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Hypertension becoming an epidemic in India: Experts


VIKAS CHAUDHARY | New Delhi, April 6, 2013 16:41
Tags : Hypertension | World Health Day | Diabetes | Metro Hospitals |

India is home to 139 million people of uncontrolled hypertension, which makes around 14 percent of the global population. In India, according to WHO, raised blood pressure has increased from 5 pc in the 1960s to nearly 12 pc in the 1990s and further it increased to above 30 pc in 2008, among them a significant number is in their twenties. The study highlights that high blood pressure or hypertension in adults aged 25 and above was around 40pc.

Speaking on the eve of World Health Day 2013, Padma Vibhushan & Dr.B.C. Roy National awardee Dr. Purshotam Lal, Chairman & Chief Cardiologist, Metro Hospitals and Heart Institute, Noida said, “High blood pressure or hypertension is silent killer as its symptoms rarely show, most of the cases go undiagnosed. Low sodium, low sugar and high potassium diet along with weight loss solutions can be a healthy approach to treating high blood pressure.” Hypertension puts stress on the heart and blood vessels and is one of the major preventable risk factors for premature death from cardiovascular disease worldwide. It kills 7.5 million people worldwide each year — more than AIDS, road accidents, diabetes and tuberculosis put together.

Discussing about the the role of interventional cardiology in the treatment of hypertension, Dr. Purushottam lal announced on the occasion that Metro Hospitals and Heart Institutes is going to introduce Radio Frequency Technique for the treatment of severe Hypertension. This technique is latest development in the treatment of Hypertension and only few medical centres in India have this facility.

As our heart beats, it forces blood through our arteries. This force is called blood pressure. If the pressure is too high, it is called hypertension. High blood pressure may mean that your heart has to work harder to pump blood. Your arteries may be narrow or stiff and the extra work puts you at risk of heart disease, stroke, and other problems. “In our clinical practice we find that about 50 per cent of those suffering from blood pressure are not aware of it and 60 per cent of those who are aware of it are not adequately controlling it. This has led to a spurt of young patients developing heart and other diseases early”, said Dr. P.T. Upasani, senior cardiologist at Metro Hospital.

Minimizing your salt intake can help significantly. Reducing your daily salt intake from 4 grams to 2.3 grams can reduce blood pressure by 5/3mm of mercury in hypertensive people.

Hypertension is an important public health problem in India. It is a modern epidemic, a silent killer; in fact, hypertension is the most prevalent chronic disease in India. Epidemiological studies show a steadily increasing trend in hypertension prevalence over the last 50 years in India contrary to the developed countries where there has been a significant decline. Over 140 million people are believed to be suffering from high blood pressure in our country and the number is expected to cross the 214 million mark in 2030. A WHO estimate in 2012 suggests that 23 per cent men and 22 per cent women above 25 years of age suffer hypertension in India.

An increasing number of healthy children and adolescents across India are being diagnosed with hypertension, which is an emerging problem that no one can afford to ignore. The evidence from studies indicates a recent increase in the prevalence of hypertension in children and young adults, says Dr. Rajesh Bansal, Senior Nephrologist at Metro Multi speciality Hospital.

‘The increase in hypertension is related to rising population-mean systolic blood pressure and is associated with escalating hypertension risk factors like sedentary lifestyle, psychosocial stress, excessive salt intake, alcohol consumption and obesity. Recent studies show that for every known person with hypertension there are two persons with either undiagnosed hypertension or pre-hypertension’, said Dr. Lal, , who is also a member of Governing Board of Medical Council of India (MCI).

“On this eve of World Health Day, when Hypertension is the theme we must not forget that to control the menace of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) we have to have an early risk identification and intervention strategy in place. And for this strategy to succeed, we need to have comprehensive health status reviews done regularly through diagnostic tests and clinical consultations,” said Dr. Lal. India, with a whopping population of 1.2 billion, accounts for one of the highest burdens of NCDs in the world. This fact has been a bane for India’s fight against poverty as well. In low-resource settings, health-care costs for cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes or chronic lung diseases can quickly drain household resources, driving families into poverty. India has a NCD death rate of 701-800 per 100,000 populations (WHO, 2008), and out of this around 400 deaths in 100,000 population are contributed by CVDs. Indians are known to have earlier onset of coronary artery disease, higher mortality, higher prevalence of truncal obesity and people with hypertension. Since CVDs are preventable in many individuals with right mix of exercise diet control and lifestyle modifications, world has seen a shift in focus - from intervention to prediction and then prevention. This becomes important because identification of risk for particular disease gives the individual a critical lead time to take precautionary measures.

Hypertension is a major public health problem worldwide and is one of the risk factors for coronary artery disease and cerebrovascular disease. Development of adult hypertension may start very early in life, and children maintain their position in the blood pressure distribution over time. Increased blood pressure is a high-risk condition that causes approximately 51 per cent deaths from stroke and 45 per cent from coronary artery disease in India. It is a major risk factor for cardio-vascular diseases that killed 2.7 million people in 2004 and will result in the death of over 4 million people by 2030. Hypertension or elevated blood pressure cannot be taken lightly. It can, over a period of time, wreak havoc with one's system. It increases a person's risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and even blindness.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017