Canadian Journal of Cardiology

Comparison of Diagnosed, Self-Reported, and Physically-Measured Hypertension in Canada

Published:February 11, 2013DOI:



      Hypertension is a substantial health concern because it poses significant risks for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality and is highly prevalent in the population. Tracking hypertension is important because it is a risk factor for other conditions, but prevalence estimates might vary depending on the data source used.


      This report describes 3 national population-based data sources for estimating hypertension prevalence in Canada and discusses their strengths and weaknesses to aid in their use for policy and program planning. They are compared based on: sample coverage, case identification, and prevalence estimates.


      Each source produces a different measure of hypertension prevalence, as follows: (1) diagnosed hypertension from the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System (CCDSS) (2007/2008); (2) self-reported diagnosed hypertension from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) (2007-2008); and, (3) physically-measured hypertension from the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) (2007-2009). Crude rates and counts of hypertension prevalence among individuals aged 20 to 79 years of age, excluding pregnant women, are compared, resulting in prevalence ranging from 18.2% in self-report data to 20.3% in diagnosed data. The data sources differ in terms of target population, case identification, and limitations, which affects the estimates.


      Each source has unique strengths and is best suited for addressing particular research questions. For example, diagnosed hypertension can be used to determine health care utilization patterns, self-reported to examine health determinants, and measured high blood pressure to improve awareness, treatment, and control. Combined, they can address multiple issues and increase our knowledge of hypertension in Canada.



      L’hypertension est une préoccupation de santé considérable puisqu’elle pose des risques significatifs de morbidité et de mortalité, et qu’elle est fortement prévalente dans la population. Le suivi de l’hypertension est important parce qu’elle est un facteur de risque d’autres affections. Néanmoins, les estimations de la prévalence pourraient varier en fonction de la source de données utilisée.


      Ce rapport décrit 3 sources de données nationales sur la population pour l’estimation de la prévalence de l’hypertension au Canada, et discute de leurs forces et de leurs faiblesses pour faciliter leur utilisation à la planification des politiques et des programmes. Elles sont comparées en fonction de la couverture de l’échantillon, de l’identification des cas et des estimations de la prévalence.


      Chaque source produit une mesure différente de la prévalence de l’hypertension comme suit: 1) le diagnostic de l’hypertension du Système national de surveillance des maladies chroniques (SNSMC) (2007-2008); 2) le diagnostic d’hypertension déclarée par le patient de l’Enquête sur la santé dans les collectivités canadiennes (ESCC) (2007-2008); 3) l’hypertension mesurée physiquement de l’Enquête canadienne sur les mesures de la santé (ECMS) (2007-2009). Les taux bruts et les comptes de la prévalence de l’hypertension chez les individus âgés de 20 à 79 ans, excluant les femmes enceintes, sont comparés et montrent une prévalence se situant entre 18,2 % dans les données déclarées par le patient à 20,3 % dans les données diagnostiques. Les sources de données diffèrent en ce qui concerne la population cible, l’identification des cas et les limitations, qui influencent les estimations.


      Chaque source a des forces uniques et est faite pour traiter des questions particulières de la recherche. Par exemple, le diagnostic de l’hypertension peut être utilisé pour déterminer les modèles d’utilisation des soins de santé, le diagnostic d’hypertension déclarée par le patient, pour examiner les déterminants de la santé, et l’hypertension mesurée physiquement, pour améliorer la prise de conscience, le traitement et la maîtrise. Combinés, ils peuvent répondre aux problèmes multiples et améliorer notre connaissance de l’hypertension au Canada.
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