Under-treatment and under diagnosis of hypertension: A serious problem in the United Arab Emirates

Abdishakur M. Abdulle, Nico J.D. Nagelkerke, Samra Abouchacra, Javed Y. Pathan, Abdu Adem, Enyioma N. Obineche

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Hypertension, notably untreated or uncontrolled, is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVD) morbidity and mortality. In countries in transition, little is known about the epidemiology of hypertension, and its biochemical correlates. This study was carried out in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, to characterize self-reported (SR) normotensives and hypertensives in terms of actual hypertension status, demographic variables, CVD risk factors, treatment, and sequalae. Methods: A sample, stratified by SR hypertensive status, of 349 SR hypertensives (Mean age ± SD; 50.8 ± 9.2 yrs; Male: 226) and 640 SR normotensives (42.9 ± 9.3 yrs, Male: 444) among nationals and expatriates was used. Hypertensives and normotensive subjects were recruited from various outpatient clinics and government organizations in Al-Ain city, United Arab Emirates (UAE) respectively. Anthropometric and demographic variables were measured by conventional methods. Results: Both under-diagnosis of hypertension (33%) and under-treatment (76%) were common. Characteristics of undiagnosed hypertensives were intermediate between normotensives and SR hypertensives. Under-diagnosis of hypertension was more common among foreigners than among nationals. Risk factors for CVD were more prevalent among SR hypertensives. Obesity, lack of exercise and smoking were found as major risk factors for CVD among hypertensives in this population. Conclusion: Hypertension, even severe, is commonly under-diagnosed and under-treated in the UAE. Preventive strategies, better diagnosis and proper treatment compliance should be emphasized to reduce incidence of CVD in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number24
JournalBMC Cardiovascular Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Jun 6 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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