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50% Indians With BP, Diabetes Don’t Know They Have It

Nearly half of the young and productive Indians are not aware of their diabetes and hypertension status that remained undetected for years, making them vulnerable to diseases, according to two new studies by Indian public health researchers,

Among those with high blood pressure, 55% didn’t know they have hypertension. Similarly, among those with high blood sugar, almost 48% had no clue about the fact that they are diabetic. Both trends are more visible in rural India and predominantly among male.

Among the states, the highest absolute number of adults with untreated diabetes lived in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh whereas in case of hypertension Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, and Haryana had the highest proportion of all adults who had hypertension but did not achieve control.

These are the conclusion drawn by two separate studies that use the data generated by the National Family Health Survey-4, a nationwide survey on more than seven lakh individuals, aged 15-49 years. The blood pressure and blood sugar of the respondents were measured during the survey carried out in 2015-16.

The two studies – published within a gap of two weeks – are the first Indian attempt to look at the “care cascade” studies in which public health researchers identify the extent of a disease and its management within a population.

India has a huge burden of non-communicable diseases with diabetes and hypertension leading the pack.

“There are large losses to diabetes care at each step of the care cascade in India, with the greatest loss occurring at the awareness stage,” the researchers reported in BMC Medicine on Wednesday.

“Hypertension prevalence in India is high, but the proportion of adults with hypertension who are aware of their diagnosis, are treated, and achieve control is low. Improvements in access to hypertension diagnosis and treatment are especially important among men, in rural areas, and in populations with lower household wealth,” they reported in PLoS Medicine on May 3.

“In rural areas, there is hardly any preventive check-up. The menfolk turns up at the doctor’s place only when they get symptoms. For women, the scenario is better because their blood pressure and blood sugar are measured when they visit the health centre during pregnancy,” Ashish Awasthi, a PHFI researcher who took part in both studies told DH.

“Improvements in health system performance for diabetes in India are particularly needed for rural areas, those with little wealth and education, and men,” the researchers added. – Deccan Herald

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