"Background: Hypertension is be-coming an important public health problem worldwide. It exhibits iceberg phenomena were unknown morbidity exceeds the known morbidity. The prevalence of hy-pertension is rapidly increasing in developing countries and is said to be one of the leading causes of death and disability among the el-derly.
Objective: To determine the preva-lence and factors influencing hy-pertension among geriatric popu-lation living in the rural communi-ty of coastal Karnataka.
Methodology: A cross-sectional community-based study was con-ducted among elderly population aged 60 years and above residing in the rural community in the field practice area of A.J. Institute of Medical Sciences & Research Cen-tre. A total of 330 subjects aged 60 years and above were randomly included by simple random sam-pling technique from a list of el-derly subjects being maintained at the rural health training center. Us-ing a structured questionnaire, the basic information and history re-garding diagnosis and treatment of hypertension was collected. Blood pressure, height and weight were recorded.
Result: Among the study popula-tion, the prevalence of hyperten-sion was detected to be 58.5%. Among the 184 non-hypertensive subjects, 47 (25.5%) subjects were newly diagnosed as hypertensive. With logistic regression, hyperten-sion cases were associated with age more than 70 [OR 1.754 95% CI 1.056-2.913] and occurrence of dia-betes [OR 2.40 95% CI 1.286-4.510).
Conclusions: Findings of this study emphasize the public health im-portance of hypertension in the el-derly. There is a definite need for screening the elderly, especially diabetics for early diagnosis fol-lowed by regular treatment of hy-pertension to reduce the associated complications.