BACKGROUND: Limited data are available in the African region on trends in blood pressure (BP) and awareness, treatment and control rates.
OBJECTIVE: We examined trends in these indicators for a 25-year period in the Seychelles, a rapidly developing small island state in the African region.
METHODS: Population-based surveys of adults aged 25-64 years were performed in 1989, 1994, 2004 and 2013 using nearly identical methods for all surveys. BP was based on the average of the second and third readings. Data were age-standardized.
RESULTS: Between 1989 and 2013, mean SBP decreased in older adults (but increased in younger adults) and mean DBP decreased in all age categories, despite a marked secular increase in mean BMI. At age 25-64 years, the proportions with BP at least 140/90 mmHg decreased from 44%/33% (men/women) in 1989 to 37%/22% in 2013. The proportions of persons aware of having high BP (among those with BP ≥ 140/90 or treatment) increased from 40%/63% (men/women) in 1989 to 65%/80% in 2013; the proportions under treatment (among aware) increased from 37%/49% to 64%/78%; and the proportions with controlled BP (among treated) increased from 10%/16% to 34%/61%. Awareness was associated with female sex, age, obesity and diabetes; treatment with age, obesity, low alcohol consumption and diabetes; and control with female sex, age and high socio-economic status. In 2013, the main classes of antihypertensive medications were used in similar proportions, and 64.5% received at least two medications.
CONCLUSION: The prevalence of high BP (≥140/90 mmHg) decreased over time, which paralleled improved detection and control of hypertension. The identified associated factors should be considered when strengthening BP control programs.