The data was revealed at an event marking the World Hypertension Day 2019, organised by the National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute (NHFHRI) at its Mirpur auditorium in Dhaka on Friday
Although non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, cardiovascular, cancer and respiratory are on the rise, some 67% people of the country are unaware of their state of hypertension, according to health experts.
The data was revealed at an event marking the World Hypertension Day 2019, organised by the National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute (NHFHRI) at its Mirpur auditorium in Dhaka on Friday.
National Heart Foundation Secretary General Prof Khondker Abdul Awal (Rizvi) said some 67% Bangladeshis do not know if they were suffering from hypertension, also known as high blood pressure (HBP).
“NCDs, also known as chronic diseases, claim a large number of lives in Bangladesh. Around 65% of the deaths are caused by NCDs,” he said.
Since its inception in 1999, some 29,051 open heart surgeries were performed at the NHFHRI until December 2018, he mentioned.
Shockingly, cardiovascular diseases (35%) is on the top of the chart of the deaths caused by NCDs, he added.
Hypertension shows no symptom
Prof Sohel Reza Choudhury, head of the department of Epidemiology and Research at the NHFHRI, said hypertension is an ailment that shows no symptoms, but leads to major cardiovascular issues.
Citing findings of NCD Risk Factor Survey 2010 and 2018, and NCD Step Survey Fact Sheet-2019 prepared by National Institute of Preventive and Social Medicine, Reza said people over 25 years of age are prone to hypertension.
He also referred to Resolve to Save Lives, a global platform which works to fight cardiovascular diseases, and said only 14% affected people globally can keep hypertension under control.
“But there is no clear estimate of how many people in Bangladesh do the same,” he said.
The NHFHRI professor blamed food habits, especially the consumption of salt, as a major reason for hypertension.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests taking only 5gm salt a day, but each Bangladeshi on an average consumes nearly double of the amount, he further said.
Expressing his concern about an upward trend in hypertension cases, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Director General Abul Kalam Azad said: “The number of heart patients could have been much lower if people were aware.”
In late 2018, WHO in association with the local researchers find that 50% of the affected people do not take medicine, he went on saying: “And the rest keep hypertension under control by taking medicine.”
He said time has come to ensure facilities at the schools, colleges or in social clubs to check blood pressure as to keep people aware.
While presiding over the meeting, NHFHRI Chairman National Professor Brig (retd.) Abdul Malik said hypertension never spares the affected.
“When it affects an organ, nothing can cure it. So, precaution and awareness about the ailment are a must,” he suggested.
Housing and Public Works Minister SM Rezaul Karim who was also present at the program as the chief guest said leading an ethical life by ensuring ideal diet can only lead to a healthy life.