One out of three adults in the South East Asia region are affected by high blood pressure, said Pavana Murthy, Regional Team Leader, World Health Organisation, here on Saturday.

He was speaking at a seminar to introduce the theme of this year’s World Health Day 2013 (April 7). The theme for World Health Day was “Blood Pressure – Take Control”.

Dr. Murthy pointed out that high blood pressure is a leading risk factor for death and that it claims 1.5 million lives each year in the South East Asia region.

C.N. Manjunath, Director, Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research, pointed out that over the last 30 years there had been a paradigm shift in the disease burden and the incidence of Non-Communicable Diseases was increasing at an alarming rate in the country.

Urging health experts and public health workers not to be blown over the euphoria of tertiary care, Dr. Manjunath said that there was a need to strengthen primary and preventive care. “There is a need to evolve preventive care models as hypertension is a risk factor for stroke, heart and kidney failure,” he added.

Dr. Murthy also pointed out that several people who had hypertension were unaware of it as it was a silent killer. He also pointed out that hypertension could cause early death, disability, loss of income and increase medical care expenditure which could take a toll on families, communities and national budget.

Stating that hypertension was no longer a rich man’s burden, K.V. Trilok Chandra, Additional Commissioner (in charge of Health), Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, said that there was a need for the government to help people access information and get treatment. “The National Urban Health Mission, which will be launched in the city shortly, will focus on providing accessible and affordable treatment,” he added.

Meanwhile, B.N. Dhanya Kumar, Director, Directorate of Health and Family Welfare Services, said that over 16 lakh people were screened for blood pressure and blood sugar under the national programme for prevention and control of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and stroke which was conducted in five districts.

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