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Target Organ Damage and Cardiovascular Risk in a Hypertensive Roma Sample Population in Romania
Background: The largest European Roma community resides in Romania, but there is still little published data on cardiovascular (CV) risk factors and disease in this group. This study addresses the prevalence of arterial hypertension, associated CV disease risk, and target organ damage (TOD) in a Roma community from Bucharest, Romania.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional community-based participatory research to assess for CV risk factors, TOD and CV disease, including 806 Roma ethnics (18-83 years) integrated in the local community, 36.16% males. Evaluation included physical examination with blood pressure, pulse wave velocity and anklebrachial measurements, laboratory tests, ECG, echocardiography and fundoscopy.
Results: Prevalence of hypertension was 33.62%, awareness 76.38%, higher in females (p<0.01), and control rate 44.39%. Compared to age-matched normotensives, hypertensives had more left ventricle hypertrophy and more frequently increased pulse pressure. Differences in TOD were attenuated between newly and previously diagnosed, controlled and uncontrolled, hypertensives. Cardiovascular disease was almost absent in normotensives. Ten-year risk for fatal CV disease followed an increasing trend from normotension to long standing hypertension.
Conclusions: This is the first dedicated study to thoroughly assess TOD and risk for fatal CV disease in a Romanian Roma population. Hypertension was less prevalent than in the general population, with similar awareness, possibly as a consequence of integration in the surrounding community. Fatal CV disease risk followed the trend of increasing prevalence of risk factors, and hypertension played an important role in its modulation.
Keywords: hypertension, Roma population, Romani, gypsy, Romania, target organ damage, cardiovascular risk.