Hypertension prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control, in male South Asian immigrants in the United Arab Emirates: A cross-sectional study

Syed M. Shah, Tom Loney, Mohamud Sheek-Hussein, Mohamed El Sadig, Salma Al Dhaheri, Iffat El Barazi, Layla Al Marzouqi, Tar Ching Aw, Raghib Ali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: South Asian males constitute the largest proportion of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) population. Minimal data is available on the prevalence of hypertension among South Asian immigrants in the UAE. We determined the prevalence, associated factors, awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension among male South Asian immigrants from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh residing in the UAE. Methods: We recruited a representative sample (n = 1375; 76.4 % participation rate) of South Asian adult (≥18 years) immigrant males, including Indian (n = 433), Pakistani (n = 383) and Bangladeshi (n = 559) nationalities in Al Ain, UAE (January-June 2012). Blood pressure, height, body mass, waist and hip circumference data were obtained using standard protocols. Information related to socio-demographics, lifestyle factors, history of diagnosis and treatment of hypertension was collected through a pilot-tested adapted version of the STEPS instrument, developed by the World Health Organization for the measurement of non-communicable disease risk factors at the country level . Results: Mean age of participants was 34.0 years (95 % confidence interval (CI): 33.4, 34.5 years) and the overall prevalence of hypertension was 30.5 % (95 % CI 28.0, 32.8). In this study, 62 % of study participants had never had their blood pressure measured. Over three quarters (76 %) of the sample classified as hypertensive were not aware of their condition. Less than half (48.5 %) of the sample that were aware of their hypertension reported using antihypertensive medication and only 8.3 % had their hypertension under control (<140/90 mmHg). Hypertensive participants were more likely to be overweight (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.43; 95 % CI 1.01, 2.01); obese (AOR = 2.49; 95 % CI: 1.51, 4.10); have central obesity (AOR = 2.01; 95 % CI 1.37, 2.92); have a family history of hypertension (AOR = 1.51; 95 % CI 1.05, 2.17); and were less likely to walk 30 minutes daily (AOR = 1.79; 95 % CI 1.24, 2.60). Conclusions: The prevalence of hypertension in a representative sample of young male South Asian immigrants living in the UAE was relatively high. However, the awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension within this population were very low. Strategies are urgently needed to improve the awareness and control of hypertension in this large population of migrant workers in the UAE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number30
JournalBMC Cardiovascular Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 7 2015


  • Blood Pressure
  • Epidemiology
  • Ethnic Variations
  • Hypertension
  • Non-Communicable Disease
  • South Asians
  • Transients And Migrants
  • United Arab Emirates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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