Need for better blood pressure measurement in developing countries to improve prevention of cardiovascular disease

Pietro Amedeo Modesti, Eleonora Perruolo, Gianfranco Parati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hypertension is now the foremost cause of disability and is responsible for the highest percentage of attributable death among risk factors. These global changes are mainly due to the increase in the prevalence of hypertension in most low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) as a consequence of relevant socioeconomic changes occurring during the last decades. Implementation of global prevention efforts urgently needs to be accelerated because of the increasing incidence of haemorrhagic stroke, renal failure, and hypertensive heart disease in developing countries. Blood pressure (BP) measurement has different implications in epidemiological studies performed in low-resource settings. First, the frequency of blood pressure measurement is a simple but reliable indicator of access to healthcare in epidemiological studies, which may disclose the favourable effects of urbanization; the opportunity to have BP measured increases hypertension awareness, facilitates drug treatment, and leads to better achievement of BP control. Second, BP measurement is a key element in cardiovascular risk stratification, focusing solely on the preferred strategy in low-resource settings where costs of biochemical tests might be less sustainable. Third, the issue of obtaining reliable estimation of BP values is crucial to achieve sound data on the burden of hypertension in LMICs, and some aspects of BP measurement, such as the use of reliable automated devices, the number of measurements/visits to achieve a consistent diagnosis of hypertension, and the possible confounding effect of environmental factors, must be closely considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-98
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Epidemiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Cardiovascular prevention
  • Global health
  • Low income countries
  • Low resource settings
  • Non communicable disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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