An Obese BMI Increases BP Risk by 41%: Indian Hearts Lacking Care Study

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India is sitting on a time-bomb of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs), predominantly caused due to overweight, obesity, hypertension, and metabolic disorders. Of these, the double trouble of hypertension and obesity have been increasing gradually, resulting in cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Lately, the incidence of cardiac arrest in the Indian population, especially amongst the youth, has increased significantly.

To bring to the fore how the double trouble of hypertension and obesity is causing the rising incidence of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in the Indian population, and to educate them, especially those living in metro cities and working with the corporate that how essential it is to prevent the incidence of these disease as this all is happening due to the lack of right kind of knowledge, India Health Link (IHL) in collaboration with HEAL Foundation has conducted “Indian Hearts Lacking Care” (IHL Care) Study.

In the study, 1461 respondents participated from across 4 metro cities of India – Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai. The study had 77% male and 23% female participation. The sample diagnostic test results of the participants were collected from Digital Kiosk/Health ATMs across 4 cities. The test parameters included respondents’ demographics, gender, age, geography v/s age, BMI Class, BP Class & SPO2 levels. Data was collected by a random sampling method.

Indian Hearts Lacking Care (IHL Care) Study has brought out that an overweight or obese BMI increases BP risk by 41% as there is a strong correlation between BMI and BP. And a majority of obese or overweight people have high blood pressure (30%) or have BP risk (~53) %. It was also observed 47% of people living in Delhi in the (26-40) years age group are at high risk of CVDs due to double trouble of Obesity & Hypertension.

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While presenting the IHL Care Study’s revelation on the correlation between BMI scores and BP risk, Dr Satyender Goel, Founder & CEO, India Health Link (IHL) said, “The study has brought out that there is a strong correlation between BMI scores and BP risk, and it is also observed that more the BMI scores, higher the BP risk. Also, high BP is seen in Delhi (23%) and Mumbai (15%). The high BP is seen majorly in men with up to 30% in New Delhi. While maintaining the same level, it is 15% in Mumbai. 30% of men in New Delhi and women in Mumbai are more prone to high BP, while 50% of men and 25% of women in Bengaluru are more prone to BP risk. It has also come out that BP risk is more commonly found in men than in women. The same is the case with high BP, which is also found more commonly in men than women.”

“We see that sedentary lifestyle and working habits have taken a toll on the 26-40 age group as they are at high risk of CVDs due to double trouble of obesity & hypertension. Hence, there is an urgent need to move from heart illness to heart wellness, which we can achieve through preventive and predictive cardiology. For that, we need to have regular preventive screening through technology-driven care that helps bring wellness,” added Dr Goel.

“Of late, the Indian Hearts Lacking Care (IHL Care) Study brings out the double trouble of obesity and hypertension in the young population, which majorly contributes to the incidence of CVDs. And that might be one of the reasons why the young population is succumbing to cardiac arrest, which we have been witnessing in recent times. Indians are not used to prioritising their preventive care and go for initial screening; hence many such preventable diseases are not diagnosed early, resulting in an increasing disease burden in the urban population, especially amongst the youth. Therefore, a regular preventive and predictive screening regimen is a must for everyone to follow to stay heart-healthy,” said Dr Mohammed Sadiq Azam, Consultant Cardiologist, KIMS Hospital, Hyderabad. 

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Emphasizing the importance of diet for heart health, Ms Naaznin Husein, Founder & Director, Freedom Wellness, Mumbai said“The high risk of CVDs among the young population due to the twin problem of high BP and obesity that the IHL Care study reveals, presents an alarming figure for the youth of the country. In both the cases of obesity and high BP, diet plays a pivotal role. Therefore, it is essential for everyone, especially for the people working with the corporates, leading a sedentary lifestyle, to follow a heart-healthy dietary regimen besides adhering to regular preventive screening.”