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Apollo Press Conference

India on the brink of a cardiovascular disaster and needs urgent measures to control BP levels : Dr C. Venkata S. Ram

Hyderabad, May 16th, 2017: 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 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, due to Hypertension

  • incidence as high as 36% amongst adults in urban areas & 30% of the adults in the rural areas
  • being responsible for 1.1 million deaths annually, accounting for nearly 11% of all deaths in India

High BP can cause heart attacks, heart failure, stroke-paralysis, loss of memory, and kidney failure. If these complications occursjife 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.

All individuals should have a BP less than 140/90; those with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease should have a BP less than 135/85. BPs greater than 140/90 will cause irreparable damage, as it is the No.l cause of heart disease, stroke, paralysis and dementia in our country, and the patient can become a huge social/financial burden for the family. To live long and free of disease, one needs to keep the BP normal always—24 hours a day. No exceptions, he says.

National studies have shown that nearly 30-35% of adults in Hyderabad and Telangana have high BP levels. But sadly, only less than 10% know that they have high BP. Unless we control high BP in Hyderabad and in our state, danger is looming, a Tsunami is heading our way. All this suffering can be avoided through awareness, early diagnosis, and correct management of high BP. People should be aware that unless checked, they may be in the dark. GET THE BP CHECKED. And be treated. 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. So, be smart and prevent these complications 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.

Mind you, BP has to be treated indefinitely. If you are on the medicine, you have to take it indefinitely and not cyclically. BP medicines are not like antibiotics, you should not stop the medicines unless advised by the doctors. Patients assume that the treatment is only for few days and then, they stop. No, BP treatment is not seasonal or as you wish. You must remain on treatment unless there is a reason and that too only under medical supervision. Don't take life in your hands; don't go through the red signal of high BP. Go through when the signal becomes green, which is normal BP.

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. We can diagnose these abnormal condition by measuring 24 hr blood pressure (at home or work) with an automatic machine.

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.

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.

The moral is—know your BP number, like knowing your weight and height. KNOW YOUR BP number—like knowing your age. No excuse. Healthy individual contributes to a healthy family which contributes to a healthy society which contributes to healthy nation. Without a healthy nation, GDP or growth rate become irrelevant.

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