Prevalence and determinants of hypertension in underrepresented indigenous populations of Nepal

Tsedenia Workneh Denekew, Yoshina Gautam, Dinesh Bhandari, Guru Prasad Gautam, Jeevan Bahadur Sherchand, Amod K. Pokhrel, Aashish R. Jha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Indigenous populations residing in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are highly underrepresented in medicine and public health research. Specifically, data on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) from indigenous populations remains scarce. Despite the increasing burden of NCDs in the Himalayan region, their prevalence in many indigenous populations remains understudied. The nationally representative public health surveys often do not include the indigenous communities, especially those that reside in rural areas or exist in small numbers. This observational cross-sectional survey study aimed to assess the prevalence of three NCD risk factors namely obesity, hypertension, and tachycardia and identify dietary and lifestyle variables associated with them across underrepresented indigenous populations of Nepal. A total of 311 individuals (53.3% women, 46.7% men) with mean age 43±15 years from 12 indigenous Nepali communities residing in rural (47.9%) or semi-urban (52.1%) areas volunteered to participate in this study. Univariate tests and multivariable logistic regressions were used to analyze the survey data. The mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures were 121.3±19.5 mmHg and 81.3±11.8 mmHg respectively. Overall, the prevalence of obesity and tachycardia was low (0.64% and 3.22%, respectively) but hypertension was prevalent at 23.8%. Hypertension was not significantly different across populations, but it was associated with age, BMI, and tobacco use, and collectively, these variables explained 13.9% variation in hypertension prevalence. Although we were unable to detect direct associations between individual determinants of hypertension identified in non-indigenous Nepalis, such as education levels, alcohol consumption, and smoking in this study, having one or more determinants increased the odds of hypertension in the indigenous participants. Furthermore, ~14% of the hypertensive individuals had none of the universally identified hypertension risk factors. The lack of association between previously identified risk factors for hypertension in these individuals indicates that the additional determinants of hypertension remain to be identified in indigenous Nepali populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0000133
JournalPLOS global public health
Volume2
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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