Paper Title: Association of Severity of Essential Hypertension and Psychiatric co-morbidity in Patients attending the Cardiovascular Out-patients clinic at the University of Port Harcourt (UPTH)
Authors: Nkporbu A.K, Stanley P.C, Ohaeri J.
BACKGROUND: Essential hypertension, a non-communicable disease, is assuming an epidemic dimension, of the nature of a communicable condition, with associated psychiatric comorbidity among the sufferers. AIM: The aim of this study, therefore, was to determine the relationship between the severity of hypertension and psychiatric illness among persons with essential hypertension attending the cardiovascular clinic in UPTH. METHODOLOGY: In this comparative cross-sectional study, following ethical approval from the appropriate committee of the hospital and informed consent from the participants, 360 subjects making up the study group(hypertension) were recruited based on the study s inclusion and exclusion criteria. This was after a pilot study. Severity of hypertension was determined using the Modern Classification of Hypertension by the World Health Organization /International Society of Hypertension grades 1 to 3 where grade 1 corresponds to mild hypertension and grade 3 corresponds to severe hypertension. Subjects were further administered with the study s instruments including the socio-demographic questionnaire, GHQ-12, and WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview(WHO CIDI).The socio-demographic questionnaire, and GHQ-12 were self-administered while the WHO CIDI was based on interview by the researcher. The data were analyzed using the SPSS version 16 statistical package. Confidence interval was set at 95% while P- value of less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant. RESULTS: The study found a higher prevalence of psychiatric co-morbidity (52.2%) among the hypertensives. Depressive illness had the highest prevalence of 106(39.4%), PLWHIV, 47(29.4%). Also, severity of hypertension was significantly negatively correlated with psychiatric co-morbidity persons with essential hypertension. CONCLUSION: The findings in this study indicate that essential hypertension is a chronic debilitating illness associated with psychiatric co-morbidity, and its severity was significantly associated with higher psychic distress as shown by GHQ-12 scores. The results indicate that the management of hypertension should include attention to their mental health and well being of these patients in order to enhance the quality of care.