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Hypertension in sub-Saharan Africa: the current profile, recent advances, gaps, and priorities.

Recent global and regional reports consistently confirm the high and increasing prevalence of hypertension in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), with poor detection, treatment, and control rates. This narrative review summarises the burden of hypertension in SSA and recent findings from community-based hypertension management strategies. We further outline prominent risk factors according to recent data and associated underlying mechanisms for hypertension development. An extensive review of literature showed that most countries have reported on the prevalence of hypertension during 2017-2023, despite limitations linked to the lack of nationally representative studies, heterogeneity of sampling and data collection methods. Task-shifting approaches that assign roles to model patients and community health workers reported improved linkage to healthcare services and adherence to medication, with inconsistent findings on blood pressure (BP)-lowering effects over time. The regularly reported risk factors include unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, increased adiposity and underweight, ageing, level of education, and/or income as well as psychosocial factors. Newer data on the pathophysiological mechanisms leading to hypertension and potential areas of intervention are reported from children and adults and include, among others, salt-handling and volume overload, endothelial function, BP dipping patterns and the role of human immunodeficiency virus . To conclude, significant strides have been made in data reporting from SSA on the burden of hypertension in the region as well as biomarker research to improve understanding and identification of areas of intervention. However, gaps remain on linkage between knowledge generation, translation, and implementation research. Coordinated studies addressing both discovery science and public health are crucial to curb hypertension development and improve management in SSA.

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