16 May 2011
By Umesh Isalkar
The state health department analysed the findings of the survey by Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) which covered over 4,500 households in cities and villages. The survey carried out measurements of blood pressure.
"Only 32.5% of those surveyed had normal blood pressure values (120/80), while 47.4 per cent had prehypertension wherein the values range between 120/80 mmHg and 139/ 89 mm Hg. A total of 16.9% people had stage I high blood pressure, while a total 3.2% people had stage II high blood pressure," says the report.
Stage I hypertension is referred to mild high blood pressure. Generally, at this stage, a patient is prescribed medication. Stage I high blood pressure measurements indicate that the upper number of the blood pressure reading, the systolic pressure is ranging from 140 to 159. While the lower number, the diastolic pressure is ranging from 90 to 99.
Besides, 3.2% people had stage II high blood pressure. This is the condition where the systolic pressure (the pressure recorded when the heart is beating) is recorded at 140 or more and the diastolic pressure (the pressure recorded when the heart is relaxed, i.e. in–between heart beats) is 90.
"Stage I and stage II hypertension was more pronounced in population living in villages," states the report. About half the population of state pre–hypertensive The prevalence of stage I hypertension was 17.8% in rural population while it was 15.7% in cities. Similarly, prevalence of stage II hypertension was 3.9% in rural and it was 2.4% in cities, the report states.
Besides stage I was more in men (20.4%) living in villages than in men (18.2%) living in cities. While the prevalence of stage II hypertension is 4.1% in men living in villages and it is 2.1% in men living in cities, the report states.
"Stage II hypertension is generally caused due to a highly stressful life, high fat diet, sedentary lifestyle and excessive consumption of salt," cardiologist Nitin Patki told TOI. All these factors contribute in a big way to hypertension.
"One of the reasons why the prevalence is higher in rural population is because farming is increasingly becoming mechanized, resulting in lack of physical activity. Besides, uncertainty about the farm yields adds to the stress level. Lack of awareness about a healthy lifestyle and medical care further worsen the situation in rural parts," said Patki.
Cardiologist Abhijit Vaidya, national chief of Arogya Sena, an NGO working in the field of health and awareness, said, "Agriculture stress is a peculiar problem that has emerged in villages across the country. This has happened primarily due to uncertainty in climatic conditions and erosion of soil texture, resulting in less yields. Besides, deterioration in lifestyle, more use of tobacco and tobacco products and high cholesterol levels have aggravated the situation."
According to estimates revealed by the Public Health Foundation of India, about two million people die every year in India from cardiovascular diseases caused directly by high blood pressure.
Shockingly, just about 10–12 per cent of those who have high blood pressure in urban areas of the country and a mere 4–5 per cent in rural areas have it adequately controlled for their risks.