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Assessing awareness and knowledge of hypertension in an at-risk population in the Karen ethnic rural community, Thasongyang, Thailand

Authors Aung MN, Lorga T, Janthila, Promtingkran N, Suchart, Wilawan, Phatchanan, Jaiin, Praipaksin N, Apiradee

Received 23 December 2011

Accepted for publication 8 February 2012

Published 27 June 2012 Volume 2012:5 Pages 553—561


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Myo Nyein Aung,1,2 Thaworn Lorga,2 Janthila Srikrajang,2 Nongluk Promtingkran,2 Suchart Kreuangchai,2 Wilawan Tonpanya,2 Phatchanan Vivarakanon,2 Puangpet Jaiin,2 Nara Praipaksin,3 Apiradee Payaprom4

Department of Public Health, Graduate School of Medicine, Juntendo University, Tokyo, Japan; 2Boromarajonani College of Nursing Nakhon Lampang (BCNLP), Lampang, Thailand; 3Baan Rekati Health Station, Thasongyang, Thailand; 4Thasongyang Hospital, Thailand

Background: Hypertension is currently a global health concern. Rural and minority populations are increasingly exposed to risk factors as a result of urbanization, leading to hypertension and cardiovascular disease. We conducted a survey in the rural Karen community in Thasongyang District, Tak Province, Thailand, with the aims of determining: the distribution of blood pressure across different age groups; the prevalence of hypertension and other risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), including diabetes, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, and excess alcohol use; knowledge and awareness of hypertension as a disease; and knowledge and awareness of risk factors for hypertension among the population at risk.
Methods: This was a community-based, cross-sectional survey of 298 rural Karen residents. A set of questionnaires assessing lifestyle-related health risk behaviors and awareness and knowledge of hypertension were used. Blood pressure, fasting plasma glucose, weight, height, and waist circumference were measured.
Results: Median systolic and diastolic blood pressures were 110 (range 100–120) mmHg and 70 (range 60–80) mmHg, respectively. High blood pressure was observed in more than 27% of the population, with 15% being hypertensive and 12% being prehypertensive. Multinomial logistic regression analysis showed that people in the Karen community who were aware of hypertension were less likely to be current smokers (odds ratio [OR] 0.53, confidence interval [CI] 0.29–0.97) and those with primary school education were more likely to be aware of hypertension than those who did not have a primary school education (OR 6.5, CI 1.9–22.24). Overall, our survey showed that less than half of the Karen community had such knowledge and awareness.
Conclusion: It is urgently necessary to promote knowledge, awareness, and health literacy among the ethnic Karen tribes to prevent hypertension and associated CVDs.

Keywords: hypertension, Karen, smoking, awareness, knowledge, CVDs

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