Published On: Tue, Aug 20th, 2019

Wake-up call for Karnataka, 41% People Unaware of Having High Blood Pressure finds India Heart Study

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Bengaluru, August 20, 2019: Findings of India Heart Study (I.H.S) show that 41% of people from Karnataka who participated in the study were unaware of suffering from high blood pressure. The study also found that:

  • 12.7% of the respondents were oblivious of their high blood pressure levels (masked hypertension) and
  • 25% were found to have white-coat hypertension and were likely to be misdiagnosed

India Heart Study (I.H.S) findings highlight a high prevalence of masked hypertension and white-coat hypertension in Indians at 42% on first office visit. It was also found that Indians have a higher average resting heart rate of 80 beats per minute, higher than the desired rate of 72 beats per minute. Another striking finding of the study is that unlike other countries, Indians have higher blood pressure in the evenings than in mornings which should guide doctors to rethink the timing of advising anti-hypertensive drug dosage.

Dr. Upendra Kaul, Cardiologist, Chairman and Dean Academics and Research of BHMRC, who was the Principal Investigator of I.H.S, said “India Heart Study points to a need for better clinical management of hypertension in India. This is India-specific data and should help shape the best practices for the diagnosis of high blood pressure among Indians. The study presents exhaustive data on the various aspects of hypertension.”

Throwing light on the study, Dr. Willem Verberk, PhD., Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), and a key investigator, said, “For the ‘correct’ detection of hypertension, home blood pressure monitoring is advised. However, different patients may have different co-morbidities, like diabetes, which makes the use of validated devices for home blood pressure monitoring important. Home blood pressure monitors for pregnant women, adolescents and people with kidney disorders needs to be validated separately.”

 Dr. Viraj Suvarna, President – Medical, Eris Lifesciences said, “Masked Hypertension, if undetected, is a dangerous phenomenon. It is important to monitor one’s blood pressure, beyond the clinic, even at home, according to prescribed guidelines. Accurate diagnosis of hypertension is an important element of our fight against this disease and improving health outcomes.”

Dr BV Baliga (Cardiologist)–Director, Baliga Diagnostics, Bangalore, and a co-ordinator for I.H.S, said, “The prevalence of high blood pressure or hypertension is increasing in the state. Unlike other diseases, hypertension has no symptoms, it is thus also known as the silent killer. Adults above 40 years of age should monitor their blood pressure at home regularly besides the check-up at the doctors’ clinic.”

According to Dr. Sanjeev Hiremath (Nephrologist) – Sagar Hospital, Bengaluru said, “There are several complications associated with high blood pressure. Besides increasing the chances of heart attacks and strokes, high blood (i.e hypertension) accelerates kidney diseases. Any person at the risk of kidney disorders or suffering from one should ensure that they monitor their blood pressure using validated devices for better disease management.”

White-coat hypertensives who are misdiagnosed and put on anti-hypertensives have to take unnecessary medication. It may also lead to a risk of hypotension (low blood pressure, less than 90/60) in such persons. On the other hand, a masked hypertensive may go undiagnosed running the risk of complications for heart, kidney, and brain, leading to premature mortality.

What sets this study apart is that it was conducted on ‘drug-naive’ set of participants using a comprehensive process of taking blood pressure readings. The investigators examined the blood pressure of 18,918 participants (male and female) through 1233 doctors across 15 states over a period of nine months. The participants’ blood pressure was monitored at home four times in a day for 7 consecutive days.

L- R: Dr. Willem Verberk, PhD., Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), Dr BV Baliga (Cardiologist)–Director, Baliga Diagnostics, Bangalore, Dr. Sanjeev Hiremath (Nephrologist) – Sagar Hospital, Bengaluru and Dr. Viraj Suvarna, President – Medical, Eris Lifesciences at a press conference in Benagluru today to discuss India Heart Study findings.

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