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Epidemiology of hypertension and associated cardiovascular risk factors in a country in transition: a population based survey in Tirana City, Albania
  1. L Shapo,
  2. J Pomerleau,
  3. M McKee
  1. European Centre on Health of Societies in Transition, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr L Shapo, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UK; 


Study objective: To describe the prevalence of hypertension and other cardiovascular risk factors on the adult population of Tirana City (Albania).

Design: Cross sectional survey.

Setting: Tirana City in mid-2001.

Participants: 1120 adults aged 25 years and over (response rate=72.7%).

Main results: Overall, hypertension prevalence (blood pressure =140 and/or 90 mm Hg, or known hypertensive receiving anti-hypertensive treatment) was 31.8% (36.6% and 27.4% in men and women respectively). Age standardised prevalence of hypertension (adjusted to the adult population of Tirana) was 30.2% (99% confidence intervals 29.8% to 30.6%) in men and 22.7% (22.3% to 23.1%) in women. Men were significantly more likely to be hypertensive than women (p value=0.001). Of those who had been diagnosed with hypertension, 87% were receiving anti-hypertensive therapy and more than half of them (52%) were adequately controlled. The prevalence of hypertension increased with increasing age and was more common in the obese in both sexes. While the prevalence of hypertension matched that in other industrialised and transition countries, the combination of hypertension with other cardiovascular risk factors was rather less common.

Conclusion: These findings provide important new evidence on the prevalence of hypertension and its association with other cardiovascular risk factors in Albania. Albania is in a state of rapid transition, with evidence that risk factors for non-communicable diseases have already increased considerably over the past two decades. These finding provide a unique baseline against which future change can be compared.

  • hypertension
  • Albania
  • health transition

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  • Funding: this study was funded by the Wellcome Trust (project grant no 061573). However, the Wellcome Trust cannot accept any responsibility for any information provided or views expressed.

  • Conflicts of interest: none declared.