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India on the brink of a cardiovascular disaster, need remedial measures on war footing to control BP levels: Dr C. Venkata S. Ram

Hyderabad, 16th May, 2018: World Hypertension Day (WHD) is observed on 17th of May every year to raise awareness on Hypertension and World Hypertension League (WHL) ensures its observation world over. The theme of WHD is ‘Know Your Numbers’ with an aim to increase awareness on high blood pressure. The theme being pertinent considering that only 50% of those with hypertension are aware of their condition. In certain communities the awareness is as dismally low as 10%. Of those who are diagnosed, less than half are treated and only a small percentage achieve normal BP levels. WHD is to raise the awareness levels and make individuals conscious about hypertension and the necessary precautions. Incidentally, the South Asia Regional Office of World Hypertension League is located in Hyderabad at Apollo Hospitals, Jubilee Hills and renowned High B.P. specialist, Dr C Venkata S Ram is its Director.

Briefing media on the eve of World Hypertension Day at a Press conference on Tuesday at Apollo Health City, Padmashri recipient Dr. C. Venkata S. Ram, Director, Apollo Institute for Blood Pressure Management & Director, South Asia Region – World Hypertension League (in partnership with WHO), said,

  • India is unfortunately being dubbed as the ‘Hypertension Capital’ of the world and it has become India’s number one killer.
  • High blood pressure affects both genders and people of all ages.
  • People should be aware of high blood pressure.
  • Usually high blood pressure causes no symptoms until the damage is done. It is a SILENT KILLER.
  • The community should be aware of this dangerous condition.
  • If you know your name and date-of-birth, you should know your blood pressure number. Know your numbers.
  • High blood pressure can be easily detected, easily diagnosed, easily treated and easily controlled.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) is the principal reason for Indian people to suffer from heart attacks, heart failure, stroke-paralysis, kidney failure, and loss of memory.
  • At present, 140 million people in India have hypertension. This number is expected to go up to 214 million in the next 10 years.
  • High blood pressure is not just an urban phenomenon, now it has become a big problem in the rural areas all over India.
  • Apollo research has recently confirmed that high blood pressure is very much prevalent in the remote rural area, through its study at Aragonda in Chittoor District.
  • High blood pressure does not go away by itself or evaporate. It has to be treated properly and methodically.
  • The outlook for untreated high blood pressure is same as the outlook for untreated cancer. In other words, high blood pressure has the same significance as cancer.

Telangana Statistics

  • Telangana has the 2nd highest rate of high blood pressure in the country.
  • According to the report by the national institute of nutrition, 39% men and 29% of women have high blood pressure in Telangana.
  • Medak district has the dubious distinction with high levels of blood pressure in the populace.

Unfortunately, high BP is striking young individuals in our city, the condition is turning alarming and a cause for great concern. If we don’t take care of this immediately, the young are at a risk of stroke/paralysis, heart attack, and kidney failure. BP should be checked even in the young at schools, colleges, work place, IT industry, etc. The trend of high BP in the young is extremely serious and requires urgent attention.

According to Dr. C. Venkata S. Ram, the definition of hypertension has changed this year. Any blood pressure more than 130/80 is considered hypertension. Previously high blood pressure was applicable only if the blood pressure is more than 140/90. Now, the new definition of hypertension is a blood pressure is 130/80 or more. India should be ready for this new definition, he adds.

It is imperative on the part of the media to disseminate information about the definition of high blood pressure, its dangers, and complications, the media has to sensitize the lay public about high blood pressure and increase the awareness, says Dr Ram.

High BP can cause heart attacks, heart failure, stroke-paralysis, loss of memory, and kidney failure. If these complications occur, life becomes miserable, frequent visits to the doctor, frequent hospitalizations, chronic illness, surgery, stents, dialysis, loss of productivity, and deprivation of life.  Fortunately, one can diagnose high BP easily, get treated in order to remain healthy.  If the diagnosis is doubtful, one can undergo 24 hr BP recordings with an automatic device—to confirm or exclude the diagnosis.  Every adult should know their BP number—like knowing one’s name, age, weight, height, YOU MUST KNOW YOUR NUMBERS. Get the BP checked. Otherwise, you are gambling with life, warns Dr Venkata S. Ram.

Costs including financial/social/societal of untreated high BP are astronomical. According to estimates the annual cost of medical care of patients with hypertension related disease in India is $20 billion. Vascular surgery, heart surgery, dialysis, transplantation, and stroke rehabilitation are very expensive. These complications can be prevented by keeping your BP normal. With life-style changes, dietary caution, and medicines, it is possible to lower your BP.  But if the BP is neglected or not treated early on, it is tough to get it under control. So, the key is awareness, early diagnosis, and early treatment. Waiting is harmful. BP will not evaporate, it stays and gets worse.

In some patients, the high BP could be because of “secondary” hypertension, like Thyroid gland disease, adrenal gland problems, blockage of circulation to the kidney, certain kidney ailments. Heavy snoring/ sleep apnea can cause very high BP and the remedy is to treat the snoring disorder. BP problems in pregnancy can be extremely dangerous for the mother and the fetus. Excessive alcohol use or pain relievers can cause high BP. Patients with secondary hypertension can be cured or improved by correcting the underlying cause. The doctors can suspect a secondary cause and if it is fixed, BP will become normal.

It also manifests differently in different people, in some the blood pressure goes up only in the doctor’s office or hospital but is normal outside (at home or work), this is called “white coat hypertension.” Nervous individuals, and “tense” people may have white coat hypertension. In some others, the blood pressure is normal in the doctor’s clinic or hospital but is high outside (at home or work). This is called “reverse” white coat hypertension or “masked” hypertension. These abnormal conditions can be diagnosed by measuring 24 hr blood pressure (at home or work) with an automatic machine.

He said, BP in pregnancy is dangerous condition, it affects two individuals, the mother and fetus and we have to have an accurate measure of the mother’s BP. Through ‘Automatic Controlled BP Monitoring’ BP can be recorded for 24 hours accurately and detect BP accurately to control BP. He also pointed out that the current modus of measuring BP from the arm is not totally accurate, it’s done for the sake of convenience. But the real BP is what is felt in the heart, if the BP in the heart is high your risk is high. BP of the heart or Aortic BP is measured by a non-invasive method, no needle, no intervention.

Apollo Hospital’s BP clinic and BP institute specialize in hypertension where proper testing, monitoring, and treatment facilities are available through dedicated staff—specializing in hypertension, a one of its kind Clinic in Asia. At Apollo, we can even measure the blood pressure in the heart (non-invasively) and it is one of the best ways to know if you really have high blood pressure. In some people high blood pressure may be due to a cause in the body called “secondary” hypertension. Certain endocrine gland diseases, blockage of circulation to the kidney, and kidney problems can cause “secondary” hypertension which can be cured by correcting the underlying cause. We have many patients in whom the blood pressure was “cured” by correcting/rectifying the underlying cause. Evaluation for “secondary” hypertension is very critical in young individuals with hypertension. Don’t forget the correct “work-up.” By choosing appropriate treatment, blood pressure can be made normal. Choosing the right drugs is the key to successful control of hypertension.