Objective To study knowledge of risk factors and consequences of hypertension in a rural population in South India. Methods This is a community-based study conducted among adults of a rural population in the Rishi Valley, India. Residents of randomised rural villages were invited to participate in a study of hypertension. We obtained measures of blood pressure, height, weight, waist and hip circumferences and questionnaire-based information on knowledge about hypertension, sociodemographic characteristics and health behaviours. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine the factors associated with knowledge of risk factors for hypertension (knowledge of ≥2 risk factors). Results The study comprised 641 adults; 132 aware and 218 unaware of their hypertension, and 291 with normal blood pressure. Only 31% of participants knew that hypertension adversely affects an individual's health and 7% knew the benefits of treating hypertension. Almost a third (30%) of those aware of their hypertensive status, and 48% overall, did not know any of the risk factors for hypertension. Being aware of one's hypertensive status (OR 2.51, 95% CI 1.44 to 4.39), being treated for hypertension, male sex, younger age, having some schooling, abdominal obesity and physical inactivity were associated with better knowledge of risk factors for hypertension. Conclusion Knowledge of risk factors and consequences of hypertension in this disadvantaged population was poor. There was better knowledge of risk factors in some, but not all, people who were aware of having hypertension. Screening and targeted educational programmes are warranted in this population to improve health behaviours and reduce the consequences of hypertension.
- developing countries
- risk factors