People as young as 18 years of age are now being affected by hypertension or high blood pressure, whose incidence has jumped to 46 per cent in Pakistan in 2020 from 13 per cent in 2010, health experts said on Thursday, adding that high blood pressure was the leading cause of heart attacks, kidney failure, blindness, stroke and many other diseases.
Addressing a news conference regarding the 24th Annual Scientific Conference of Pakistan Hypertension League (PHL) being held in Karachi from Friday, PHL office-bearers and eminent cardiologists said that due to high incidence of hypertension in the country, millions of people were dying in early age due to heart attacks, renal failure or getting disabled permanently due to strokes or blindness.
“Of the 46 per cent people who are suffering from hypertension in Pakistan, half of them don’t know that they have high blood pressure, and by the time they are diagnosed, it has caused irreparable loss to their vital organs, including heart, kidneys and brain, as it hardens the arteries, decreases blood flow and oxygen to heart,” said an eminent cardiologist and the vice chancellor of Indus Medical University at the news conference held at the Karachi Press Club
Prof Feroz Memon, who is the founding member of the PHL, maintained that sedentary lifestyle, abstaining from physical activity and exercise, eating junk food, obesity, smoking and excessive use of salt were the leading causes of hypertension. He warned that if immediate measures were not adopted, the incidence of hypertension could further increase and reach alarming proportions.
Another renowned cardiologist and the secretary general of the PHL, Prof Muhammad Ishaq, said hypertension was a silent killer and the mother of all the major diseases, but he deplored that unfortunately, the majority of people who were suffering from the disease were unaware of the disastrous impacts of the high blood pressure on their bodies, their families and the entire society.
“At the 24th Annual Scientific Conference of the PHL, we are going to educate the doctors, common people and the media about disastrous impacts of the hypertension, which is preventable and controllable health condition,” he said and announced that an ‘Hypertension Research Award’ would be given to the best research paper presented at the health conference, for which local pharmaceutical firm Pharmevo would be
The head of the Cardiology Department at the Dow University of Health Sciences, Prof Nawaz Lashari, said Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah would be the chief guest at the hypertension league conference, which was being held at a local hotel in Karachi from Friday to Sunday.
“Dozens of health experts from around the world, including European, Far Eastern and South Asian countries as well as from other cities of Pakistan, are attending the international health moot and presenting their data and scientific research to deal with the menace of hypertension.”
A renowned cardiologist and the director health Karachi, Dr Akram Sultan, said hypertension was the biggest disease in the world and a leading cause of heart attacks, which was the leading cause of deaths in the world.
“We are going to observe World Heart Day officially on September 29 at all public hospitals in Karachi, where awareness activities will be held, while the media will be invited to make people aware of the causes of cardiovascular disease,” he added.
Senior cardiologists, including Prof Masnoor Ahmed, Prof Khalida Soomro and Prof Abdul Rasheed Khan, also urged the people to adopt a healthy lifestyle, and asked women to resort to some physical activities to avoid getting obese. They also urged youngsters to avoid smoking as it was the leading cause of hypertension and cardiac arrests.