Ethnic variation, socioeconomic status, and factors associated with cardio-metabolic multi-morbidity among uncontrolled hypertension in multiethnic Singapore

Yeli Wang, Ngiap Chuan Tan, Tazeen H Jafar
Journal of Human Hypertension 2021 April 9
Identifying patients with hypertension at high risk of cardio-metabolic multi-morbidity (CMM) is key for intervention. We examined the independent association of CMM with ethnicity and socioeconomic status (SES) among patients with uncontrolled hypertension. Demographic, socioeconomic, lifestyle, and clinical factors were obtained from 921 patients aged ≥40 years with hypertension in the multiethnic Singapore. CMM was defined as having ≥2 chronic diseases (diabetes mellitus, heart disease, stroke, and chronic kidney disease), which were confirmed by medical records or laboratory measurements. The overall CMM prevalence was 20.9% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 18.4-23.6%). The CMM prevalence was higher in Malays (27.1%) and Indians (30.2%) than Chinese (18.8%), and it was higher among patients with lower SES (ranging from 21.3 to 23.9% using education, employment status, housing ownership and housing types as proxies) compared to those with higher SES (13.1-20.8%). In a multivariate model comprising demographic and socioeconomic factors (age, sex, ethnicity and SES), higher CMM odds were independently associated with ethnic minorities (Malays [OR 1.81; 95% CI: 1.10-2.98] or Indians [OR 2.21; 95% CI: 1.49-3.29] vs. Chinese) and lower SES (unemployment [OR 1.45; 95% CI: 1.02-2.05] and residing in smaller public housing [OR 1.95; 95% CI: 1.16-3.28]). Other correlates of CMM included age, men, central obesity, and poorer dietary quality (lower fruits and vegetables intakes). CMM affected one out of five patients with hypertension in Singapore. Intervention programs should target patients with hypertension, particularly those of ethnic minorities and from lower socioeconomic strata.

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