THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The number of people bothered about controlling their blood pressure has decreased in the state during the Covid pandemic, according to a study released on Friday. Hypertension known as a 'silent killer' increases the chances of people dying of heart diseases or stroke.
Limited access to doctors and drugs has been cited as the major reason for the drop. Even before Covid, only 15% of the people with hypertension had achieved adequate control over their condition.
"The focus on Covid has affected routine care. Marginalised people and those in remote locations are the most affected by the limited number of doctor consultations and availability of the drugs," said Dr Jeemon Panniyammakal, Assistant Professor (Epidemiology), Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology. He is the lead author of the latest World Heart Federation road map for hypertension published on Friday. The report will serve as a guideline for policymakers to make strategic changes.
Dr Jeemon said hypertension is largely ignored at the community level because the community health workers who have a role in monitoring the diet and activity levels of people with hypertension are also focused on Covid-related activities. "Fifty per cent of the patients admitted for heart attack or stroke have not checked their blood pressure level even once. If the blood pressure was under control, some of the serious health conditions could have been avoided," he said. He suggested that the people visiting the hospitals should demand a blood pressure check. The lack of awareness and delay in initiating drug administration and bringing blood pressure under control increase the disease burden. The study said hypertension contributes to 30% of the mortality due to cardiovascular diseases and would prevent the country from attaining sustainable development goals. It suggested that the hospitals, medical shops and laboratories must popularise blood pressure checking to create awareness.