Two recent and separate studies have found high prevalence of hypertension in Telangana among children, adolescents and adults, signifying the importance of targeted interventional strategies including primary prevention.
The first study in India to provide comprehensive assessment of hypertension prevalence has found that a high 14.2% of the population between 15 and 49 years in Telangana have high blood pressure (BP). Hypertension was defined as systolic BP of at least 140 mm Hg or diastolic BP of at least 90 mm Hg.
The study based on data from the fourth National Family Health Survey (2015-16) was conducted by the Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). Called “Prevalence and associated risk factors of hypertension among persons aged 15–49 in India: a cross-sectional study”, it was published in a recent edition of the prestigious BMJ Open.
Title author of the study Dr Soumitra Ghoush said, “The prevalence of hypertension in Telangana is higher than the national average. While the hypertension prevalence is 18.9% among males, it is 13.6% among females. The prevalence was also found to be higher in urban (16.5%) than in rural areas (12.6%).”
“Worryingly, the disease pattern seems to be changing in urban areas of Telangana. While the proportion of people in the age group 15-49 years suffering from hypertension is high across all groups, the poor are suffering disproportionately. This phenomenon of rising hypertension among the least resourceful people has serious social and economic implications for the state,” added Dr Ghoush who is also the Assistant Professor, TISS.
Meanwhile, another study conducted by the Government Medical College, Nizamabad has found that 16% of students were pre-hypertensive and hypertensive. The study classified pre-hypertension as systolic blood pressure (BP) between 121 and 140 mm of Hg and diastolic blood pressure between 81 and 90 mm of Hg. Hypertension was considered if the systolic BP was 141mm of Hg or more and diastolic blood pressure is more than or equal to 91mm of Hg. Published in a recent edition of the International Journal of Community Medicine and Public Health, the study was carried out with the financial support of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
The study, conducted between 1 June 2017 and 1 September 2017, aimed at understanding the prevalence of hypertension and its contributing factors among adolescents. It covered 100 adolescents and young adults of both sexes between the ages of 17 and 25 from two randomly selected degree colleges of Nizamabad city. Only students who consented were included.
Male students at 13% were more prone to hypertension than females at 3%. Similarly, overweight and obesity were found in 10% males and 6% females respectively. Around 33.33% of overweight students had prehypertension and 16.66% of students who were overweight had hypertension, the study points out.
Dr Syam Sundar Junapudi, Corresponding Author of the study and Associate Professor, Department of Community Medical College at the Government Medical College, Nizamabad said, “The overall imbalance between unhealthy diet intake and physical activity leads to obesity which contributes to high blood pressure. Obesity, family history of hypertension are risk factors for adolescent hypertension. There is an urgent need for initial prevention and treatment of obesity in children.”
Dr K Sarat Chandra, Senior Cardiologist said that hypertension is becoming a very serious public health problem in this country.“All the stakeholders including the Government have to come together and evolve a national level policy to curb this menace,” added Dr Chandra, Past President, Cardiological Society of India and former editor of the Indian Heart Journal.
Ashim Sanyal, Chief Operating Officer of Consumer VOICE said, “These studies are an important call for all those working in the health sector to devote serious attention to prevention, management and control of hypertension. The finding of the national study that hypertension is becoming more concentrated among the poor needs serious attention.”
Consumer VOICE a leading national NGO which has been working in the area of health access as a consumer right.