New Delhi, May 1 A mega exercise was launched today to measure blood pressure of over 2 million people in India and stress on regular screening of hypertension, which has taken epidemic proportions.
The initiative -- May Measurement Month (MMM) 2017 -- is part of a global initiative to raise awareness on the importance of screening to tackle high blood pressure.
Raised blood pressure or hypertension claims over 2 lakh Indian lives each year.
In India, it was launched by Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) along with Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), Centre for Chronic Disease Control, Indian Medical Association, Army Medical Corps, Association of Physicians of India, Association of Healthcare Providers of India and several healthcare institutions.
The global initiative, which will be undertaken in 100 countries simultaneously in May, aims to screen 25 million individuals, under the aegis of International Society of Hypertension (ISH) and the World Hypertension League (WHL).
In India, the drive will be conducted at over 500 sites across the country aiming to measure 2.5 million people that will contribute to the global cross-sectional survey of men and women aged between 18 to 65 years, who have not had their BP measured ever, or since April 30, 2016.
Several hospitals, public health departments across various states, leading healthcare institutions, the national institutes under ICMR, select Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are among the numerous screening sites involved in this campaign.
Hypertension has been long recognised as one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and premature deaths worldwide, and is one of the most common lifestyle 'silent killer' diseases today, with every third person having suffered from it.
"It is a well-known fact that early detection of hypertension can delay Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and improve the quality of life.
"Through this initiative we not only aim to raise awareness of public in general, but also inculcate regular BP monitoring among physicians, in addition to developing better policy and guidelines to tackle hypertension and NCDs in India," said Soumya Swaminathan, DG ICMR.
The data from each country will be analysed along with the results of millions of others worldwide and the results will be announced once the analysis in complete to form a blue-print action plan to tackle hypertension globally.
In India, it hypertension exerts substantial public health burden on cardiovascular health status and the healthcare system.
Hypertension is estimated to account for 10.8 per cent of all the deaths and 4.6 per cent of Disability-Adjusted Life Year (DALYs) in the country.
The adult hypertension prevalence has shown a drastic increase in the past three decades in urban as well as rural areas and it is estimated that 16 per cent of Ischaemic Heart Disease (IHD), 21 per cent of Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD), 24 per cent of Acute Myocardial Infarctions (AMI) and 29 per cent of strokes are attributed to hypertension, an official statement said.
Hypertension or High blood pressure (BP) is a major public health problem in India and its prevalence is rapidly increasing among both urban and rural populations.
Around 2.6 lakh Indians die in India due to hypertension and it is now the most prevalent chronic disease in India.
"Raised blood pressure is the biggest single contributing risk factor for global death and the worldwide burden of disease, and we want MMM to lay strong foundations for significantly increasing public understanding.
"The goal for MMM is therefore to screen as many people as possible worldwide who have not had their blood pressure measured in the previous year," said Neil Poulter, president, (ISH).