Majority of Indians unaware they have hypertension, says study

Only 8 pc of diagnosed people have their hypertension in control


May 17, 2019

/ By / Kolkata

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The late detection of hypertension leads to various major health issues

World Hypertension Day is observed on May 17 every year with the aim to spread awareness about the effects of hypertension or high blood pressure and also to promote healthy lifestyle. The theme for this year is ‘Know your numbers’.

A new study published in PLOS Medicine on May 3, 2019 based on the data collected under National Health and Family Survey 2015-16 highlighted the need for an intensive effort to improve upon hypertension awareness, especially in age group of 15-49 years. Hypertension leads to about 9.4 million deaths each year globally of which 1.1 million occur in India. At the World Hypertension Day Conference organised by Indian Medical Association (IMA) in 2018, Prof Rishi Sethi, senior faculty, cardiology at King George’s Medical University had said, “The World Health Organisation says hypertension is the lead cause of death. This is because it gives opportunity to other diseases to kill humans.”

Hypertension or high blood pressure could be a common risk factor for various health issues related to cardiovascular system, nervous system ailments, vision impairments and kidney problems. According to a 2018 report by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), hypertension was responsible for 24 pc of all heart attacks and 29 pc of all stroke-related deaths. Moreover, at least one in three patients with diabetes also have hypertension because they mostly share similar risk factors including being overweight, following an unhealthy diet and an inactive lifestyle. About 25 pc of people with Type 1 diabetes and 80 pc of people with Type 2 diabetes have high blood pressure.

According to the recent study, only three out of four individuals with hypertension has ever had their blood pressure measured, only 45 pc had been diagnosed, and only eight percent of those surveyed had their blood pressure under control. “One of the main causes of death in India is hypertension as it remains undiagnosed due to lack of awareness. The unhealthy lifestyle, junk food consumption and increased stress have brought down the hypertension age to 15-17,” says Dr Himadri Das, resident MD at R G Kar Medical College Hospital, while talking to Media India Group. More than half the number of Indians aged 15-49 with hypertension are unaware of their hypertension status. Awareness level is lowest in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh (22.1 pc) and highest in the south-Indian union territory Puducherry (80.5 pc).

“Hypertension is thought to be the disease of elderly beyond the age of 45-50 by most of the people. But nowadays it is coming early and for even various other causes like hormonal or genetic. The unawareness leads to late detection and by that time it has started to fester in the patient’s body causing internal organ damages,” adds Dr Das. He also emphasised on getting a yearly medical check-up irrespective of age to prevent hypertension and its risks like heart attacks and strokes.

This year’s World Hypertension Day theme ‘Know your numbers’ is urging people to be aware of this condition, and thereby take precautions by checking their blood pressure levels.

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