Introduction Hypertension has become a major public health concern in developing countries. We conducted a systematic review with meta-analysis of population-based studies in order to estimate the prevalence of hypertension among the Brazilian adult population.
Methods Published cross-sectional and cohort studies conducted from 1980 to 2010 were independently identified by two reviewers, without language restriction, in the PubMed, Embase, LILACS, and SciELO electronic databases. Unpublished studies were explored in the CAPES electronic thesis database. Hypertension was defined by JNC criteria of 140/90 mm Hg blood pressure measurement or use of blood pressure lowering medication, and additionally self-reported hypertension.
Results The search retrieved 598 original studies, 23 thesis, and six references from manual search. Based in title and abstract, 450 articles were excluded and 60 in full-text screening, leaving 47 eligible studies. Further five results were excluded, based on sampling and biases, and 42 studies comprising 124 thousand individuals were included. In the 1980's (n=5), pooled JNC prevalence of hypertension was 35.9% (95% CI 28.4% to 44.2%), 45.1% (40.0% to 50.4%) among men, and 34.6% (23.7% to 47.5%) among women. In the 1990's (n=15), the prevalence rates were, respectively, 28.5% (21.4% to 36.9%), 24.6% (15.5% to 36.6%), and 23.0% (14.5% to 34.3%). In the 2000's (n=22), the prevalence rates were 29.6% (26.3% to 32.9%); 29.4% (24.1% to −35.3%), and 25.8% (20.5% to 31.9%). Pooled prevalence from self-reported hypertension on telephone enquires, the overall was 20.6% (19.0% to 22.4%), 18.6% (17.4% to 19.9%) in men and 23.2% (21.1% to 25.4%) in women.
Conclusions This meta-analysis was first to summarise prevalence rates for Brazil. Steady estimates were detected over 3 decades, although lower rates for self-reported hypertension.
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