Background: Hypertension is a major preventable risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Occupational factors such as having served or serving in armed forces may be associated with hypertension. This study aimed to assess the prevalence and factors associated with hypertension among veterans of the Indian Gorkha army living in western Nepal.
A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted among the veterans living in the Pokhara metropolitan city. Data on blood pressure (BP), anthropometric measurements, and behavioral factors were collected by face-to-face interviews using the World Health Organization's non-communicable disease risk factor surveillance (STEPS) tool. Hypertension was defined as systolic blood pressure (BP) ≥ 140 mm Hg and/or diastolic BP of ≥ 90 mm Hg or currently on antihypertensive medication.
The age-adjusted prevalence of hypertension was 66.2 % among the study participants (317). Mean systolic and diastolic blood pressure was 144.5 mmHg (± 18.3) and 89.3mmHg (± 16.0), respectively. Among the hypertensive participants, 67 % were aware of their disease, 90 % of them were under treatment, and 14 % of the individuals who received treatment had their hypertension under control. The proportion of smokers was 12.9 % and alcohol drinker was 86.1 %. One-fourth (25.9 %) of the participants had a family history of hypertension. Veterans aged 55-64 years had higher odds (AOR: 5.3; 95 % CI: 1.8–15.9; p = 0.003) of being associated with hypertension as compared to 35–44 years. Being a current alcohol drinker (AOR: 2.5; 95 % CI: 1.4–4.5; p = 0.003), overweight (AOR: 1.9; 95 % CI: 1.0-3.5; p = 0.04), obese (AOR: 3.1; 95 % CI: 1.1–8.3; p = 0.03) and family history of hypertension (AOR: 2.9; 95 % CI: 1.5–5.8; p = 0.002) were independently associated with hypertension.
Hypertension was prevalent in retired Nepal veterans. Hypertension was associated with a number of modifiable lifestyle and behavioral factors. Our findings suggest the need for screening, education and management of Nepal veterans for hypertension.