‘Catch them young’ seems to be the motto for the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital’s hypertension awareness campaign, fcosung on school children all of this year. Celebrating World Health Day under the theme ‘Control Your Blood Pressure’, the State’s premier government hospital launched a drive against childhood hypertension.
“Studies estimate that at least three per cent of children aged between 3 and 10 years, suffer from primary or secondary hypertension. Uncontrolled blood pressure in children can be very dangerous, and it is important that they are diagnosed and treated early,” said Dean Dr V Kanagasabai, addressing doctors and students of Madras Medical College. State Health Minister K C Veeramani and Mayor of Chennai Corporation Saidai Duraiswamy inaugurated the campaign.
“Every week, a team from the Department of Community medicine will visit Corporation and government schools to conduct screening camps for childhood hypertension. Children found with high blood pressure will be referred to the Children’s Hospital in Egmore,” said Dr Kanagasabai.
The young medicos will also conduct health education programmes for children from the eight standard and above, explaining to them the need for lifestyle modifications and the importance of a healthy diet. “Children these days eat high-salt diet of snacks and instant foods, and a high-fat diet of sweets and ice creams. They do not consume enough fruits and vegetables,” Kanagasabai explained.
Revealing the results of a small survey conducted by the hospital among residents of Perumal Koil Street, near Walltax Road, the Dean said, “We screened around 1,000 people and found 35 per cent of them hypertensive. Twenty five per cent of them were newly detected,” he said. In Tamil Nadu, overall prevalence of hypertension is reported to be 14.8 per cent.
Veeramani stressed the need to make measurement of blood pressure affordable. He urged people to go for regular check-ups in order to diagnose the problem early and prevent associated ailments like stroke, heart attack and renal problems.