AWARENESS OF HYPERTENSION AMONG PATIENTS IN THE UAE
Marwah Ayad Alhamadani and Mohammed Shamssain*
Hypertension is an important public health challenge in the world and is still on the rise. The low level of awareness and control of the disease is a global phenomenon. This study aimed to evaluate the knowledge, awareness and control of hypertension among adult hypertensive patients attending community pharmacies in Sharjah, UAE. A questionnaire containing standardized questions on various aspects of hypertension was handed to 10 community pharmacies in order to distribute it to patients. Data analysis was performed using SPSS version 20. A total of 300 hypertensive patients were approached, 158 (52.7%) were males and 142 (47.3%) were females. Regarding knowledge and awareness, 81.3% of the patients were familiar with normal blood pressure, 76.3% were aware of hypertension and their own blood pressure levels, and 75% were familiar with the most common symptoms of hypertension. As for control and treatment compliance, only 65.3% of the patients had adequate control of their blood pressure and 63.3% had good compliance. There was no significant difference in the knowledge, awareness and control of hypertension between the male and female patients (all P values were > 0.05). The problem of poor hypertension control was accompanied by a high prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors including comorbidities like diabetes (37.7%) and hypercholesterolemia (51%), as well as lifestyle risk factors such as overweight (47.7%) and smoking (46.8% of males and 27.5% of females, P < 0.001). Although general knowledge and awareness of hypertension was somewhat adequate, control and treatment compliance were suboptimal. Continuous multifaceted efforts and various educational processes are required to increase awareness, knowledge and control of the disease in the community. Hypertension in the UAE should be approached more aggressively in terms of preventive strategies, regular screening, along with awareness campaigns and health education programs.
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