Growing Cases of Hypertension in India

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 India, like many other countries, has been ravaged by the pandemic. Even as India continues to go through an epidemiological transition, it’s high time, we check out on few alarming facts and figures, otherwise it is bound to have larger and serious socio-economic impacts, going forward..                                                                   

In India, almost 30 per cent of the adults have hypertension, and an alarmingly high number are unaware of their condition. Hypertension or high blood pressure is a serious medical condition that is responsible for at least 10.4 million deaths and 218 million disabilities adjusted life years (DALY) globally. Over 1.13 billion people in the world live with this chronic condition. In India, untreated and uncontrolled Blood Pressure (BP), has become a leading cause for premature death and disability.         

And then there is these facts also. Cardiovascular disease (CVD), primarily ischaemic heart disease and stroke, is the leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 17.7 million deaths annually. WHO estimates that India accounts for over a fifth of these deaths. Awareness of hypertension in India is low while appropriate treatment and control are even lower. Undetected and untreated hypertension has been ranked as the highest risk factor for heart disease and related deaths.                                               

That’s not all. We need to look at this fact also. Almost one in five women aged 15–49 years in India has undiagnosed hypertension with implications for personal and reproductive health.        

Hypertension is a silent killer – that can add to the burden of disease in a country that is already going through a healthcare catastrophe or public health emergency.                                                                            

Hypertension – or high blood pressure – is a serious medical condition that is one of the leading causes of death in the world. After more than a year of the coronavirus pandemic, there is enough evidence that people with high blood pressure are more likely to get severely sick or die if they get Covid-19.                   

Mind you that the Government of India is committed to reducing the prevalence of hypertension in India by 25 per cent by 2025. Achieving this goal will require effectively treating an additional 4.5 crore people with hypertension in the next four years. We need to act fast and properly to strengthen our health systems to work on  creating more opportunities for identifying care gaps, bringing about inter-sectoral collaboration and pooling resources so that no opportunity is missed to screen, treat and control hypertension, across all age-groups, geographies and socio-economic strata.                                               

All these moves assume great significance in the wake of the fact that a high prevalence of hypertension exacts a tremendous price on public health. The pandemic has shown us how people living with chronic conditions like hypertension can become sicker and be more at risk of dying.                 

One has to keep in mind that unless blood pressure is measured, hypertension cannot be detected, since it has no symptoms. Demographers, doctors and public health experts  therefore strongly advocate for considering treatment and management of hypertension as a public health priority for India.           

These experts think that regular preventive health check-ups should be especially encouraged among the younger working age (35-65 years) and women in the reproductive age to pick up underlying hypertension, that can potentially lead to adverse cardiovascular or reproductive health events.               

This menace needs to be controlled, by all means, through politico-bureaucratic and media advocacy, capacity building of health professionals and generating evidence for policy and practice. Is anyone in the corridors of power listening?

Disclaimer :- This post is independently published by the author. Infeed neither backs nor assumes liability for the opinions put forth by the author.

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