India's Hypertension Epidemic: Are We Prepared?
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Uncontrolled high blood pressure or hypertension is the most common reason for sudden heart attack among patients in India, reveals IHCI study. One in four adults have high blood pressure in India. Among people with high blood pressure, only half have been diagnosed and of those, only 1 in 10 have blood pressure under control.

Undetected and untreated hypertension has been ranked as the highest risk factor for heart disease and related deaths. WHO estimates that India accounts for over a fifth of these deaths. A cohort study based on patients who visited 24 IHCI sites in 4 states and were observed for 6 months has revealed that a large scale mission mode program for screening and treatment can play a critical role in benefit at least 20 crore people.

Between January 2018 and June 2019, a total of 21,895 people with hypertension sought treatment at 24 IHCI sites. Of those who came back for a follow up visit, the BP control rate was more than 60%. Follow up rates were highest in Telangana and lowest in Punjab and Madhya Pradesh.

Treatment adherence is one of the biggest barriers to arresting the hypertension epidemic. With a mere expenditure of Rs 200 per year, hypertensives can keep their BP controlled. IHCI is exploring various innovative ways to ensure people don't drop out of their treatment regimes.

~ BP control better in primary care centres than secondary care facilities

Hypertension may be better managed in primary health care settings, which are closer to patients' homes. An absolute improvement in BP control was more than two times greater in primary care than secondary care facilities.

"Hypertension is no longer a disease of the urban population. This study, conducted across 25 districts in 4 states reveals that rural India is equally affected," said Dr Ambuj Roy, Professor of Cardiology, AIIMS, Delhi. He also asserted that hypertension is a silent killer if not detected and optimally treated.

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