Impact of disease screening on awareness and management of hypertension and diabetes between 2011 and 2015: results from the China health and retirement longitudinal study

Li, Chihua; Lumey, L. H.

There has been a limited recognition of hypertension and diabetes in China which has compromised optimal treatment. It is not clear if a screening program implemented by a national health survey has improved awareness and management of these conditions.

The China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) is an ongoing longitudinal health survey conducted since 2011 among Chinese people aged 45 years and older. Participants have been assessed every two years by interviews, physical examinations, and fasting glucose samples were taken in 2011. In 2013 and 2015, participants were asked about awareness and management of selected chronic diseases, and they first became aware of these conditions.

Of the 11,000+ participants screened in 2011, 4594 were identified with hypertension and 1703 with diabetes by medical examinations. Over 80% of the middle-aged and elderly Chinese diagnosed with hypertension and/or diabetes in 2011 reported in 2015 that they were unaware of the disease(s). Although some improvement was observed between 2011 and 2015, the main reason for the increase in awareness was a medical examination initiated by the study participant (over 75%), by their work unit or community (12–15%), and rarely (less than 3%) by the CHARLS examination. Participants with a rural household registration status and lower BMI were the most likely to be unaware and to remain unaware of their condition(s).

Disease screening in CHARLS did not lead to significant improvements in awareness of hypertension and diabetes. Improvements should be made by the systematic feedback of screening results to survey participants and the monitoring of disease awareness over time. This will be essential to improve disease recognition and facilitate optimal management.

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BMC Public Health

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Published Here
December 20, 2022


CHARLS health survey, Aging population, Awareness, Management, Effective communication, Cardiovascular disease, Diabetes and hypertension