Tamil Nadu has 55.1 lakh hypertension cases while 26.15 lakh patients have both BP and diabetes, new health scheme reveals

According to the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine data, 112.78 lakh people have been screened under the scheme so far.
Representational image of a blood pressure check.
Representational image of a blood pressure check.

CHENNAI:  After the launch of the Makkalai Thedi Maruthuvam (MTM) Scheme in 2021 by Chief Minister MK Stalin, 55.1 lakh new cases of hypertension, 31.53 lakh cases of diabetes, and 26.15 lakh patients with both hypertension and diabetes have been identified during health screening of people under the scheme in Tamil Nadu in the past two years.

According to the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine data, 112.78 lakh people have been screened under the scheme so far. Under MTM, woman health volunteers will screen people who are 18 and above for hypertension and those who are 30 and above for diabetes, cervical and breast cancer, and other non-communicable diseases.

Dr Priya Pasupathy, nodal officer for MTM, Directorate of Medical Education and Research, said both institution-based and population-based screening is being carried out under the scheme, and newly diagnosed patients are immediately referred to doctors for treatment. Once every three months, doctor consultation will be ensured for these patients for follow-up care.

The scheme not only helps in ascertaining the incidence of non-communicable diseases among people, it also helps in early diagnosis. As initial symptoms are rare in hypertension and diabetes cases, many people don’t visit doctors. The delay in diagnosis may lead to further damage to vital organs.

In many cases, people learn that they are hypertensive only after suffering a heart attack, Dr Priya said. Speaking to TNIE, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine Dr T S Selvavinayagam said annual check-up is a must for all above the age of 30.

For people with diabetes and hypertension, it is necessary that they visit nearby primary health centres once every three months to ensure that their hypertension and diabetes are under control. “Only then can we prevent complications,” Dr Selvavinayagam said.

‘People must make use of free facilities in hosps’

“All the required drugs and diagnostic tests are offered free of cost at the PHCs. People should use the facility. People should come forward to take care of their health,” Dr Selvavinayagam said. Dr S Chandrasekar, Head Department of Medicine, Government Stanley Medical College Hospital, said after COVID-19, the number of hypertension, diabetes and heart attack cases has gone up. “We are seeing at least 15 to 30 new cases of hypertension per day. Sedentary lifestyle, work-from-home culture, and stress are some of the reasons,” he said.

Physical activity such as 30 minutes of brisk walking per day, reducing intake of salt and processed foods, and reducing stress will help control lifestyle disorders, said Dr P Paranthaman, Head, the General Medicine Department, Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital.

Free cancer screening launched in four districts

Health minister Ma Subramanian on Wednesday launched a free cancer screening programme in Erode, Tirupattur, Ranipet and Kanniyakumari districts. “Oral cancer screening will be done for everyone above 18 years of age, and women above 30 will be screened for breast and cervical cancer. Free camps will be held at 1,397 places,” he said.

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