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Times of India
03 September 2011
By, Kounteya Sinha
New Delhi, India

Hypertension, which is directly responsible for 57% of deaths due to stroke and 24% of fatalities caused by heart attack, has been found to be rampant in Indian women.

Half of Urban Women Have Hypertension
A multi–centre three–year study, spearheaded by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and published in the “Journal of Human Hypertension” on Thursday, said almost one in two women in urban study sites and one in three women in rural sites, were suffering from hypertension. Worryingly, overall, only one in five hypertensive women were on treatment, and less than 4% are controlled.

The study, involving 4,608 — rural 2,604 and urban 2,004 — women in Delhi, Haryana, Jaipur, Pune, Kolkata, Kochi and Gandhigram, also showed that awareness about the status of their blood pressure was very low with only half of urban and a quarter of rural hypertensive patients were aware of their condition.

Lead author Dr Rajeev Gupta from Fortis hospital (Jaipur) said, though awareness about hypertension among the urban women studied was high, 56%, or only half of them were on treatment and less than 5% had under–control BP.

Dr Gupta said, “Hypertensive women from rural sites were two times more likely than their urban counter parts to not be on treatment. Rural hypertensive women were also three times more likely not to be aware of their hypertension status and blood pressure control is five times less than the urban women.”

Dr Anoop Misra from Fortis Hospitals (Delhi), said, “Women above 30 years in India should be made aware of how to prevent and when to seek treatment for hypertension. We also need cheaper blood pressure medications for the underprivileged.”

Dr R M Pandey, HoD biostatistics at AIIMS, however, added that the sample size isn’t representative of the whole nation. “But the findings of the prevalence of hypertension and obesity among Indian women are still worrying,” Dr Pandey added.

Significant determinants of hypertension among women studied — all of whom were between 35 and 70 years — were found to be urban location, greater literacy, high dietary fat, low fibre intake, obesity and trance obesity.

Prevalence of hypertension was observed in 1,672 women (39.2%) – 32% of rural women and 48% of urban. Hypertension awareness was noted in 727 women (42.8%), more in urban (56.8%) than in rural (24.6%). Of these, 38.6% of the women were on treatment — urban 35.7% and rural 46.5% — and of those treated, controlled blood pressure was observed in 21.5% — (urban 28.3% against only 10.2% among rural women).

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