Hypertension Control Initiative In India: Role of POCT Devices

by | Jun 15, 2023

Hypertension, known as high blood pressure, is a chronic medical condition characterized by consistently elevated levels of pressure within the blood vessels. This condition places a strain on the cardiovascular system, demanding increased effort from the heart to circulate blood efficiently. The long-term consequences of uncontrolled hypertension can be severe, leading to a heightened risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure.  According to reports by India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI), about 3.4 million Indians suffer from hypertension. Therefore, it is imperative to closely monitor blood pressure levels and implement appropriate measures to manage and mitigate this condition’s impact on overall health.

The causes of hypertension can vary and include factors such as genetics, unhealthy lifestyle habits (e.g., poor diet, lack of physical activity, smoking), obesity, stress, certain medical conditions (e.g., kidney disease, hormonal disorders), and certain medications. In recent years, various factors, including pandemic-related disruptions to education, employment, and well-being, have negatively impacted the mental and physical health of younger individuals in India. This has resulted in a concerning prevalence of hypertension, with one in four individuals aged 18 and above being affected. Unhealthy lifestyle choices, including excessive junk food consumption, lack of physical activity, and inadequate sleep, give rise to sedentary living, particularly with the increasing prevalence of remote work. Factors such as excessive screen time, commuting stress, economic pressures, and intense social competition further compound the problem. The digitally driven and highly competitive nature of modern life takes a toll on mental and physical well-being, ultimately contributing to a significant portion of the population developing hypertension.

Hypertension often does not present noticeable symptoms in its early stages, earning it the nickname “silent killer.” The challenge with hypertension is that there are no easily identifiable symptoms for those even with occasional increases in blood pressure levels. However, some people may experience symptoms like headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, chest pain, shortness of breath, or nosebleeds in severe cases.

Lesser we know that asthma and hypertension are interlinked, although the exact relationship is still being studied. Both conditions involve inflammation and can share risk factors like obesity and smoking. Additionally, certain asthma medications, such as long-term use of oral corticosteroids, can potentially contribute to hypertension. Managing both asthma and hypertension involves working closely with healthcare professionals. It is important to follow prescribed asthma treatments, including the use of inhalers as directed by physicians to avoid triggers. For hypertension management, lifestyle changes like maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and taking prescribed medications consistently are crucial. Regular check-ups with healthcare providers are essential for monitoring and adjusting treatment plans as needed. Caregivers play a crucial role in providing support, encouraging medication adherence, helping patients recognize and avoid triggers, and promoting a healthy lifestyle.

We often tend to ignore our physical well-being and regular health check-ups till 30. Taking a preventive and proactive approach is crucial for individuals with hypertension or those at risk. Treatment for hypertension typically involves lifestyle modifications and, in some cases, medication. Lifestyle changes may include adopting a healthy diet (low in sodium, high in fruits and vegetables), regular exercise, weight management, reducing alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, and managing stress. Medications prescribed by a healthcare professional may include diuretics, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), or calcium channel blockers. 

Limited access to effective, affordable, and accurate screening facilities is a primary reason for the lack of diagnosis and treatment coverage for many individuals. POC (Point of Care) devices such as HCXL, enable convenient and rapid testing of key parameters such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and HbA1c levels, facilitating early detection of heart disease and hypertension. HCXL is India’s first multiparametric portable rapid screening device approved by DCGI/CDSCO that provides instant results for 33+ parameters. It can be operated without electricity or internet, ideally suited for tier-3 locations that lack access to primary healthcare facilities.

The Author

Dr. Muthu Dhandapani

VP – QA, RA & Product Delivery – HealthCube