Hypertension remains one of the most crucial health problems and the most common chronic non-communicable disease worldwide. Lack of knowledge of the disease risk factors has contribute significantly to the increasing rate of hypertension worldwide. This study was aimed at assessing the prevalence and knowledge of risk factors associated with hypertension in Buea Health District. A community-based cross-sectional survey of a random sample of 322 participants was conducted from March to June 2017. Questionnaire was designed to obtain information from participants on the general knowledge of risk factors. Moreover, blood pressure and BMI were also determined. Data were analyzed using SPSS Statistics 20.0 and were considered significant at P ≤ 0.05. The prevalence of hypertension in this study was 35.7%. Most hypertensive individuals (89.6%) were not aware that they have the disease. The prevalence was higher in urban communities (42.9%) than semi-urban (32.7%) or rural communities (32.1%), (P > 0.23). The knowledge of risk factors of hypertension was reasonable among > 73% of the respondents. However, < 35% could distinguish between modifiable and non-modifiable factors of hypertension (P>0.05). Blood pressure and BMI were significantly associated with knowledge of risk factors of hypertension (P<0.005). Respondents with normal blood pressure tended to be 2.3 times (OR=2.36, 95% CI: 0.561-1.123, P=0.002) more knowledgeable of risk factors of hypertension than hypertensive individuals. Similarly, respondents with normal weight were 4.1 times (OR = 4.12, 95% CI: 3.78– 5.79, P=0.003) more likely to have a good level of knowledge of risk factors of hypertension than their overweight/obese counterparts. The study identified a high prevalence of hypertension in the study area compared to previous studies and gaps in the knowledge of modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors of hypertension among inhabitants of Buea health district. Thus, a need for health education on the risk factors of hypertension to prevent the disease.
Keywords : Prevalence; Hypertension; BMI; Modifiable and Non-Modifiable Risk Factors.