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India’s Hypertension Map


A new study finds significant variations in the occurrence and treatment of hypertension among Indian states, and also in districts within the states.


GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Hypertension
  2. Study Highlights
  3. Controlling Hypertension in India

About Hypertension:

  • High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common condition that affects the arteries in the body.
  • It occurs when the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls is consistently too high, requiring the heart to work harder to pump blood.
  • Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), and hypertension is generally defined as a blood pressure reading of 130/80 mm Hg or higher.
  • If left untreated, high blood pressure increases the risk of serious health problems, including heart attacks and strokes.
  • Healthy lifestyle habits, such as not smoking, regular exercise, and a balanced diet, can help prevent and manage high blood pressure.

Study Highlights:

  • The study revealed significant disparities in the prevalence, diagnosis, treatment, and control of hypertension among various states and even within districts of these states.
  • A substantial portion of individuals with hypertension remain undiagnosed, many of those diagnosed do not initiate treatment, and a significant number of those who start treatment are unable to effectively control their blood pressure.
  • The study found that only one in three individuals with hypertension receives a formal diagnosis, one in five initiates treatment, and one in twelve successfully manages their blood pressure.
At the State Level:
  • The prevalence of hypertension was similar among the southern states, but it was higher than the national average. In the southern states, 29.9% of the population was affected by hypertension, compared to the national average of 26.8%.
  • The proportion of people diagnosed with hypertension in the southern states was similar to the rest of India. However, the proportion of people undergoing treatment and achieving blood pressure control was higher in these southern states.
At the District Level:
  • Similar disparities were observed at the district level within states. For instance, in Meghalaya, the prevalence of hypertension was comparable in the districts of Garo Hills (21.8%), Jaintia Hills (19.8%), and Khasi Hills (23.1%). However, the proportion of those diagnosed was lower in Garo Hills at 18.6% compared to 29.4% in Khasi Hills and 41.1% in Jaintia Hills.
  • In Karnataka, four districts—Chikmagalur, Shimoga, Udupi, and Chitradurga—exhibited similar prevalence of hypertension. Still, the proportion of individuals who received treatment and effectively controlled their blood pressure was higher in Chikmagalur and Udupi.
Role of Age, Gender & Education:
  • There were significant variations in the levels of hypertension care based on gender, age, socio-economic status, and education at the national level.
  • While men are more likely to have hypertension, women were more likely to be diagnosed, receive treatment, and achieve blood pressure control.
  • Individuals aged over 65 years exhibited higher prevalence, diagnosis, treatment, and control of hypertension compared to younger age groups.
  • The highest prevalence, diagnosis, treatment, and control of hypertension were found among the wealthiest segment of the population.
  • Regarding education, individuals who had completed their schooling had higher rates of diagnosis, treatment, and blood pressure control compared to those with no formal education or those who had passed class 11.

Controlling Hypertension in India:

  • A WHO report highlighted that nearly 4.6 million deaths in India could be prevented by 2040 if half of hypertensive individuals could effectively manage their blood pressure.
  • The government launched an initiative to provide treatment to 75 million people with hypertension or diabetes by 2025.
  • Key measures to control hypertension in India include active screening of individuals, facilitating access to treatment, ensuring medication availability near their residences, and implementing follow-up procedures to support effective management of hypertension.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023