To assess the prevalence, awareness, treatment and control of hypertension among adults in Ireland and to describe the determinants of awareness, treatment and control in order to inform public health policy.
A cross-sectional study of a nationally representative sample of community living adults aged 50 years and older using data collected from 2009 to 2011 for the first wave of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) (n = 5857). Hypertension was defined as systolic blood pressure (BP) ≥140 mmHg or diastolic BP ≥90 mmHg and/or currently taking antihypertensive medications.
The prevalence of hypertension was 63.7% [95% confidence interval (CI) 62.3-65.1%]. Among those with hypertension, 54.5% (95% CI 52.6-56.2%) were aware of their hypertensive status and 58.9% (95% CI 57.1-60.4%) were on antihypertensive medication. Among those on treatment, 51.6% (95% CI 49.3-53.9%) had their BP controlled to below 140/90 mmHg. Respondents facing financial barriers to primary care and medication were less likely to be on antihypertensive treatment compared with those without financial barriers.
A high prevalence of hypertension was identified in this cohort, with low levels of awareness, treatment and control. Population and primary care interventions are required to reduce prevalence and to improve awareness, detection and management of hypertension.