India needs remedial measures on war footing to control BP levels: Dr C Venkata S Ram
India is on the brink of a cardiovascular disaster and needs remedial measures on war footing to control blood pressure (hypertension) levels, said Dr C. Venkata S. Ram, Director, Apollo Institute for Blood Pressure Management and Director, South Asia Region - World Hypertension League on the eve of World Hypertension Day (WHD).
WHD is observed on May 17 every year to raise awareness on hypertension and World Hypertension League (WHL) ensures its observation world over. The theme of WHD is ‘Know Your Numbers’ with an aim to increase awareness on high blood pressure. Only 50% of those with hypertension are aware of their condition.
In certain communities the awareness is as dismally low as 10%. Of those who are diagnosed, less than half are treated and only a small percentage achieve normal BP levels.
Dr Ram said, ''India is unfortunately being dubbed as the 'Hypertension Capital' of the world and it has become India’s number one killer. Usually high blood pressure causes no symptoms until the damage is done. It is a silent killer.
The community should be aware of this dangerous condition.”
High blood pressure can be easily detected, easily diagnosed, easily treated and easily controlled. High blood pressure is the principal reason for Indian people to suffer from heart attacks, heart failure, stroke-paralysis, kidney failure, and loss of memory.
At present, 140 million people in India have hypertension. This number is expected to go up to 214 million in the next 10 years.
High blood pressure is not just an urban phenomenon, now it has become a big problem in the rural areas all over India.
Apollo research has recently confirmed that high blood pressure is very much prevalent in the remote rural area, through its study at Aragonda in Chittoor district.
High blood pressure does not go away by itself or evaporate. It has to be treated properly and methodically.
The outlook for untreated high blood pressure is same as the outlook for untreated cancer. In other words, high blood pressure has the same significance as cancer.
Telangana has the second highest rate of high blood pressure in the country. According to the report by the national institute of nutrition, 39% men and 29% of women have high blood pressure in Telangana. Medak district has the dubious distinction with high levels of blood pressure in the populace.
Unfortunately, high BP is striking young individuals in our city, the condition is turning alarming and a cause for great concern. If we don’t take care of this immediately, the young are at a risk of stroke/paralysis, heart attack, and kidney failure. BP should be checked even in the young at schools, colleges, work place, IT industry, etc. The trend of high BP in the young is extremely serious and requires urgent attention.
According to Dr. Ram, the definition of hypertension has changed this year. Any blood pressure more than 130/80 is considered hypertension. Previously high blood pressure was applicable only if the blood pressure is more than 140/90. Now, the new definition of hypertension is a blood pressure is 130/80 or more. India should be ready for this new definition, he adds.
Costs including financial/social/societal of untreated high BP are astronomical. According to estimates the annual cost of medical care of patients with hypertension related disease in India is $20 billion. Vascular surgery, heart surgery, dialysis, transplantation, and stroke rehabilitation are very expensive. These complications can be prevented by keeping your BP normal. With life-style changes, dietary caution, and medicines, it is possible to lower your BP. But if the BP is neglected or not treated early on, it is tough to get it under control. So, the key is awareness, early diagnosis, and early treatment. Waiting is harmful. BP will not evaporate, it stays and gets worse.