Most Indians with hypertension not-so-blissfully unaware

26 September 2015

More than 60 per cent of people with hypertension in India are unaware that they are suffering from the disease, and this trend could lead to a massive rise in the cardiovascular diseases in the country, warns a report released by the Cardiological Society of India (CSI) in New Dellhi on Friday.

The survey, released during a CSI Cardiac Prevent 2015 function, revealed that more than one-third of Indian adults have hypertension, of which 60 per cent are not even aware that they suffer from high blood pressure.

This survey, conducted to map the prevalence of high BP and level of awareness about heart diseases and its risk factors, also revealed that a whopping 42 per cent of the population is suffering from uncontrolled hypertension despite medication.

''The survey presents a disturbing picture in terms of awareness level of people for the risk factors of heart diseases,'' said Ashok Seth, chairman and cardiologist at the Fortis Escorts Heart Institute.

He added that recognition of a huge population with uncontrolled hypertension despite medication was a serious concern as a poorly controlled hypertension was equally detrimental to stroke, heart failure and premature heart attacks.

''This is an important lesson. All people should get their BP checked periodically. Hypertension is the biggest killer in India today,'' Dr Seth added.

The survey was conducted on across 24 states in nearly 200 cities/towns/rural areas and more than 700 sites across all strata of society, with active participation of private and public hospitals.

It covered over a lakh people and was done with the help of 200 national coordinators and 7,500 volunteers.

''The survey results should be act like an alarm bell for policy-makers. It is obvious that to avoid the epidemic of cardiovascular diseases in the country, it is high time to emphasise on preventive measures and timely medical interventions,'' said S. Ramakrishnan, the organising secretary of Great India BP Survey and Cardiac Prevent 2015.

Indicating the prevalence of risk factors and heart-related conditions in the younger populations, the study revealed that 25 per cent of the people between the age group of 31-45 years suffer from undetected hypertension.

''Of all the hypertensive people in the study, more than two thirds are younger than 60 years of age. Hypertension among Indians should not be considered a disease of the older people,'' suggested Dr Shiv Kumar J, the chief cardiologist at Apollo Hospital in Hyderabad.

Hypertension prevalence, its pick up rates, and control rates are surprisingly equally poor even in States with better healthcare infrastructure like Kerala.

''Hypertension is the most important risk factor for heart and brain diseases. The control is poor, and vigorous measures are the need of the hour,'' said Amal Banerjee from Kolkata.

The report cautions that widespread ignorance about risk factors of heart disease indicate a pressing need to raise awareness among the both urban and rural people.

CSI president H K Chopra expressed concern over the steeply rising trend of hypertension over the last two decades among Indians.

''It is a red alert to the nation and people should take preventive measures to take stock of the situation. The CSI will initiate coordinated efforts to curb this menace.''

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