Assessing the Magnitude and Risk Factors Associated With Undiagnosed Hypertension in Rural Rwanda

Christian Mazimpaka, Sabin Nsanzimana, Jenae Logan, Agnes Binagwaho, Rex Wong


Individuals living with hypertension are predisposed to higher risk of stroke, kidney diseases and heart failure. Approximately 9.4 million people worldwide die from complications related to hypertension every year. Hypertension is often known as the silent killer because many people do not develop any symptoms until they get very sick. Early screening is particularly important for better treatment outcomes yet it remains a challenge in many countries. Worldwide, approximately 50% of people are living with undiagnosed hypertension. In Rwanda, the rate of undiagnosed hypertension is unknown, and so are the associated risk factors in rural communities. A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted to determine the rate and risk factors of undiagnosed hypertension among adults in a rural community in Rwanda. 

The proportion of people having undiagnosed hypertension was found to be high. Out of 155 study participants, 41.9% had undiagnosed hypertension, with slightly more men having hypertension (52.3%) than women (47.7%). More than 98% of respondents either did not know or knew wrong information about hypertension, and only 3% knew they should have regular checkups with physicians. Age (p=0.027) and alcohol consumption (p=0.014) were found to be statistically significantly associated with hypertension. Smoking and exercise were not found to be risk factors as most Rwandans living in the rural areas are physically active.  Programs to promote hypertension awareness, encourage regular physical checkups, and reduce alcohol consumption are needed to improve diagnosis and control of hypertension in Rwanda. Community programs offering free regular blood pressure checks may also be helpful in identifying early hypertension. Larger scale studies of this kind should be conducted to understand whether results can be generalized to other areas of Rwanda.

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Journal of Management and Strategy
ISSN 1923-3965 (Print)   ISSN 1923-3973 (Online)


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