Background: The aim of this study was to identify the prevalence and risk factors for hypertension in a rural community in north-east India. Materials and Methods: A door-to-door survey was conducted amongst all residents of a village in Uttarakhand province. All residents were interviewed and data were was relating to the demographics of the individuals, dietary habits, alcohol consumption, tobacco use, psychosocial stress, past medical history and drug history. Blood pressure (BP) and anthropometric data was recorded and blood samples taken. Results: We identified 1348 people living in the village. Assessment was carried out on all those aged 15 years and over (n=968, 71.8%). Hypertension, defined as BP ≥ 140/90 mmHg or cases of known hypertensive on medication, were present in 30.9% (95% CI 25.6 to 36.0) of males and 27.8% (95% CI 23.4 to 32.2) of females. Standardisation to the World Health Organization (WHO) world population gives an overall prevalence of 32.3% (95% confidence interval, CI 28.9 to 35.8). Increasing age and higher body mass index (BMI) were independent predictors of hypertension in both sexes, with psychosocial stress an additional independent predictor in males. Conclusions: Rates of hypertension in the rural community under study are similar to those seen in high-income countries and in urban India. With the exception of age, all the risk factors identified were potentially modifiable.
Key words: Cerebrovascular disease, epidemiology, global health, hypertension, India.