Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Rise in hypertension or high blood pressure in rural areas

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: The life in the countryside is no longer calm and
peaceful, if medical statistics on hypertension are any indication.
About 63 per cent of people in rural areas suffer from diastolic
hypertension and two-thirds of people do not know about the bad
effects of hypertension or high blood pressure on one’s health.

There is a high (45 per cent) prevalence of cardio-metabolic risk.
Elevated cardio-metabolic risk scores were associated with
statistically significant graded
elevation in blood pressure.

A study conducted by a team of city doctors, the first one to assess
knowledge, awareness and practice about hypertension in patients on
anti-hypertensive medications in rural Andhra Pradesh, revealed that a
high prevalence of hypertension and pre-hypertension in the countryside.

Dr Mohammed A Rafey, Dr R Santosh, Dr SG Moazzam, P Sowmiya and
Abhilash S Pillai of Apollo Hospitals conducted the research. They
found that 69 per cent of patients, who are on anti-hypertensive
treatment, had uncontrolled hypertension.

“Early heart disease is a major cause for morbidity and mortality in
India. There is a high prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors like
hypertension and diabetes. Characterizing the hypertension profile and
early detection of patients with cardio-metabolic disarray in Indians
will be key in planning primary and secondary interventions to reduce
the cardiovascular disease burden in India,” said Dr Mohammad Rafey.

Only a third, 34 per cent of those found to be hypertensive were aware
they had hypertension. A majority 71.2 per cent of them were taking
antihypertensive medications.
Of those who were aware they had hypertension and were taking
anti-hypertensive medications, more than two-third (69 per cent)
patients had uncontrolled hypertension with an average blood pressure
of 139/99 mmHg.

There was no significant difference between the blood pressure levels
of those, who were illiterate, and those, who were literate.

Almost half of the individuals, who underwent screening, were found to
be at increased cardio-metabolic risk. Hypertension remains a major
risk factor for patients dying of heart disease. Indians are at risk
for death from heart disease at an earlier age compared to most other
emerging economies.

Onset of hypertension can be prevented and delayed with simple healthy
lifestyle interventions like, lowering salt intake, eating more fruits
and vegetables, avoiding high fat diet, regular exercise. In patients
with hypertension, in addition to healthy lifestyle interventions,
adequate dose and number of medications can control blood pressure in
the majority of patients and thereby prevent damage to target organs
including the heart, kidney and brain.

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