Hypertension Related Co-Morbidities and Complications in Women of Sub-Saharan Africa: A Brief Review

Taija M. Hahka, Rebecca A. Slotkowski, Anum Akbar, Matt C. Vanormer, Lawrence Fred Sembajwe, Abdul M. Ssekandi, Agnes Namaganda, Haruna Muwonge, Josephine N. Kasolo, Annettee Nakimuli, Naome Mwesigwa, Jeanne A. Ishimwe, Robert Kalyesubula, Annet Kirabo, Ann L. Anderson Berry, Kaushik P. Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Hypertension is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease in women, and sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries have some of the highest rates of hypertension in the world. Expanding knowledge of causes, management, and awareness of hypertension and its co-morbidities worldwide is an effective strategy to mitigate its harms, decrease morbidities and mortality, and improve individual quality of life. Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDPs) are a particularly important subset of hypertension, as pregnancy is a major stress test of the cardiovascular system and can be the first instance in which cardiovascular disease is clinically apparent. In SSA, women experience a higher incidence of HDP compared with other African regions. However, the region has yet to adopt treatment and preventative strategies for HDP. This delay stems from insufficient awareness, lack of clinical screening for hypertension, and lack of prevention programs. In this brief literature review, we will address the long-term consequences of hypertension and HDP in women. We evaluate the effects of uncontrolled hypertension in SSA by including research on heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, peripheral arterial disease, and HDP. Limitations exist in the number of studies from SSA; therefore, we will use data from countries across the globe, comparing and contrasting approaches in similar and dissimilar populations. Our review highlights an urgent need to prioritize public health, clinical, and bench research to discover cost-effective preventative and treatment strategies that will improve the lives of women living with hypertension in SSA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-473
Number of pages15
JournalCirculation Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 16 2024


  • cardiovascular diseases
  • health inequities
  • kidney diseases
  • pre-eclampsia
  • pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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