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June 17, 2024 12:00 am

Rise in hypertension among children, adults is a concern, warns AIIMS expert

New Delhi, May 24

Children and adults diagnosed with high blood pressure have double the risk of major cardiovascular problems. It slowly damages almost all the vital organs including the heart, kidneys, eyes and brain. Its manifestations are usually seen in adults when they present with end-organ damage.

At a growing age, children are getting hypertension which is between 15-20 per cent. “It’s alarming, warned an expert from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi on Friday.

Professor Sumit Malhotra at Centre for Community Medicine at AIIMS said, “Surveys, which are being done in different parts of the country, who have looked into the hypertension levels have found out that 15 to 20 per cent of the children and adolescents have high blood pressure. The figures are consistently rising.” In children, hypertension is not as common as in adults. However, a globally increasing number of children are being diagnosed with hypertension.

“Adolescents are not having a very good lifestyle in terms of physical activity, consumption of fruits and vegetables, and tobacco consumption. So all of this is indicative of a rise in hypertension,” he said further.

Nowadays, with the increasing prevalence of obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and drug abuse in teenagers, the prevalence of primary hypertension in children is also increasing.

Approximately 22 crore adults are estimated to have high Blood Pressure (BP) in India. There are gaps in its diagnosis, treatment, and control status, owing to a lack of awareness.

Every Year, May 17 is observed as World Hypertension Day. The whole month is dedicated to raising awareness about hypertension.

The Union Health Ministry launched an ambitious 75/25 initiative of screening and putting 75 million people with hypertension and diabetes on Standard Care by 2025.

To raise awareness among the general public, about hypertension, public lecture and panel discussion, involving experts from diverse domains, was organized on Friday.

The event covered topics – measurement of BP, home monitoring, prevention, treatment and control, stress management, tobacco cessation, and complications.

Several events were organised to raise awareness about screening for high BP including involvement and engagement of educational institutions, like schools, to tackle the rising burden of BP among young people.

“So the preventive measure is to have a healthy lifestyle – fruits and vegetables in the diet, minimum 30 to maximum 60 minutes’ physical activity in a day. Children should be encouraged to engage in outdoor activities. High screen time needs to combat with healthy options. We need to teach our younger ones, how to cope with stress, because it’s bound to rise but what is important is how to be resilient and how to not get affected by it. It’s very important,” explained Sumit for a healthy lifestyle and staying away from hypertension that can lead to even heart attacks among the young population.

Early referral to specialists with expertise in specific areas is also known to prevent future complications.

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