Factors Associated to Hypertension Prevalence, Unawareness and Treatment among Costa Rican Elderly

Ericka Mendez, Universidad de Costa Rica
Carolina Santamaria, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Reliable information on hypertension prevalence is crucial for health policies. Factors associated to prevalence, unawareness and treatment among Costa Rican elderly are identified. Data come from a nationally representative sample (n=2,827). Two blood pressure measures, previous diagnose and medications taken were recorded. Sex differences were found. Prevalence is 65% (Males=60%, Females=69%). Among hypertensives more men are unaware than women (32% vs. 20%), and among aware individuals more women are treated than men (83% vs.78%). Prevalence increases with age, overweight, obesity and family history of hypertension. Family history is inversely related to unawareness. Smoking is related to unawareness in men. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and home visits by health workers reduce unawareness for women. Treatment is associated to education, family history, diabetes and heart disease. Despite of national programs, unawareness remains high, particularly among men. Behavioral risk factors such as obesity and alcohol intake should be stressed in education programs.

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Presented in Poster Session 1