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39.8 % Bengal residents at risk of high blood pressure misdiagnosis

Kolkata: Around 39.8 per cent people from Bengal are at the risk of a misdiagnosis of high blood pressure, reveals India Heart study, a survey conducted in 15 states.

A misdiagnosis of high blood pressure could lead to people being prescribed unnecessary medication.

The survey shows that 22.50 per cent of the respondents from Bengal were white-coat hypertensive while 17.30 per cent were found to have masked hypertension thereby putting almost 40 per cent people at risk of misdiagnosis. The survey conducted on 622 males and 240 females from Bengal.

Masked hypertension is a phenomenon when an individual's blood pressure reading is normal at doctor's chamber but high at home.

Whereas, the white-coat hypertension is defined as a condition in which people exhibit a blood pressure level above the normal range in a clinical setting. White-coat hypertensive patients are often misdiagnosed and put on anti hypertension drugs as a result of this they have to undergo unnecessary medication.

On the other hand, a masked hypertensive patient may go undiagnosed thereby running the risk of various ailments including that of in heart, kidneys and brain.

The diseases often lead to premature mortality, says the survey. India Heart Study findings also highlight a high prevalence of masked hypertension and white-coat hypertension in India at 42 per cent on their first visit to the doctor's clinic. The survey also mentions that Indians have an average resting heart rate of 80 beats per minute, higher than the desired rate of 72 beats per minute. What is more striking in the survey is that unlike other countries, Indians have higher blood pressure in the evening hours than in the morning. The doctors who attend these patients must have to rethink the timing when they should advise the patients to swallow the drugs.

The investigators examined the blood pressure of 18,918 participants through 1233 doctors across 15 states including Bengal over a period of nine months. The participants' blood pressure was monitored at home hour times in a day for 7 consecutive days.

Dr Soumitra Kumar, Professor and Head, Department of Cardiology, Vivekananda Institute of Medical Sciences and Ramkrishna Mission Seva Prathisthan in Kolkata said: "There is a close linkage between high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases, which are on the rise in our country. We need to take right measures to cut down on the risks by monitoring our blood pressure regularly and having a healthy lifestyle. The survey has provided us with insights on the prevalence of white-coat hypertension and masked hypertension."

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