Rise in hypertension among young Indian children 'alarming'

Wednesday, 29 May, 2024
The experts called for practising a healthy lifestyle and eating more fruit and vegetables. (Photo courtesy: Wikipedia)

New Delhi: While age is a known risk factor for high blood pressure, the early onset of hypertension among young children -- up to 20 per cent -- is "alarming", said health experts here at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

As May is marked as the hypertension awareness month, experts from the apex institute briefed the media about the rising cases of hypertension in the country, the reasons behind and how to mitigate it. 

"About 15-20 per cent of children and adolescents aged between 10-19 have hypertension more than what is normal at their age," said Dr. Sumit Malhotra, Professor, Centre for Community Medicine at AIIMS.

"It is alarming," he added, noting that high BP is a major cause of brain stroke, myocardial infarction or heart attack, kidney disease, and retina problems, among others.

He said that in most cases, people are not aware of their blood pressure status, and those who are aware do not go for treatment. He emphasised the need to accurately measure BP and then treat them early.  

"Schools and educational institutes are very important platforms for a healthy young generation, to help understand the risk, and make early lifestyle modifications," the doctor said. 

Dr. Kiran Goswami, Professor, Centre for Community Medicine, AIIMS said that hypertension is a major modifiable risk factor, and accounts for most premature deaths in the country, especially in the younger population.  

"If you can control your systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 10 millimetres of mercury, you can bring down about 20 per cent early risk of death by cardiovascular deaths. Stroke risks can be reduced by one-third," she said. 

The experts said that besides genetic risks, early age tobacco intake, excess weight, physical inactivity, and sedentary lifestyle, are the major risk factors for high BP. 

The experts called for practising a healthy lifestyle, eating more fruit and vegetables, and 30 minutes of aerobic exercises like brisk walking and cycling. 

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