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Elizana Petrela, Genc Burazeri, Fatjona Pupuleku, Edmond Zaimi and Mizanur Rahman

Abstract

We assessed the prevalence and socioeconomic and behavioural correlates of hypertension in the young to middle-aged population of Albania, a transitional post-communist country in the Western Balkans. We analysed a sample of 2,837 men and 3,580 women aged 15 to 49 from the 2008/2009 Albanian Demographic and Health Survey. Hypertension was defined as SBP≥140 mm Hg, or DBP≥90 mm Hg, or if the subjects were under treatment for hypertension. Data on demographic and socioeconomic characteristics and behavioural factors were also collected. Logistic regression was used to assess the association of hypertension with covariates. Hypertension was significantly higher among men (27.3 %) than women (20.0 %), and significantly increased with age. The harmful effect of excessive weight and obesity on hypertension was stronger among women than among men and this effect increased with age, especially in women. Smoking and alcohol were risk factors for hypertension in men, but not women. Education had a protective effect on hypertension in women but not in men.