It is a challenging increase from the one-in-every-11 number identified by the National Family Health Survey (2015-16), highlighting the havoc wreaked by modern lifestyles on people
A preventive health programme of Union Health Ministry that screened 22.5 million adults across 100 districts in India in 2017 has revealed that around one of every eight people in India have high blood pressure. It is a challenging increase from the one-in-every-11 number identified by the National Family Health Survey (2015-16), highlighting the havoc wreaked by modern lifestyles on people. The survey was largely conducted in rural areas.
However, the numbers are lower than other western countries. World Health Organisation said that one in every three people in the US and one in four in the UK suffer from hypertension.
The screening, which started earlier this year, is part of an effort to conduct population-based screening for common non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as hypertension (chronic high blood pressure), diabetes and cancers of the breast, cervix and oral cavity in people who are older than 30.
According to the National Family Health Survey, 8.6% of India’s population (10.4% men, 6.7% women) has hypertension. The health ministry programme defines high blood pressure as a reading of more 140/90 mmHg; globally, even a reading of 130 is considered high blood pressure.
What’s alarming about the India finding is that the majority of the population screened lives in rural areas, where hypertension has so far not been an overriding concern.
In its first phase, the programme covered 100 districts and will be scaled up to cover 500 million people across the country. By 2025, the national action plan for the prevention and control of NCDs aims to reduce hypertension and death from heart disease by 25%, and lower salt/sodium intake by 30%.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is leading the India Hypertension Management Initiative (IHMI) to give standard treatment to people with hypertension in select districts. A healthy weight, eating five servings of fruits and vegetables s day and moderate-intensity exercise daily also helps to keep blood pressure under control.