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A study on hypertension in geriatric population in a slum of Kolkata

Dhiraj Biswas, Aparajita Das Gupta, Amitava Kumar, Sudipta Das, Sanjaya Kumar Sahoo, Malay Kumar Das, Aparna Pandey.

Background: Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are the major contributors of morbidity and mortality in the elderly people. Among them, hypertension is one of the most important treatable causes of morbidity and mortality in elderly population. Furthermore, high blood pressure is a modifiable risk factor of cardiovascular disease.

Objective: To find out the magnitude of hypertension and its association with sociodemographic and behavioral characteristics.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on 200 elderly people (age ≥ 60 years) in an urban slum, Chetla, under the purview of All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health (AIIHPH), Kolkata, during a study period of 2 months. The blood pressure of participants was measured following the standard operation procedures as laid down by the WHO. Hypertension was classified as per Joint National Committee (JNC)-8 criteria. Sociodemographic characteristics and other risk factors were assessed during the study with the help of a semi-structured, pretested questionnaire.

Result: The overall prevalence of hypertension was 64%. The prevalence among male and female subjects was 62.8% and 64.9%, respectively. About 40.6% cases of hypertension were newly detected. Among the hypertensive people, 92.6% of them were smokers, 83.7% of them consumed alcohols, 66% of them used smokeless tobacco, and 70.3% of them were taking extra salt. This study revealed that hypertension was significantly associated with age, social class, physical activity, alcohol intake, smoking status, and intake of extra salt.

Conclusion: The study sample was small, and in view of limited studies in this area, a further research using a large sample is needed. Greater emphasis should be laid on the most disadvantaged and neglected (i.e., the poor geriatric population) in the society in terms of hypertension management and on reinforcing all preventive measures such as physical activities, correct diet, maintenance of correct body mass index, and good compliance of drug intake. This will in the long run help in the enhancement of hypertension control.

Key words: Geriatric population, NCD, hypertension, JNC-8, risk factors

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