Dean, Faculty of Medicine
Professor of Medicine
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University
As an eminent physician, would you please tell us, in brief, about the overall scenario of Hypertension in Bangladesh?
Hypertension (HTN) is an increasingly important medical and public health problem globally. Bangladesh is passing through a phase of epidemiological transition from different communicable diseases to non-communicable diseases and currently has a double burden of the disease. This means that though the prevalence of Hypertension is modest now, probably it will show a rising trend.
There is a significant lack of data regarding the prevalence of Hypertension in Bangladesh. However in a recent study, it has been shown that approximately 20% of adult and 40 to 65% of elderly people have been suffering from HTN in Bangladesh.
Although awareness against Hypertension has tremendously increased and patients are adhering to healthier and disciplined lifestyle, it is still one of the major causes of death worldwide. What is the reason behind that?
Hypertension is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Hypertension and its complications account for an estimated of 9.4 million deaths every year. Though awareness against Hypertension is progressively increasing among general people, still the number of deaths per year is very high due to its fatal complications and poor drug compliance. Hypertension is such a disease which affects almost all the major organs of body like heart, kidney, brain, eye etc. As a result, death rate remains significantly higher.
What is the status of Bangladesh compared to the developed countries so far as the prevalence of Hypertension is concerned?
There are very limited data regarding prevalence of Hypertension in Bangladesh. However in a survey conducted in Bangladesh in 2010, the overall prevalence of Hypertension was estimated to be 17.9% for the whole country (17.9% in urban and 15.9% in rural areas) among the population aged 25 years and above. United States Census Bureau information demonstrated 28 to 30 percent prevalence of hypertension in the age 1-8 years and older population of the United States.
We know Hypertension as a ‘silent killer’. What measures can be taken before to prevent this disease?
There are multiple risk factors for Hypertension which can be controlled by proper life style modifications to prevent Hypertension. Correcting obesity, restricting salt intake reducing alcohol intake, taking regular. physical exercise an increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables can lower blood pressure. Moreover quitting smoking and adopting a diet that is low in saturated fat may produce further reduction in development of Hypertension.
What other complications are associated with Hypertension which may prove fatal?
Hypertension can cause both acute and chronic complications which as may prove fatat such heart attack, stroke, long term kidney problems even kidney failure, visual difficulty blindness etc.
Research on management of Hypertension has always been in progress globally. Where Bangladesh stands so far as the research on Hypertension is concerned? Is BSMMU working on this?
Different types of research activities are going on in Bangladesh at different levels. BSMMU is taking active participation in these activities both in personal and institutional level.
What is the standard of drugs manufactured in Bangladesh for management of Hypertension?
Quality of drugs manufactured in Bangladesh for the treatment of Hypertension are quite good and effective to control Hypertension.
Between male and female, who are more prone to this disease? Does it also prevail in children and adolescents?
High blood pressure is more common in men as compared to women before the age of 50. However, after the age of 55 years. High blood pressure is almost equal in both women and men. Studies have shown that acute complications of Hypertension life heart attack and stroke are significantly lower in women, especially in those who have not undergone menopause. Between these two complications, the reduction in heart attacks is much more prominent in females.
An estimated 3% of children have high blood pressure. In babies, it’s usually caused by prematurity or problems with the kidneys or heart. While Hypertension is far more common among adults, the rate among children is on the rise, a treat that experts like to the increase in childhood obesity. Many children and adolescents with high blood pressure have no other health problems but do have a family history of Hypertension and an unhealthy lifestyle like a bad diet, excess weight, stress and insufficient physical activity.
Lastly, what are your suggestions for a patient with Hypertension to lead a normal life?
Firstly, I would like to say that every person should lead a healthy lifestyle which includes proper diet and avoiding rich food, doing sufficient physical exercise, giving up smoking and restricting alcohol and salt intake. Secondly, if any patient is diagnosed with Hypertension, he or she must take the prescribed medicines regularly and should have proper follow up to avoid any unwanted complications. He or she must not stop the drug without consulting the doctor.
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