The Indian Medical Association (IMA), in association with Heart Care Foundation of India and Eris Lifesciences, attempted to record the maximum number of ambulatory blood pressure readings among the medical fraternity in a single day. The aim was to raise awareness about the benefits of Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM) in timely and correct diagnosis of hypertension on World Hypertension Day, May 17. ABPM can help in getting a more accurate picture of a person’s blood pressure (BP) pattern in a span of 24 hours.
The IMA study revealed that 21per cent of the doctors surveyed had masked hypertension or isolated ambulatory hypertension. In simple terms, their BP readings were normal when evaluated through the conventional clinic measurement technique but high through the ABPM technique.
Masked hypertension is associated with an increased long-term risk of sustained hypertension and cardiovascular morbidity. Additionally, 56 per cent of the doctors evaluated suffered from irregular BP pattern at night, making them prone to future adverse cardiac events. Besides, 37 per cent doctors had nocturnal hypertension, which can never be diagnosed through in-clinic BP measurement. Over 50 per cent physicians had uncontrolled hypertension, despite taking hypertensive medicines,” said Dr K K Aggarwal, national president, Indian Medical Association (IMA) and president of Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI), in a statement issued today.
About 20,000 readings were taken from 533 doctors, including those of the IMA leadership, spanning 33 Indian cities. Dr Shashank Joshi, president, Hypertension Society of India, said, “Your doctor may suggest ABPM to find out if your blood pressure readings are higher in the clinic, than at home; to see the efficacy of your medicines in controlling blood pressure throughout the day, or to note whether your blood pressure increases at night. Since there are no visible signs of masked hypertension, it is always good to let your doctor know if you have a family history of high blood pressure.”
“Hypertension is one of the most common lifestyle diseases prevalent today with one in three Indian adults suffering from it,” he added.
“The incidence of hypertension is equally high among the medical fraternity, owing to high-stress levels,” Dr Shah pointed out. Often, hypertension is misdiagnosed, given the difference in blood pressure readings, at home and in a clinic, he added. Despite hypertension affecting a large number of people, very few acknowledge it. Fewer among them get their blood pressure checked regularly. These are some of the initial findings of a new study.
The study — ‘Control of Hypertension in Rural India (CHIRI) — has been funded by Global Alliance for Chronic Disease and the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia and aims to develop strategies to better manage hypertension in rural communities.