High Blood Pressure Prevalent In India, Study Finds

One in five Indian young adults have hypertension, prompting recommendations for blood pressure screening starting at 18 years of age.

AsianScientist (Dec. 12, 2018) – A team of scientists from India has found that one in five young adults in India—which amounts to 80 million people—has high blood pressure. The researchers presented their results at the 70th Annual Conference of the Cardiological Society of India.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the leading global cause of premature death. In addition, individuals with high blood pressure are at risk of contracting a host of other health conditions, including heart attack, stroke, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, chronic kidney disease and cognitive decline.

In the present study, scientists led by Dr. Kartik Gupta at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, India, noted that high blood pressure affects Indians at a younger age than western populations. Heart attacks and strokes also occur a decade earlier in Indians compared to their western counterparts.

These results were obtained from the Great India BP Survey, which was conducted in 24 Indian states in a single day. Blood pressure was measured in public places such as metro stations, bus stops and marketplaces. The readings were repeated in those with high blood pressure, defined as a blood pressure reading higher than 140/90 mmHg.

The researchers also recorded survey participants’ risk factors for hypertension, including smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol and whether they were taking drugs to control their blood pressure. A total of 180,000 Indian adults were involved in the study. Of those, 89,210 were 18 to 39 years old, and this group formed the focus of the current study.

The scientists reported that 19 percent of the survey participants exhibited hypertension. Moreover, just 15 percent of people with hypertension were on treatment, and of those, 49 percent had uncontrolled blood pressure. Deeper analysis revealed that the risk factor most strongly related to hypertension was diabetes, which doubled a person’s risk of developing high blood pressure.

India’s screening program for hypertension typically starts at 30 years of age, which is too late, according to the researchers.

“The main message from our study is that we should start screening for hypertension at 18 to 19 years of age,” said Gupta. “It could become part of the physical examination for those who attend college.”

“In addition, school children need education about being physically active, keeping body weight down, eating healthily and avoiding tobacco. This would prevent many people from developing high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.”

The article can be found at: Williams et al. (2018) 2018 ESC/ESH Guidelines for the Management of Arterial Hypertension .


Source: European Society of Cardiology; Photo: Pixabay.
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