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Epidemiology and management of hypertension among refugees in the Middle East: a review of the literature

Abstract

This review aims to explore the burden of hypertension among refugees in the Middle East by reporting its prevalence, risk factors and access to care. A comprehensive literature search was performed using Web of Science, Ovid MEDLINE, PubMed, SCOPUS, CINHAL+, WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on articles spanning from 1948 until 2020. Most studies were cross-sectional in design. After applying eligibility criteria 17 articles and 4 reports were included. Findings showed that hypertension represents a major burden among refugees. Hypertension risk factors present among the refugee population included increased salt intake, physical inactivity, and smoking. The majority of hypertensive refugees sought care for their condition at the public health care services. Barriers to seeking care included high cost of healthcare, accessibility to provided services, and lack of knowledge for the need to seek care. Non-adherence to medication among refugees was primarily linked to cost and lack of symptoms. This review highlights the need for further studies to shed light on the importance of targeting hypertension among refugees, to lower morbidity and mortality, in addition to providing adequate healthcare services to this population.

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Fig. 1: Study Flow Chart.

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Correspondence to Sola Aoun Bahous.

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Zibara, V., Costanian, C., Al Haddad, N. et al. Epidemiology and management of hypertension among refugees in the Middle East: a review of the literature. J Hum Hypertens 35, 657–666 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41371-021-00508-5

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