0be345926047b0d9c353c78a4cce4058b