Gaps in hypertension care and control: a population-based study in low-income urban Medellin, Colombia

Esteban Londono Agudelo, Viviana Perez Ospina, Tullia Battaglioli, Cecilia Taborda Perez, Ruben Gomez-Arias, Patrick Van der Stuyft

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    Objectives To assess hypertension prevalence and the extent and associated factors of hypertension diagnosis, follow-up, treatment and control gaps in low-income urban Medellin, Colombia.

    Methods We randomly sampled 1873 adults aged 35 or older. Unaware hypertensive individuals were defined as those without previous diagnosis whose average blood pressure was equal to or above 140/90 mmHg. For aware hypertensive patients, control was delimited as average blood pressure below 140/90 if under 59 years old or diabetic, and as less than 150/90 otherwise. We used logistic regression to identify care gap-associated factors.

    Results Hypertension prevalence was 43.5% (95% CI 41.2-45.7). We found 28.2% aware and 15.3% unaware hypertensive individuals, which corresponds to a 35.1% (95% CI 31.9-38.5) underdiagnosis. This gap was determined by age, sex, education and lifestyle factors. 14.4% (95% CI 11.6-17.6) of aware hypertensive patients presented a follow-up gap, 93.4% (95% CI 90.9-95.2) were prescribed antihypertensive drugs, but 38.9% (95% CI 34.7-43.3) were not compliant. The latter was strongly associated with follow-up. The hypertension control gap in aware hypertensive patients, 39.0% (95% CI: 34.9-43.2), was associated with being older, having diabetes, weakly adhering to pharmacological treatment and receiving poor non-pharmacological advice. Overall, 60.4% (95% CI 57.0-63.8) of aware and unaware hypertensive participants had either diagnosed but uncontrolled or undiagnosed hypertension.

    Conclusions We found high hypertension prevalence coupled with, from an international perspective, encouraging awareness and control figures. Still, there remains ample room for improvement. Our findings can assist in designing integrated primary healthcare measures that further strengthen equitable and effective access to hypertension care and control.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalTropical Medicine and International Health
    Issue number8
    Pages (from-to)895-907
    Number of pages13
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


    • Adult
    • Antihypertensive Agents/therapeutic use
    • Blood Pressure
    • Colombia/epidemiology
    • Female
    • Healthcare Disparities
    • Humans
    • Hypertension/epidemiology
    • Interviews as Topic
    • Male
    • Middle Aged
    • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
    • Prevalence
    • Risk Factors
    • Socioeconomic Factors
    • Surveys and Questionnaires
    • Urban Population


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