Share this Article
SKE Gan, CY Loh, B Seet
Correspondence: Samuel Gan Ken En, email@example.com
Aim To study the prevalence of hypertension and "white coat hypertension" in young adult Asian males, and identify the associated risk factors.
Methods Population-based descriptive analysis of 3,352 Singapore military conscripts presenting consecutively for medical screening, followed by case-control study of subjects with elevated blood pressure. A standard protocol for assessing elevated blood pressure, 24-hour ambulatory monitoring and detailed interviews were performed. Main study outcomes are prevalence rate of hypertension and "white coat hypertension", mean blood pressure readings, and adjusted odds ratios for associated variables.
Results Prevalence of hypertension and "white coat hypertension" was 1.6% (95% CI 1.2, 2.0) and 2.0% (95% CI 1.5, 2.5) respectively. Twenty-four-hour ambulatory monitoring was required to differentiate the two conditions, with a fall of 22.5 mmHg (95% CI 19.7, 25.3) observed between first visit and day-time ambulatory mean systolic blood pressures. There was strong association between hypertension and obesity (adjusted odds ratio using Body Mass Index: 1.19, p<0.001). Other important variables included parental history of hypertension, Malay ethnicity and low socio-economic status, although there was no significant correlation in our regression model.
Conclusion This study provides population-based data on hypertension in young Asian adults. While the prevalence of hypertension is low compared to older age groups, it remains important to detect cases early, as appropriate treatment may mitigate long-term cardiovascular risks and reduce target organ damage. There is a clear role for ambulatory blood pressure monitoring for differentiating true hypertension from "white coat hypertension". There may be a role for targeted screening of high-risk groups, particularly the obese.
Keywords: hypertension, white coat hypertension, screening, blood pressure, ambulatory monitoring
Singapore Med J 2003; 44(9): 448-452