New Delhi, May 8
A nationally representative study on the burden of high blood pressure in India has revealed that over 70 per cent of the people suffering from hypertension are not aware of it.
The Indian Council of Medical Research-National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (ICMR-NCDIR) study, published in the Journal of Human Hypertension, found that 28.5 per cent of the Indian adults were hypertensive.
The study covered 10,593 adults. Of them, 3,017 (28.5 pc) were found to have hypertension. While 840 (27.9 pc) were aware they were in the hypertensive bracket, 72.1 pc were unaware and undiagnosed. Among those aware, just 438 (14.5 pc) were under treatment.
The findings become significant in light of hypertension being one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVD), particularly ischemic heart disease and stroke. Currently, it is estimated that 28.1% of all deaths in India were due to CVD, and high systolic blood pressure (SBP) was the single largest contributor (8.5%) to disability-adjusted life years DALYs (productive years of life lost).
The prevalence of hypertension in the landmark national study was higher in urban areas (34%) than in rural areas (25.7%).
Among those receiving treatment, 99.6% were on allopathic medicines. Only 20% were being treated in public facilities while 80% were turning to the private sector, where treatment adherence was low.
“Health education regarding the modifiable risk factors was inadequate and found to be as low as 10%. Treatment adherence was 59.2% among rural residents and 83.2% among urban residents. We found that blood pressure control rates were better among women and rural residents,” Dr Prashant Mathur, Director, ICMR-NCDIR, and one of the study authors said.
He said recognising the low awareness and high rates of dropouts between the diagnosis of hypertension, its treatment and control called for better planning for the continuum of care for high blood pressure.
“Strengthening the high blood pressure screening and awareness strategies through all levels of healthcare delivery systems will help in achieving better control at the population level,” the authors conclude.
Importantly, the study found that those in the age group 50–69 were more likely to be under treatment for high BP than the others. Among the surveyed adults, 47.6% said they had never tested for BP in their lifetime.
This was significantly more among women as compared to men. The study further found that adults in northern and southern India were more prone to high BP as compared to their central Indian counterparts.
ICMR Study findings
- 10,593 adults covered in ICMR-NCDIR survey
- 3,017 found to have high blood pressure
- 840 aware of their medical condition. Of them, just 438 undergoing treatment for hypertension
- 34% prevalence of hypertension in urban areas, 25.7% in rural areas
- 47.6% never tested for BP in their lifetime
- 50–69 age group more likely to be under treatment for high BP
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