Introduction The burden of Non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular diseases (CVD), and their risk factors are rising in Sub Saharan Africa. In Kenya, prevalence of overweight and obesity among reproductive-age females almost doubled over a fifteen-year period (13%–23%) between 1993 and 2008. This may be attributable to rapid urbanisation and unhealthy lifestyles. Little is known about prevalence and awareness levels of CVD in Sub Saharan Africa. This study describes burden and treatment patterns of common CVD conditions (diabetes and hypertension) among adults in two urban slum settlements in Nairobi, Kenya.
Methods We conducted a cross-sectional survey on a stratified random sample of 5190 adults aged 18 years and older in an area under the Nairobi Urban Health Demographic Surveillance System. Data collected included self- reported diagnosis and treatment history of hypertension and diabetes, blood pressure and glucose measurements.
Results The prevalence of hypertension and diabetes was 12.3% and 4.3% respectively. Only one in five of those diagnosed with diabetes or hypertension was aware of their condition. Among those aware of having hypertension, less than one third were on treatment, and only 10% were controlled (blood pressure <140/90 mm Hg). Among those who were aware of being diabetic, just over half were on treatment and one-fifth had Random Blood Sugar <7.7 mmol/dl.
Conclusion The burden of common CVD among these poor communities is quite high. Worse, the level of awareness, treatment and control are dismally low. Interventions to increase awareness for example, through routine adult screening are needed to avert an impending CVD epidemic.
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