Prevalence of Prehypertension, Hypertension, and its Determinants Among Young Adults in Enugu State, Nigeria.

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Obinna C Nwoke
Nkoyo I Nubila
Onyekachi E Ekowo
Nwabunwanne C Nwoke
Edwin N Okafor
Raphael C Anakwue


Prehypertension, Hypertension, Medical Students, Risk Factors, Blood Pressure


Background: Emerging epidemiological data suggest that Hypertension (HTN) has become a significant public health challenge in sub-Saharan Africa. HTN in young adults is a problem lacking relevant attention because it is still erroneously considered a disease of the old. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of hypertension and its associated risk factors in undergraduate medical students at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Enugu State, Nigeria.

Methodology: This was a cross-sectional study conducted between March and April 2021. This study recruited 279 consenting medical students (136 males and 143 females) aged 18–35 years. They were administered with a structured questionnaire. Data on sociodemographic information and risk factors for hypertension were collected. Blood pressure, waist circumference, weight, height, and body mass index were measured using standard methods. All data collected were carried out following the Institutional ethical guidelines and that of the Helsinki as revised in 2000. Data were analyzed using IBM Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 25, and statistical tools employed include descriptive statistics and Chi tests. Results were recorded as mean standard deviation, and statistical significance was taken at p<0.05. 

Results: This present study has shown a prevalence rate of 19.93% for hypertension. Isolated diastolic hypertension constituted a greater burden with a prevalence of 13.65% than systolic Hypertension (0.74%) and systolic-diastolic Hypertension 5.4%. The prevalence of prehypertension was 48.7%, with a higher incidence observed in females (25.8%), individuals aged 21-25 years (26.4), and those with normal BMI (35.1%). A significant association was observed between the stage of hypertension and gender (p = 0.005), and age category (p = 0.037). Of the examined cohort, 7.75% were underweight, 16.5% overweight, and 2.2% obese. Notably, systolic, and diastolic blood pressure, weight, as well as waist circumference showed significant (p = 0.01, p = 0.007, p =0.01 and p<0.0001 respectively) increases concomitant with advancing age.

Conclusion: There is an increased prevalence of prehypertension and hypertension among young adults. This calls for a comprehensive national screening, public enlightenment, and targeted prevention programs that foster healthy lifestyle behaviours, physical activity, and healthy eating among students

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