Prevalence and Determinants of Arterial Hypertension among Patients with Ocular Diseases in South East Nigeria

Author(s): Arinze Anthony Onwuegbuna, Akunne Ijeoma Apakama, Chuka Michael Okosa, Emeka Akujuobi Chianakwalam, Miriam-Benigna Chika Amobi, Chisom God’swill Chigbo, EjikeEkene Igboegwu, Ekene Agatha Emek

Background: Most recent studies in Nigeria have documented high prevalence of ocular diseases among adults. Several mechanisms may link hypertension, dyslipidemia and obesity with ocular diseases. There are however no studies on the prevalence of arterial hypertension among the adults with ocular diseases. Objectives: To determine the prevalence and determinants of arterial hypertension among adult patients with ocular diseases and to justify the significance of routine blood pressure screening among adult patients in eye clinics.

Methods: A descriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted in eye clinics and community eye care out-reaches that offer primary, secondary and tertiary eye care services in Anambra State Nigeria. The primary outcome measure was the number of subjects with arterial hypertension. The pretested interviewer-administered self-administered semi-structured questionnaires were distributed amongst consenting adult patients. Data obtained were analyzed using the STATA version 16.0. Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 23. Statistical significance was set at p<0.05.

Results: Complete information was available for 455 (99.8%) of the subjects. The female: male ratio was 2:1 and the majority (35.41%) was between the ages of 63 and 77 years. The prevalence of arterial hypertension was 41.32% (188/455; 95% confidence interval (CI): 35.62– 47.67%). Arterial hypertension (p=0.004) and high cholesterol levels (p=0.001) were significantly higher in the urban subjects than in the rural subjects. Obesity (p<0.001), diabetes mellitus (p<0.001) and hypercholesterolemia (p=0.003) were significantly higher in the subjects with arterial hypertension than without arterial hypertension.

Conclusion: The prevalence of arterial hypertension was high in Nigeria among adult patients with ocular diseases. Its prevalence and dyslipidemia were significantly higher in the urban subjects than in the rural subjects. Obesity, diabetes mellitus and hypercholesterolemia were significantly higher in arterial hypertensives. There is a need for routine screening of arterial hypertension among subjects with ocular disorders as well as regular eye check-ups for early detection of vision threatening complications of hypertension to save vision in the population.

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