Background: Many black persons in South Africa have been subjected to urbanisation and urbanisation has led to a significant increase in diseases of lifestyle. The determinants of hypertension in a population in transition have not been well-defined and there is a pressing need for observational epidemiological studies as well as randomised-controlled trials in populations from Africa. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between blood pressure and factors known to contribute to hypertension. Methods: The study sample consisted mainly of Setswana speaking people, divided into different levels (strata) of urbanisation, namely stratum 1 (rural) to stratum 5 (urbanised). A total of 1821 black subjects, which included 1040 woman, were recruited and randomly selected from 37 sites from the four geographical quarters of the North West Province of South Africa. The following questionnaires were used: demographic, anthropometric, quantitative food frequency, physical activity and scales to measure psychosocial variables. Biochemical analysis (standardised methods) were done on the serum and plasma of the subjects and the
The improved Finapres apparatus, known as the Finometer, measures finger blood pressure noninvasively on a beat-to-beat basis and gives waveform measurements similar to intra-arterial recordings. The Finometer measures brachial pressure and corrects for finger pressure accordingly. It also corrects for the hydrostatic height of the finger with respect to the heart level. The objective was to validate the Finometer according to the revised British Hypertension Society (BHS) protocol and the criteria of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI). We carried out a main validation test using a subject group of 102 black women, which was also divided into smaller groups, namely 24 hypertensives, 25 obese normotensive and 35 lean normotensive women. Finometer and mercury sphygmomanometer blood pressure (BP) measurements were taken early in the morning before breakfast, after the subjects stayed overnight in a research unit. Within the whole subject group, the Finometer satisfied the AAMI criteria for accuracy and achieved an overall A/B grading according to the BHS criteria. The sphygmomanometer measurements were 128 7 20/ 78 7 12 mmHg compared to 130 7 20/78 7 11 mmHg for the Finometer. The average differences between the mercury sphygmomanometer and Finometer readings for systolic and diastolic BP were, respectively, À1.83 7 6.8 and 0.88 7 7.5. Systolic readings of the Finometer device differed by less than 5 mmHg for 64%, by less than 10 mmHg for 86% and differed by less than 15 mmHg for 96% of all readings. A total of 63% of all diastolic readings of the Finometer by less than 5 mmHg, 85% by less than 10 mmHg and 94% of all readings differed by less than 15 mmHg. On the basis of these results, the Finometer device satisfied the validation criteria of AAMI and received an A/B grading according to the BHS protocol. It can therefore be recommended for measurements in the clinical set-up and for research purposes.
During the 5 years, 24% of Africans with optimal BP developed hypertension. The surge in hypertension in Africa is largely explained by modifiable risk factors. Public health strategies should focus aggressively on lifestyle to prevent a catastrophic burden on the national health system.
The integrated relationship between inflammation, obesity and cardiovascular disease is currently a subject of much research interest. These specific relationships, however, have not been studied in-depth in South African population groups in order to determine the role of ethnicity. It is known that Africans, compared to Caucasians, suffer from a high prevalence of hypertension. It was therefore hypothesized that the levels of inflammatory markers (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), fibrinogen and leptin) are higher in Africans compared to Caucasians and are notably associated with cardiovascular dysfunction in Africans. Apparently healthy African (N ¼ 102) and Caucasian (N ¼ 115) women, matched for age and body mass index (BMI), were recruited. Leptin, hsCRP, fibrinogen and lipid levels, waist circumference (WC), BMI, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, cardiac output (CO), total peripheral resistance (TPR) and Windkessel compliance were measured. Results showed that the levels of leptin, hsCRP and fibrinogen were significantly higher (Po0.05) in the African women. The inflammatory markers correlated strongly with cardiovascular parameters, age and obesity (BMI, WC) in both groups, but after adjusting for age and obesity, none of the correlations were significant anymore. Multiple regression analyses (with leptin, hsCRP or fibrinogen as dependent variable) showed that only leptin levels of African women were explained by cardiovascular parameters (BP, TPR and CO). In conclusion, even though African women had significantly higher leptin, hsCRP, fibrinogen and blood pressure levels than Caucasian women, no cardiovascular parameters explained the variation in the inflammatory markers (except for leptin levels of African women).
High leptin levels are often observed in human obesity and are implicated in obesity-related hypertension. Leptin levels have been found to be higher in hypertensive obese African-American women compared to normotensive African-American women, but a direct association between leptin and blood pressure could not be obtained. Additionally, increased adiposity has been associated with higher aortic stiffness in obese African-American women, but leptin was not included in the study. The effects of leptin on cardiovascular function in African women have not yet been determined. We hypothesised that leptin is directly associated with blood pressure and decreased arterial compliance and that leptin levels are significantly higher in hypertensive overweight/obese African women compared to normotensive overweight/obese African women. A case-case control study was performed which included 98 African women. The subjects were divided into lean normotensive (lean NT), overweight/obese normotensive (OW/OB NT) and overweight/obese hypertensive (OW/OB HT). The Finometer apparatus was used to obtain a more elaborate cardiovascular profile. Serum leptin and insulin levels as well as the HOMA-IR index were determined. Various anthropometric measures were obtained. Leptin levels were elevated (Pp0.05) in the OW/OB NT and HT groups compared to the lean NT group, but were similar in the OW/OB NT and HT groups. After adjusting for obesity, insulin resistance, hyperinsulinaemia and age, a direct positive correlation was obtained between leptin and systolic blood pressure (SBP) (Pp0.05; r ¼ 0.68) in the OW/OB HT group. Additionally, leptin also correlated negatively with arterial compliance (Pp0.05; r ¼ À0.76) and positively with pulse pressure (Pp0.05; r ¼ 0.71) in the OW/OB HT group. In conclusion, even though leptin levels were the same in OW/OB HT and NT African women, leptin was directly and positively associated with SBP and pulse pressure and negatively with C W only in OW/OB HT African women, independent of obesity, insulin-resistance, hyperinsulinaemia and age.
The significant improvements in BRS obtained by a diet rich in cashew nuts underline the beneficial cardiovascular effects of nuts. However, the opposite result was obtained with a diet rich in walnuts. These significant changes observed might indicate that BRS is particularly sensitive and influenced by changes in diet without changes in obesity.
The results from this study demonstrate that the considerable difference between the central pressure estimates of Omron HEM-9000AI and SphygmoCor is due to algorithm differences, and suggest that the overestimation by Omron HEM-9000AI is larger than the underestimation by SphygmoCor.
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