Hyderabad: Many Indians are not aware that they suffer from hypertension. The prevalence of hypertension in Indian adults has increased in the past three decades in urban and rural areas.
Hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of death in India. Hypertension generally doesn’t show any outward signs or symptoms but silently damages blood vessels and other organs. People should be aware that it is not a disease but a sign that something is wrong in the body, say doctors.
According to a Global Burden of Diseases study hypertension has caused 1.63 million deaths in India since 2016. Dr Shiva Raju, consultant physician and diabetologist, KIMS Hospitals, Secunderabad, said, “Earlier, hypertension was defined as BP (blood pressure) exceeding 140/85 mmhg, but now it is defined as 130/80 mmhg and above. That makes a huge number of people fall into this category unknowingly.”
He added that it is a matter of concern that the younger generation is getting affected unknowingly.
Some signs and symptoms of hypertension include dizziness, shortness of breath, headaches, fatigue, and sometimes chest pain, palpitations, and nosebleeds.
Dr Raju advises a change in diet, primarily a reduction of salt intake which helps avoid rise in blood pressure. Avoid fried and junk food as far as possible and add more fruits in the diet, as they contain potassium that will reduce Blood Pressure. Physical activity on a regular basis will cut down the calories and weight, increase heart capacity and reduce blood pressure.
Dr K. K. Aggarwal, president-elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania, says that hypertension is not a disease but a sign that something is wrong in the body. “The prevalence of hypertension in Indian adults has shown a drastic increase in the past three decades in urban as well as rural areas. It is important to get an annual check-up done after the age of 30 even if you have no family history of hypertension, are not diabetic or don’t have any other lifestyle-related disorder,” he advises.
With 50 per cent of the population under 40 years of age, Indians, in comparison to western nations, are starting to suffer from hypertension at an younger age. The first heart attacks and strokes, on average, occur almost a decade earlier.
Dr A Sai Ravi Shanker, Sr. Consultant Cardiologist said, “Social determinants of hypertension are important and Indian states with greater urbanisation, human development and social development have more hypertension. There is poor association of hypertension prevalence with healthcare availability although there is positive association with healthcare access and quality. The health system in India should focus on better hypertension screening and control to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. We need to screen and promote healthy lifestyles early to avoid the crisis India is heading for”.
Meanwhile, the Great India BP Survey stated that 19 per cent of the respondents suffer from hypertension. It also said that 49 per cent of the respondents had uncontrolled blood pressure....