Matters of the Heart – Hypertension management


Hypertension (HTN) is the most prevalent non-communicable disease in both developed and developing countries including India. Uncontrolled blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) such as heart attacks and stroke, and are responsible for one-third of total deaths in India. In India it is estimated that at least one in four adults has hypertension but, only about 12% of them have their blood pressure under control. The latest NFHS 5 data estimated that 21 per cent of females over 15 years have hypertension as opposed to 24 per cent of males in the same age group. Twelve per cent of women and 9 per cent of men say that on two or more occasions they were told by a doctor or health professional that they have hypertension or high blood pressure. Raised blood pressure is among the most important risk factors for CVDs. Moreover, it remains poorly controlled due to low awareness about hypertension, lack of appropriate care through primary care and poor follow up.

How do you know if you are having hypertension?

Ideally, the normal blood pressure in human beings is 120/80 mm. Hg. A blood pressure of 140/90 mm. Hg. or above is considered high. If blood pressure has been monitored regularly for a week and recorded above 140/90 mm. Hg. on two or more occasions, the person is diagnosed to be hypertensive.

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

The highest of blood pressure will sometimes go unnoticed due to want of symptoms. The only way to know one has high blood pressure is to get it measured. Due to the lack of symptoms, hypertension is also called a silent killer. The symptoms one might experience could include:

  • Headache with or without heaviness of head
  • Fatigue or confusion
  • Vision problems
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Vertigo
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pounding in chest, neck, or ears
  • Loss of balance

How to Maintain Normal Blood Pressure

Maintain Blood Pressure

Absolute Must

  • Take medicines regularly as adviced by your doctor
  • Keep monitoring your BP levels
  • Do not stop or change medicines without consulting your doctor

India Hypertension Control Initiative Study

The India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI) a multi-partner initiative conducted a cohort study in 24 IHCI sites in four Indian states — Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Telangana was jointly funded by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Indian Council of Research (ICMR). The aim of the study was to strengthen hypertension or high blood pressure management and control by surveilling and treating patients. The details of the study could be found here

Hypertension Myths and Facts

Key Takeaways from IHCI study

  1. India has backed its National Multisectoral Action Plan with best-practice programs that are proven to reduce NCD-related illness, disability, and death.
  2. One of India’s most impressive achievements is gaining independence from industrially-produced trans fat in food by committing to the WHO goal of elimination by 2023.
  3. India has committed to the global target of reducing population salt intake 30% by 2025, which would save hundreds of thousands of lives in the country each year.
  4. India has made notable progress in tobacco control with a relative reduction in adult tobacco use of 17% between 2009 and 2016.
  5. India is also showing the world how hypertension can be treated successfully in primary health care through the India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI).
  6. Nearly half of registered patients through IHCI  in first quarter 2021 had controlled blood pressure during their most recent visit, far higher than the baseline control rate.
  7. An exciting development which may enable India to meet its ambitious target of a 25% relative reduction in hypertension prevalence by 2025 is its countrywide network of 150,000 health and wellness centers, which improve primary health care by bringing health services directly to communities.

Awareness Strategies by Consumer VOICE

World Hypertension Day – 17 May 2021

Measure your blood pressure, control it, live longer!

Hypertension affects more than 30% of the adult population worldwide, more than one billion people around the world. It is the main risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, especially coronary heart disease and stroke, but also for chronic kidney disease, heart failure, arrhythmia and dementia.

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