Public-health experts have suggested easy availability of medications at community clinics to combat hypertension following its higher trend in Bangladesh.
A large number of people here suffer from hypertension, a non-communicable disease that poses various health risks.
The experts made the call at a two-day workshop for journalists styled 'Hypertension and Heart Health' held in Dhaka city from 20-21 September 2022.
The event was organised by research and advocacy organisation PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) with support from Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI).
One in every five, or 21 per cent, adults here suffers from hypertension, according to the 2018 Bangladesh NCD Steps Survey, conducted by the government with the technical support of World Health Organisation.
Most of the sufferers, half of them women (51 per cent) and two-thirds of men (67 per cent) are unaware that they have hypertension, it disclosed.
Study findings reveal more than 10-million people die each year due to hypertension, which is more than all communicable diseases combined.
Hypertension can silently damage different body parts.
Blood pressure measurement and availability of hypertension medicines must be ensured at all community clinics to increase public awareness of hypertension and improve quality of healthcare services, the experts told the workshop.
Untreated hypertension can lead to chest pain or angina, heart attack, heart failure, irregular heartbeats as well as stroke.
Referring to the survey, speakers said less than one in every seven people has been able to control their hypertension condition by taking medications.
According to the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) 2019, hypertension is one of the three major reasons for death and disability in Bangladesh.
Only 29 per cent of healthcare facilities have trained workers, it said.
Following global targets for preventing non-communicable diseases, the government has set a national target of 25-per cent relative reduction in high blood pressure prevalence by 2025.
The speakers suggested increasing budgetary allocation for hypertension treatment, creating mass awareness for measuring blood pressure and launching a nationwide programme to prevent it.
The issue of controlling hypertension has been prioritised in a number of government policies and plans but lacks any nationwide programme, they said.
To prevent hypertension, the experts suggested maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet.
They called for avoiding intake of excessive salt, abstaining from foods with trans fats, tobacco and alcohol intake, reducing excessive body weight and staying physically active.
Dr Syed Mahfuzul Huq, Dr Sohel Reza Choudhury, Dr SM Mustafa Zaman, Dr Malay Kanti Mridha, Dr Mahfuzur Rahman Bhuiyan, ABM Zubair, Muhammad Ruhul Quddus, Zahirul Alam, Mortuza Haider Liton, Nadira Kiron and Mizan Chowdhury, among others, spoke at the workshop.