Prevalence of hypertension and associated risk factors among a group of prisoners in Yaoundé Central Prison: a cross-sectional study

Aimée Tiodoung Timnou, Jérôme Boombhi, Sylvain Raoul Simeni Njonnou, Ahmadou Musa Jingi, Kevin Nkem Efon, Hamadou Bâ, Liliane Mfeukeu-Kuate, Chris Nadège Nganou-Ngnindjo, Sylvie Ndongo Amougou, Marie-Josiane Ntsama Essomba, Odette Kengni Kebiwo, Stephane Talbit Ndjonya, Virginie Poka Mayap, Alain Patrick Menanga, Samuel Kingue


Background: Hypertension is a major public health problem worldwide, associated with very high morbidity and mortality. According to the WHO 2013 data, about 1 billion people are affected by hypertension worldwide. This will reach 1.5 billion by 2025. Several occidental studies reported a greater prevalence of hypertension in prison than in the general population. Local data on characteristics of hypertension among prisoners are lacking.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study among incarcerated detainees at Yaoundé Central Prison, from January to July 2017. Analyzed variables included the reason for detention, the degree of guilt, promiscuity, the length of the sentence, the length of detention, the monthly visits and the outings per week.
Results: We recruited 437 inmates (344 men) with an average age of 37.01±13.2 years. The prevalence of hypertension in Yaoundé Central Prison was 39.6%. The main cardiovascular risk factors (CVRFs) were a sedentary lifestyle (91.1%), smoking (31.6%), alcohol consumption (28.1%), known hypertension (14%) and obesity (11.7%). Variables significantly associated with the occurrence of hypertension were: age above 40 years (P<0.0001), obesity (P=0.02), alcohol consumption (P=0.04), the middle (P=0.001) and high (P=0.002) social class, the sentence for major crime (P<0.0001) or offense (P=0.005), a severe sentence (P=0.001), the length of incarceration, no (P=0.006) and high (P=0.03) promiscuity.
Conclusions: High hypertension prevalence was found in the Yaoundé Central (39.6%). The main identified CVRFs were age, obesity, smoking, alcohol and sedentary lifestyle. Detention variables significantly associated with hypertension were: age (>40 years), the middle and high social class, the sentence for a major crime or major offense, a severe sentence, the incarceration length, and no and high promiscuity. There is a need to implement preventive strategies for hypertension in prison.