Hypertension and other morbidities among a rural geriatric population of North Kerala

Sabitha Rose Jacob, Suthanthira Kannan


Background: Ageing is a universal phenomenon characterized by an increase in morbidity, multi morbidity and increased healthcare and social demands. An awareness of common morbidities is essential for planning the health care services for elder people. Objectives of the study were to identify reported morbidities and measure hypertension of a rural geriatric population.

Methods: A community based cross sectional study and estimation of BP was done.

Results: Study population included 403 elderly with majority (56.3%) in 60-70 age group and 66.5% females. Among them 38.7% has lost spouses and 4% were staying alone. Illiterate were 22.8% and 46.9% had no income. Any one type of chronic morbidity was reported by 79.7% (n=321) 95%CI (75.83, 83.63) of the population and it was higher among females (82.5%). More than one morbidity was reported by 44.4% of population. Reported morbidities were hypertension (35.7%) and diabetes (23%) similar in both genders, joint symptoms (19.4%) higher in females, breathlessness (9.6%), known ischemic heart disease (7.6% ) and cerebro vascular attacks (6.5%) cancer (1.1%) higher in males venous diseases (3%) and mental illness (1%). As per BMI 19.6% were undernourished and 18.8% were overweight. Hypertension was newly detected for 130 (32.7%) persons thus making total prevalence 68.4%.Half of known hyper tensives were on regular treatment. Physical disability was present for 31(7.6%) and severe visual disability for 14%.

Conclusions: Morbidity is high among rural geriatric population, hypertension being commonest with half untreated and an equal proportion being undetected. There is urgent need for intensifying regular screening programmes among this group.


Geriatric population, Hypertension, Morbidity, Gender, Treatment

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