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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - BMC cardiovascular disorders
Title Prevalence of prehypertension and its relationship to risk factors for cardiovascular disease in Jamaica: analysis from a cross-sectional survey
Volume 8
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2008
URL https://bmccardiovascdisord.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2261-8-20

Recent studies have documented an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in persons with systolic blood pressures of 120–139 mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressures of 80–89 mmHg, classified as prehypertension in the Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. In this paper we estimate the prevalence of prehypertension in Jamaica and evaluate the relationship between prehypertension and other risk factors for CVD.


The study used data from participants in the Jamaica Lifestyle Survey conducted from 2000–2001. A sample of 2012 persons, 15–74 years old, completed an interviewer administered questionnaire and had anthropometric and blood pressure measurements performed by trained observers using standardized procedures. Fasting glucose and total cholesterol were measured using a capillary blood sample. Analysis yielded crude, and sex-specific prevalence estimates for prehypertension and other CVD risk factors. Odds ratios for associations of prehypertension with CVD risk factors were obtained using logistic regression.


The prevalence of prehypertension among Jamaicans was 30% (95% confidence interval [CI] 27%–33%). Prehypertension was more common in males, 35% (CI 31%–39%), than females, 25% (CI 22%–28%). Almost 46% of participants were overweight; 19.7% were obese; 14.6% had hypercholesterolemia; 7.2% had diabetes mellitus and 17.8% smoked cigarettes. With the exception of cigarette smoking and low physical activity, all the CVD risk factors had significantly higher prevalence in the prehypertensive and hypertensive groups (p for trend < 0.001) compared to the normotensive group. Odds of obesity, overweight, high cholesterol and increased waist circumference were significantly higher among younger prehypertensive participants (15–44 years-old) when compared to normotensive young participants, but not among those 45–74 years-old. Among men, being prehypertensive increased the odds of having >/=3 CVD risk factors versus no risk factors almost three-fold (odds ratio [OR] 2.8 [CI 1.1–7.2]) while among women the odds of >/=3 CVD risk factors was increased two-fold (OR 2.0 [CI 1.3–3.8])


Prehypertension occurs in 30% of Jamaicans and is associated with increased prevalence of other CVD risk factors. Health-care providers should recognize the increased CVD risk of prehypertension and should seek to identify and treat modifiable risk factors in these persons.

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