One in every five (21%) adults are hypertensive in Bangladesh.
Hypertension causes increased risks of various noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) especially cardiovascular diseases.
The Noncommunicable Disease Control (NCDC) Programme of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has undertaken a number of initiatives in order to build mass awareness, and make drugs and healthcare service on hypertension available across the country.
Nonetheless, civil society organisations, mass media, and people of all walks of life need to work in a collaborative way alongside the government to reduce the exponential prevalence and spread of hypertension.
Officials of the NCDC Programme exchanged views with journalists on the issue Wednesday (18 May) at a city hotel.
Observing World Health Hypertension Day, the NCDC Programme of the DGHS, PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress), and the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh (NHFB) jointly organised a "Meet the Press" event, supported by Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI).
"Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer" is this year's theme for the observing day, reads a press release.
It was informed at the event that the Noncommunicable Diseases Control (NCDC) Programme of the DGHS has been running "Hypertension detection, treatment, and follow-up" activity since 2018 by establishing NCD corners at various government hospitals in order to provide free healthcare services to hypertensive patients.
The DGHS has undertaken plans to increase the number of NCD Corners all across the country to 200.
Director of the NCDC Programme Prof Dr Robed Amin said, "Prevalence of hypertension is rising exponentially. Combating this crisis requires concerted efforts from the health sector, along with other bodies of the government, civil society organisations, mass media and all others."
"We need to emphasise prevention mechanisms. Building hospitals alone cannot safeguard the people of this nation from the clutch of noncommunicable diseases like hypertension." said National Prof Retiered Brigadier Abdul Malik, founder and president of the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh in his speech.
It is highly important to build mass awareness around risks of hypertension related cardiovascular diseases and other non-communicable diseases, and adoption of healthy lifestyle i.e., abstaining from taking excessive salt, avoiding intake of foods laden with saturated fats and trans fats, abstaining from use of tobacco and alcohol, reducing excessive body weight or obesity, doing physical exercise regularly and being physically active.
Hypertension is dubbed a "silent killer". In most cases, there are no specific warnings or symptoms for hypertension.
Untreated hypertension can lead to chest pain or angina, heart attack, heart failure, and irregular heartbeats, and even stroke.
In addition, hypertension can cause kidney damage. Taking regular medication to control hypertension can reduce risks of heart diseases.
Among discussants at the event, GHAI Bangladesh Country Lead Muhammad Ruhul Quddus, Professor and Head of Department of Epidemiology and Research Dr Sohel Reza Choudhury and Consultant Cardiologist and Deputy Director (Clinical) Dr Mir Ishraquzzaman at the National Heart Foundation, and Executive Director of PROGGA ABM Zubair were present.