World Heart Day today: Uncontrolled hypertension is the leading risk factor for heart attacks.
In Rajasthan, 1 in 5 adults has high blood pressure.
Jaipur, 29 September 2022
Experts have warned that uncontrolled hypertension – a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke – is probably one of the main reasons why over the last decade, cardiovascular diseases have emerged as the top killer in India. Responding to this escalating health crisis, the Government of Rajasthan has constituted a technical advisory committee on hypertension screening and management. In a state, where 1 in 5 adults has high blood pressure, this is a unique and timely measure.
Taking cognisance of what is popularly known as the silent epidemic, Director Health Services, Rajasthan announced the formation of a Departmental Hypertension Technical Advisory Committee which will meet regularly to discuss how hypertension screening and treatment can be prioritized in the state.
Applauding the government for putting the spotlight on hypertension, Dr Pankaj Bharadwaj, Additional Professor, Dept. of Community and Family Medicine and Dean, School of Public Health, AIIMS Jodhpur said, “While other deadly NCDs have a lot of prominence, people don’t fully understand the damage that high blood pressure can silently wrought. Not just strokes or heart attacks, if left untreated it also causes kidney failure. A technical committee by the State Government is the highest level of political commitment. We are grateful to the state government for focusing on hypertension as a health issue of utmost importance. The committee will be able to strengthen delivery of hypertension treatment and spread awareness among people to ensure they continue their treatment judiciously.”
A comprehensive committee led by Director, Health Services
Chaired by the Director, Health Services, other members of this committee are the State Nodal Officer, NCD, State Nodal Officer, Ayushman Bharat-Health and Wellness Centre (AB-HWC) and Rajasthan’s Cardiovascular Health Officer (CVHO) under the India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI). To support India’s commitment of 25% reduction in prevalence of high blood pressure by 2025, the IHCI is a multi-stakeholder initiative led by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, World Health Organization, India, the Indian Council of Research and Resolve to Save Lives (technical partner), and was launched in 2018. In Rajasthan, IHCI has been rolled out in the districts of Churu and Bikaner.
People don’t even realise unless their BP is measured: Dr Deora
Although easy to diagnose and treat, hypertension treatment sees one of the lowest rates of adherence. “There are a number of reasons why this happens,” explains Dr Surendar Deora, Senior Cardiologist, Department of Cardiology, AIIMS, Jodhpur. “First of all it is a condition that largely has no symptoms. People don’t even realise unless their BP is measured, that they may be hypertensive. This is one big reason why sudden deaths due to stroke or cardiac events is common in those who are not yet diagnosed or don’t have their BP under control. It is also a challenge for people to understand that they must take medications regularly for their entire lifetime.”
AIIMS Jodhpur, Bathinda, Gorakhpur and Rishikesh have come together to provide thought leadership on keeping hypertension treatment prioritised as an issue of national importance, supported by Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI).
Cardiovascular diseases are the top killers
Sounding the alarm bells, a recently released WHO reported titled “Invisible Numbers” reveals the true extent of non-communicable diseases across the world. In India, 66% deaths every year are due to NCDs, and cardiovascular diseases are the top killers, accounting for 28% deaths. Uncontrolled hypertension is considered to be the leading risk factor for premature death and disability due to heart attack and stroke