TISS study: Sikkim has maximum hypertension cases, Kerala lowest

Tabassum Barnagarwala
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Hypertension is increased blood pressure which can lead to heart, renal and other non-communicable diseases. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Hypertension is rapidly increasing among the urban poor, a study conducted by School of Health Systems Studies at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) has found. The study, published in the British Medical Journal Tuesday, also indicated that Sikkim has the highest prevalence of hypertension, while Kerela the lowest.

It also found that men had a higher prevalence at 13.8 per cent than women at 10.9 per cent.

Hypertension is increased blood pressure which can lead to heart, renal and other non-communicable diseases. Globally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates 1.3 billion people have hypertension. In India, the study found a prevalence of hypertension in 11.3 per cent population in the age group 15-49 years based on National Family Health Survey-4 data. TISS studied data of 8.1 lakh people between 2015-16 for the study.

The study’s lead author, Dr Soumitra Ghosh, assistant professor at TISS, said that while the urban population had more cases of hypertension than rural parts, three states made an exception. In Kerala, Goa and Punjab, the rural population had a higher prevalence of hypertension than the urban population. “Despite being economically well-performing states, the rural population is found to have more hypertension in these three states. A micro-study is needed to further analyse the cause behind it,” Ghosh said.

Across India, Kerala had the lowest prevalence at 8.2 per cent and Sikkim highest at 20.3 per cent, Ghosh said. Food habits, obesity, socio-economic status and alcohol consumption all contribute toward higher prevalence in the Northeast regions, he added.

In Maharashtra, the study found, 12.5 per cent hypertension prevalence. “In Maharashtra, alcohol consumption is very high. That is a major factor for high prevalence,” Ghosh said. Daily alcohol consumption can put a person at a 1.5 times higher risk of hypertension. An obese person is at 3.2 times more risk of getting hypertension.

The study stated there is a need for the government to take policy measures to improve “hazardous working conditions and growing social pressures of survival responsible for ‘lifestyle’ changes such as consumption of high-calorie food and alcohol”.

This is the first epidemiological study to estimate hypertension prevalence at state and district level in India. The sustainable development goals, to which India has committed, targets to reduce mortality due to non-communicable disease by one-third by 2030.