Hypertension in goldminers
Methods. We conducted a retrospective, descriptive 1-year hypertension prevalence study in Gauteng Harmony Mine Operations in South Africa. Patient profiles and blood pressure (BP) measurements were retrieved from the company electronic data systems. Follow-up entries made at all the different health facilities that serve this population were examined. Continuous variables were summarised using means or medians with standard deviations. Categorical deviations, including ethnicity, were summarised using percentages and/or frequencies.
Results. Of the 4 297 subjects (100% of the mining population in the study period), 4 286 (99%) were black Africans; 90% were men; mean age was 44.62 years; and 39.5% (N=1 696) had hypertension, for which 42% (N=719) received pharmacological treatment, of which 31% (13% of the total hypertensive population) achieved an adequate BP control target of <140/90 mmHg. Pharmacological treatment included diuretics (38.5%), angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (30.16%), calcium channel blockers (26%), beta-blockers (4.47%), angiotensin-receptor blockers (0.17%) and centrally acting agents (0.07%), usually taken in combination.
Conclusion. We confirmed that hypertension is an important health challenge for the mining industry in South Africa. Detection, treatment and adequate control of hypertension should receive high priority from the mining authorities.
L M Maepe, Clinical Manager, Sir Albert Medical Centre
K Outhoff, Department of Pharmacology, University of Pretoria
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Date published: 2011-12-14
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