Number of people with hypertension in India shows significant increase in the last one year

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

A majority with the condition are unaware of it

New Delhi, 10 May 2018: According to a preventive health programme conducted by a union health ministry, around 1 of every 8 people in India have high blood pressure. The results were drawn after screening about 22.5 million adults across 100 districts in India in 2017. The figures have increased significantly from the 1 in every 11 indicated by the National Family Health Survey in 2015/16. This indicates an urgent need for people to change their current lifestyles for achieving better health outcomes.

What is alarming is the fact that the screened population belongs to the rural pockets of India, where hypertension has so far not been reported as a significant health concern. The health ministry programme defines high blood pressure as a reading of more 140/90 mmHg; globally, even a reading of 130 is considered high blood pressure.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Many people with hypertension are not aware of the condition and therefore, the risk of associated long-term health complications such as heart disease. Treatment without a proper and timely screening cannot serve any purpose. In the absence of proper lifestyle changes, people can even become dependent on medication for life. High blood pressure imposes an up-front burden in people who know they have it and who are working to control it. It adds to worries about health. It alters what you eat and how active you are, since a low-sodium diet and exercise are important ways to help keep blood pressure in check.”

Perhaps because of all the ways hypertension interferes with health, the average life span for people with it is five years shorter than it is for those with normal blood pressure.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, “High blood pressure is not a disease but a sign that something is wrong in the body. In some people with hypertension, the culprit is a narrowing of the arteries supplying the kidneys (renal artery stenosis), or an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) or adrenal glands (aldosteronism). When these are treated, blood pressure drops back to normal. More often, though, doctors find no underlying cause for high blood pressure. This condition is called essential hypertension.”

Some tips from HCFI.

Achieve and maintain a healthy weight for your height.
Exercise regularly.
Eat a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Limit sodium intake to under 2,300 milligrams a day (one teaspoon of salt), and get plenty of potassium (at least 4,700 mg per day) from fruits and vegetables.
Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
Reduce stress.
Monitor your blood pressure regularly, and work with your doctor to keep it in a healthy range.

Only 40% Indians are aware that they suffer from hypertension

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The May Measurement Month is an effort to create awareness and encourage people to get checked at regular intervals

New Delhi, 08 May 2018: May 2018 has been declared as the Measurement Month worldwide by doctors to get more people to pay closer attention to their blood pressure and avoid the silent killer called hypertension. Hypertension is defined as sustained high blood pressure over five weeks or more. The condition shows no real symptoms and can lead to complications such as kidney failure, stroke and even blindness in the longer term.

India has about 200 million adults with hypertension. Of this, only 40% are aware of the condition and only 20% take measures to tackle it. In light of this, a worldwide public screening initiative was signed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) along with other stakeholders as part of the May Measurement Month.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI), said, “In India, it exerts substantial public health burden on cardiovascular health status and the health care system. Hypertension is estimated to account for 10.8 percent of all the deaths and 4.6% of DALYs in the country. The adult Hypertension prevalence has shown a drastic increase in the past three decades in urban as well as rural areas. It is important to get an annual checkup 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. For those in the high-risk category, a checkup is advised every month. Hypertension can be prevented provided a person makes necessary lifestyle changes right at the outset. The aim of May Measurement Month is to spread the message of prevention and encourage people across various age groups to check their blood pressure at regular intervals.”

Although rare, some symptoms of hypertension can include dizziness, shortness of breath, headaches, fatigue, and sometimes chest pain, palpitations, and nosebleeds.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, “High blood pressure imposes an up-front burden in people who know they have it and who are working to control it. It adds to worries about health. It alters what you eat and how active you are, since a low-sodium diet and exercise are important ways to help keep blood pressure in check. Some people need medication and may need to take one or more pills a day, which can be a costly hassle.”
Some tips from HCFI.
• Achieve and maintain a healthy weight for your height.
• Exercise regularly.
• Eat a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
• Limit sodium intake to under 2,300 milligrams a day (one teaspoon of salt), and get plenty of potassium (at least 4,700 mg per day) from fruits and vegetables.
• Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
• Reduce stress.
• Monitor your blood pressure regularly, and work with your doctor to keep it in a healthy range.

Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring is imperative for accurate BP readings

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Social Health Community Comments Off

BP can differ in various settings due to which it must be monitored every day

New Delhi, 01st May 2018: Research by the American Heart Association has indicated that crossing your legs or even talking can have a significant impact on your blood pressure reading and identifies seven common errors that can lead to inaccurate blood pressure readings. Hypertension or high blood pressure is one of the most prevalent health conditions today. About 1 in every 5 Indians suffers from this, making it imperative to keep a regular check.

Studies indicate that readings may differ based on the settings in which they are taken, a condition called “White Coat hypertension”. The need of the hour is to understand the reasons for this and the importance of Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM). ABPM is one of the ways to monitor blood pressure regularly on the move as part of your daily routine.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India, said, “A person’s BP varies throughout the day. Even under optimal conditions, many patients are apprehensive when seeing a doctor. This causes an acute rise in BP. About 20% to 30% of patients with hypertension in the clinic are normotensive outside the clinic. This is called ‘white coat’ or isolated office hypertension and should be suspected in any patient with marked high BP in the absence of end-organ damage or with normal ambulatory BP taken at work or at home. The presence of white coat hypertension can be diagnosed by 24-hour ABPM or self-recorded readings or by having a nurse measure the BP. The white-coat effect can persist for years. For monitoring therapy, the BP should be measured at roughly the same time each day and the relation to meals and medications noted.”

In ABPM, a digital machine takes your blood pressure by inflating a cuff around your upper arm and then slowly releasing the pressure. This can be worn on your belt with the cuff staying on your upper arm for 24 hours. It notes BP readings at regular intervals throughout the day and must be kept on throughout the night.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “An accurate BP measurement can go a long way in preventing heart disease and stroke eventually as well. High BP is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular diseases and if kept under control, can reduce the burden of associated health conditions. Lifestyle changes such as reducing sodium and alcohol intake, healthy eating, and regular exercise can help in managing BP.”

Some measurement mistakes that can lead to high BP are as follows.

  • Having a full bladder – This can add 10-15 points to your reading. You should always empty your bladder before measuring blood pressure.
  • Slouching, unsupported back/feet – Poor support when sitting can increase your reading by 6-10points. Make sure you’re in a chair with your back supported and feet flat on the floor or a footstool.
  • Unsupported arm – If your arm is hanging by your side or you have to hold it up during a reading, you may see numbers up to 10 points higher than they should be. Position your arm on a chair or counter, so that the measurement cuff is level with your heart.
  • Wrapping the cuff over clothing – This common error can add 5-50 points to your reading. Instead, be sure the cuff is placed on a bare arm.
  • When the cuff is too small – Your pressure may read 2-10 points higher. Ensure a proper fit. Your healthcare provider can help you with this.
  • Sitting with crossed legs – While polite, it could increase a blood pressure reading 2-8 points. It’s best to uncross your legs as well as ensure your feet are supported.
  • Talking – Answering questions, talking on the phone, etc. can add 10 points. Stay still and silent to ensure an accurate measurement.

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