Insight into blood pressure targets for universal coverage of hypertension services in Iran: The 2017 ACC/AHA versus JNC 8 hypertension guidelines

Mahdi Mahdavi, Mahboubeh Parsaeian, Bahram Mohajer, Mitra Modirian, Naser Ahmadi, Moein Yoosefi, Parinaz Mehdipour, Shirin Djalalinia, Nazila Rezaei, Rosa Haghshenas, Forough Pazhuheian, Zahra Madadi, Mahdi Sabooni, Farideh Razi, Siamak Mirab Samiee, Farshad Farzadfar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Background: We compared the prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension in Iran based on two hypertension guidelines; the 2017 ACC/AHA-with an aggressive blood pressure target of 130/80 mmHg-A nd the commonly used JNC8 guideline cut-off of 140/90 mmHg. We shed light on the implications of the 2017 ACC/AHA for population subgroups and high-risk individuals who were eligible for non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic therapies. Methods: Data was obtained from the Iran national STEPS 2016 study. Participants included 27,738 adults aged ≥25 years as a representative sample of Iranians. Regression models of survey design were used to examine the determinants of prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension. Results: The prevalence of hypertension based on JNC8 was 29.9% (95% CI: 29.2-30.6), which soared to 53.7% (52.9-54.4) based on the 2017 ACC/AHA. The percentage of awareness, treatment, and control were 59.2% (58.0-60.3), 80.2% (78.9-81.4), and 39.1% (37.4-40.7) based on JNC8, which dropped to 37.1% (36.2-38.0), 71.3% (69.9-72.7), and 19.6% (18.3-21.0), respectively, by applying the 2017 ACC/AHA. Based on the new guideline, adults aged 25-34 years had the largest increase in prevalence (from 7.3 to 30.7%). They also had the lowest awareness and treatment rate, contrary to the highest control rate (36.5%) between age groups. Compared with JNC8, based on the 2017 ACC/AHA, 24, 15, 17, and 11% more individuals with dyslipidaemia, high triglycerides, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease events, respectively, fell into the hypertensive category. Yet, based on the 2017 ACC/AHA, 68.2% of individuals falling into the hypertensive category were eligible for receiving pharmacologic therapy (versus 95.7% in JNC8). LDL cholesterol< 130 mg/dL, sufficient physical activity (Metabolic Equivalents≥600/week), and Body Mass Index were found to change blood pressure by-3.56(-4.38,-2.74),-2.04(-2.58,-1.50), and 0.48(0.42, 0.53) mmHg, respectively. Conclusions: Switching from JNC8 to 2017 ACC/AHA sharply increased the prevalence and drastically decreased the awareness, treatment, and control in Iran. Based on the 2017 ACC/AHA, more young adults and those with chronic comorbidities fell into the hypertensive category; these individuals might benefit from earlier interventions such as lifestyle modifications. The low control rate among individuals receiving treatment warrants a critical review of hypertension services.

Original languageEnglish
Article number347
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Iran STEPS 2016 study, that provided data for this research, was supported by Iran’s National Institute of Health Research, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, under contract number 241/m/93/259.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).


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