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New Hypertension Guidelines – Are we ready to implement them? -Dr Upendra Kaul


New Hypertension Guidelines – Are we ready to implement them? -Dr Upendra Kaul

Recent guidelines, from the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC), now define high blood pressure as 130 mm Hg or higher for the systolic blood pressure measurement, or 80 mm Hg or higher for the diastolic blood pressure measurement.Thousands of millions of people globally have been categorized as hypertensives overnight according to new Guidelines.

India with its population of 1.32 billion, has hypertension (High blood pressure) prevalence of around 29% in both men and women. This figure stands with the previous definition when cut off was 140/90 mms Hg. and comes to the numbers as 377 million patients in India. Only 25% have BP controlled to this target.

With the 2017 ACC/AHA definition, the prevalence will increase to 43% suddenly and the numbers needing to be treated will increase to a mind-boggling figure of 530 million. Are we ready to adopt these guidelines?

Read Also :High blood pressure redefined – 130/80 is hypertension now

We need to keep in mind our social, economic and cultural issues which are very diverse and different from the Western population. Most important of these is that medicines are to be procured out of pocket by most in our country. Another feature which is difficult to adopt is the recommendation of the guidelines to make Home BP measurements as the standard of care for diagnosing and controlling blood pressure. Both home and ambulatory measurement of BP is not adapted to any measurable degree in India for obvious logistic reasons. These issues of economic and logistic reasons will make adoption of these guidelines a major hurdle in our country.

The Indian hypertension guidelines of 2013 to treat to a target of 140/90mms Hg are still not being followed fully in clinical practice. In a random sample from a study from our country 14% population came under the category of 130/80 to 140/90 defined as pre-hypertension. With this, the numbers to be treated will increase by an enormous amount which would be the numbers needing treatment as per the 2017 ACC/AHA Guidelines. However difficult it may be to treat these numbers (many of them would require drug treatment), the findings and recommendations cannot be dismissed as unrealistic or absurd.

The clinicians and the authorities need to take BP screening programs including propagating home measurement and treating patients with hypertension with additional risk factors like diabetes, hyperlipidaemias etc. to lower targets on a war footing. This is very important in view of the fact that the burden of ischemic heart disease in India is so high. Large prospective studies have shown age-standardized CVD mortality rates of up to 225-500 per 100,000 in men and225- 399 per 100,000 in women. These figures also may be an underestimation. Hypertension is an important risk factor for ischemic heart disease and an effective and aggressive treatment will always pay dividends.

The strategies used and planned for overcoming the communicable diseases by strategic planning making public health policies and execution with public – private partnerships needs to be extended for surveillance and treating the silent killer disease like hypertension.

Prof Upendra Kaul is one of the most prominent cardiologists in the country and the Chairman Cardiology and Executive Director and Dean at the Batra Hospital and Medical Research center, New Delhi and a former professor of Cardiology at the AIIMS. He is also Editor in Chief: Asia Interventions, Chairman PRC, ICMR and the Course Director: ASIA PCR and India Live,.  

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Anjali Nimesh

Anjali Nimesh

Anjali Nimesh Joined Medical Dialogue as Reporter in 2016. she covers all the medical specialty news in different medical categories. She also covers the Medical guidelines, Medical Journals, rare medical surgeries as well as all the updates in medical filed. She is a graduate from Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar University. She can be contacted at editorial@medicaldialogues.in Contact no. 011-43720751
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the above article are solely those of the author/agency in his/her private capacity and DO NOT represent the views of Speciality Medical Dialogues.
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  1. user
    S .Sharma MD FACC FRCP(c) April 4, 2018, 8:58 am

    Lower the BP the better it is
    I instruct the patients that on home monitor , if their systolic BP is 110 or lower ,they should skip their BP meds to avoid hypotension

  2. user
    Dr Ashish Jain March 13, 2018, 3:38 pm

    Why not set right target instead of what may be ok
    Moreover subject is motivated to improve / change his lifestyle to achieve non medicinal control in the range of 140/90 to 130/80

  3. user
    Umesh khanna, nephrologist, mumbai March 13, 2018, 7:33 am

    Agreed it is a huge effort to target this BP but lifestyle changes of salt, oil and sugar control with obesity, smoking control can be taken up by Govt and NGOs can go a long way without much of a budgetary issue

  4. user
    Dr Rajinder Kaul March 12, 2018, 5:15 pm

    when it is certainly accepted that any increase of cardiac load is hazardous or likely to be hazardous then blood pressure above 120/80 should not accepted or allowed weather it applies to Indian masses or not . It is otherwise thought that blood pressure of 140/90 leads to tubular damage consistently over a significant period of time and that is why increase in CRF cases is all over in India . A human being does not have only one system that is cardiology in the body .