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Awareness Necessary to Tackle Hypertension Globally

by Bidita Debnath on May 1, 2017 at 11:42 PM
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Awareness Necessary to Tackle Hypertension Globally

Recognizing that raised blood pressure or Hypertension is the biggest single contributing risk factor to death and the burden of disease worldwide, Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) - Government of India, along with Public Health Foundation of India, Centre for Chronic Disease Control, Indian Medical Association, Army Medical Corps, Association of Physicians of India, Association of Healthcare Providers of India, several healthcare institutions and Industry launched the May Measurement Month (MMM) 2017, a global initiative to raise awareness of the importance of Blood Pressure screening to tackle this global epidemic.

This global initiative will be done in 100 countries simultaneously in the month of May, which aims to screen 25 million individuals, under the aegis of International Society of Hypertension (ISH) and the World Hypertension League (WHL).


In India, the drive will be conducted at over 500 sites across the country aiming to measure 2.5 million people that will contribute to the global cross-sectional survey of men and women aged from 18 to 65, who have not had their BP measured ever, or since 30 April 2016. Several hospitals, public health departments across various states, leading healthcare institutions, the national institutes under the Indian Council of Medical Research, select Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are among the numerous screening sites involved in this campaign.

Present at the national launch of the campaign were Prof. Neil Poulter (President- International Society of Hypertension), Prof. K. Srinath Reddy (President - Public Health Foundation of India), Prof. D. Prabhakaran (Vice President (Research and Policy) - Public Health Foundation of India), Lt. Gen. Velu Nair (Director General Medical Services, AFMS), Dr. R. S. Dhaliwal (Scientist G, ICMR), Dr. S. Meenakshi (Scientist E, ICMR) , Dr. K. K. Aggarwal (President, Indian Medical Association), Dr. Y. P. Munjal (Association of Physicians of India) and Dr. Ambuj Roy (Professor, Department of Cardiology, AIIMS, New Delhi). Dr. Soumya Swaminathan (Secretary, Department of Health Research - Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India and Director General - ICMR) addressed the gathering through a video message.

Hypertension has been long recognized as one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and premature deaths worldwide, and is one of the most common lifestyle 'Silent Killer' diseases today, with every third person having suffered from it. International data suggest that fewer than half of those with hypertension are aware of their condition. Raised blood pressure hypertension that causes approximately 9.4 million deaths each year worldwide, and many of those who die never knew they were affected.

There are no symptoms and some only find out after suffering a heart attack or stroke, or are diagnosed with something else, such as heart or kidney disease. In India, it exerts substantial public health burden on cardiovascular health status and the health care system. Hypertension is estimated to account for 10.8 percent of all the deaths and 4.6 percent of DALYs in the country. The adult Hypertension prevalence has shown a drastic increase in the past three decades in urban as well as rural areas.

It is estimated that 16 percent of Ischaemic Heart Disease, 21 percent of Peripheral Vascular Disease, 24 percent of Acute Myocardial Infarctions and 29 percent of strokes are attributed to hypertension. Hypertension or High blood pressure (BP) is a major public health problem in India and its prevalence is rapidly increasing among both urban and rural populations. 2.6 lakh Indians die in India due to hypertension. In fact, hypertension is now the most prevalent chronic disease in India. This stresses the need for its effective management and control and it highlights the huge impact it can have on the burden of Cardiovascular Diseases. Prof. Neil Poulter, President of the International Society for Hypertension (ISH) said: "Raised blood pressure is the biggest single contributing risk factor for global death and the worldwide burden of disease, and we want May Measurement Month to lay strong foundations for significantly increasing public understanding.

The goal for May Measurement Month is therefore to screen as many people as possible worldwide who have not had their blood pressure measured in the previous year." In her address Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research said, "It's a wonderful initiative that we at ICMR are undertaking together with PHFI, global partners like ISH and WHL and a host of key Indian partners, to raise awareness on blood pressure measurement.

It is a well-known fact that early detection of Hypertension can delay NCDs and improve the quality of life. Through this initiative we not only aim to raise awareness of public in general, but also inculcate regular BP monitoring amongst physicians, in addition to developing better policy and guidelines to tackle hypertension and NCDs in India." Prof. D. Prabhakaran, Vice President Research and Policy at PHFI said, "High blood pressure (BP) or Hypertension is the leading contributor to death and disease burden in India and major contributor to stroke and heart attacks. However, the awareness, treatment and control of hypertension in India is poor. Early detection of high blood pressure is a key to controlling high blood pressure and its complications both at an individual and population level. The MMM will not only raise public awareness on high BP but also will suggest simple measures such as salt reduction in diet, healthy eating, avoidance of alcohol and increasing physical activity."

The May Measurement Month Global Campaign aims to measure millions of people's blood pressure to find out just how big the problem is and demonstrate to governments across the world why they need to raise public awareness and provide us all with better blood pressure screening facilities and treatment. During the 1st to 31st May 2017, the ISH and WHL together with volunteering countries, governments, and municipal corporations will be working to screen 25 million people. The project is conducted in accordance with all national and international ethics guidelines. The data from each country will be analyzed along with the results of millions of others worldwide.

The results will be announced once the analysis in complete to form a blue-print action plan to tackle Hypertension globally.

Note to editors - Raised blood pressure (hypertension) is the cause of many cardiovascular conditions, including stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and dementia. The huge amount of data collected during MMM17 will be used firstly to highlight to the public the importance of knowing blood pressure numbers and secondly to motivate governments to improve local screening facilities and policies, so reducing the global burden of hypertension.

The aetiology of raised blood pressure is largely explicable by identified environmental factors such as overweight, excessive intake of alcohol and dietary salt and insufficient exercise. Several drug classes have been shown to provide cost-effective blood pressure lowering for the prevention of the adverse cardiovascular sequelae of raised blood pressure. Despite the availability of these antihypertensive medications, global data suggests that fewer than half of those classified as hypertensive are aware of their problem. Among those who are treated for hypertension, fewer than one third has their blood pressure controlled to currently recommended targets.

Source: ANI

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