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Ramit Mehrotra, Pune

In the first-ever reports published on hypertension by the World Health Organization, approximately 188.3 million Indians are currently suffering from hypertension. According to WHO, at least 4.6 million lives can be saved by 2040 if the hypertensive demographic of the country gets their high blood pressure under control. 

As high blood pressure is one of the top causes of strokes, heart attacks, and heart failures,  kidney, and other life-threatening ailments are a massive concern, the WHO reports highlight in the areas. Only 37% of the total Indian population is diagnosed with hypertension, and only 30% of them seek full co-operative treatment for it. Just 15% of the country has hypertension and has it under control. More than 52% of Indian deaths are largely caused by cardiac arrests, which have alarmingly increased in recent years, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The recent findings are significant as the Indian population is more likely to suffer from major cardiovascular diseases in the early stages of this decade than most of the population. World Health Organization claims uncontrolled hypertension is the result of prolonged exposure to heat stress. So the younger population is at a greater risk of contracting hypertension if it remains undiagnosed and left untreated. Hypertension ignites a wild set of health complications, as the country is gripped with high levels of diabetes (110 million) and pre-diabetes (37 million). However, if proper care and treatment are administered, it can make a significant difference in the health of the younger population. 

Hypertension is the most essential health factor risking death and disability in the country, as published by The Lancet,  a regional health journal, earlier this year. Less than one-fourth of the population in the country have hypertension under control, with only 45% of the population under supervised care and treatment. It also states that in the 2019 – 2020 National Family Health Survey, hypertension was reported to be largely prevalent in 24% of men and 36% of women in families, from 19% and 16% in the previous years, respectively. India runs the India Hypertension Control Initiative program which is a large-scale hypertension intervention under the National Health Mission and has been recognized for its positive work done within the country’s existing primary healthcare system.