The present study aimed to determine the prevalence of prehypertension and hypertension, and their association with the risk factors in a Korean population.
The Korean Nation Health and Nutrition Survey 2001, a cross-sectional survey, was a nationally representative survey in which a stratified multistage sampling design was used.
Data from a comprehensive questionnaire, together with a physical examination and blood sample, were obtained from 6074 Korean adults (2620 men and 3454 women) aged > or = 20 years, and analysed.
The estimated age-adjusted prevalence of hypertension and prehypertension was 22.9% (26.9% in men, 20.5% in women) and 31.6% (41.9% in men, 25.9% in women), respectively, in the Korean population according to Joint National Committee 7 criteria. Multivariate analysis revealed that age, gender, body mass index, fasting plasma glucose, total-cholesterol and alcohol consumption were significantly associated with hypertension. Overall, only 30.2% of the hypertensive individuals had been previously diagnosed. Furthermore, 22.9% of the hypertensive individuals were being treated with antihypertensive medication, but only 10.7% had their blood pressure adequately controlled. The rates of awareness, treatment and control were higher for the women than for the men, and these rates increased with age.
Hypertension and prehypertension are common in Korea, and more than one-half of the hypertensive patients have not been diagnosed. These results place great emphasis on the urgent need for a public health program to improve the detection, prevention and treatment of hypertension and prehypertension.