Hitherto, diagnosis of hypertension in sub-Saharan Africa was largely based on conventional office blood pressure (BP). Data on the prevalence of masked hypertension (MH) in this region is scarce. Among individuals with normal office BP (<140/90 mm Hg), we compared the prevalence and determinants of MH diagnosed with self-monitored home blood pressure (≥135/85 mm Hg) among 293 Nigerians with a reference population consisting of 3615 subjects enrolled in the International Database on Home Blood Pressure in Relation to Cardiovascular Outcomes. In the reference population, the prevalence of MH was 14.6% overall and 11.1% and 39.6% in untreated and treated participants, respectively. Among Nigerians, the prevalence standardized to the sex and age distribution of the reference population was similar with rates of 14.4%, 8.6%, and 34.6%, respectively. The mutually adjusted odds ratios of having MH in Nigerians were 2.34 (95% confidence interval, 1.39-3.94) for a 10-year higher age, 1.92 (1.11-3.31) and 1.70 (1.14-2.53) for 10- or 5-mm Hg increments in systolic or diastolic office BP, and 3.05 (1.08-8.55) for being on antihypertensive therapy. The corresponding estimates in the reference population were similar with odds ratios of 1.80 (1.62-2.01), 1.64 (1.45-1.87), 1.13 (1.05-1.22), and 2.84 (2.21-3.64), respectively. In conclusion, MH is as common in Nigerians as in other populations with older age and higher levels of office BP being major risk factors. A significant proportion of true hypertensive subjects therefore remains undetected based on office BP, which is particularly relevant in sub-Saharan Africa, where hypertension is now a major cause of death.
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