As part of the global ‘May Measurement Month,’ Mumbai-based Amar Gandhi Foundation and Mumbai Kidney Foundation launched a month-long hypertension screening campaign across Mumbai on May 16.
Talking about this initiative Dr Bhupendra Gandhi of the Amar Gandhi Foundation said “Raised blood pressure is the biggest single contributing risk factor for global death and the worldwide burden of disease, and the May Measurement Month initiative has already begun to lay strong foundations for increasing public understanding and awareness around blood pressure.”
In order to roll this initiative on the ground, Amar Gandhi Foundation has reached out to Jain International Trade Organization (JITO), Swaminarayan temples across Mumbai and a collective of mosques. Trained volunteers will be engaged to check the blood pressure of people visiting these religious places.
According to Dr Umesh Khanna, Secretary, Amar Gandhi Foundation and Chairman Mumbai Kidney Foundation, doctors will train volunteers to check blood pressure by a simple digital instrument. “This is an attempt to ‘shift gears from doctors to non-doctors’ and thereby help to diagnose the huge prevalence of hypertension in our country, most of which is undetected. This campaign is hence a mass movement which will help in preventing heart disease, paralytic strokes, kidney failure, blindness and dementia.”
Dr Bipin Doshi an active spokesperson from Jain International Trade Organization (JITO) said, “This is an excellent initiative for our country and JITO will do this campaign in more than 100 Jain temples in Mumbai.
Afzal Shaikh of Mumbai Kidney Foundation has organised free blood pressure check-ups in various mosques in western suburbs of Mumbai. According to him, “The holy month of Ramadan is here; this campaign will help large number of fasting people to know about their blood pressure and to take necessary lifestyle measures to control blood pressure.”
Similarly, Manoj Ajmera an active functionary of Swaminarayan temples will start this initiative in various temples of Mumbai. Efforts are being made to approach the Archbishop of Mumbai to do this campaign in various churches.
“We hope that maximum number of Mumbaikars make use of this screening campaign and understand the importance of regular blood pressure monitoring. Only one third of people with high blood pressure are aware of them having hypertension, it is therefore called a silent killer responsible for more than 9.4 million deaths globally” added Dr Khanna.
Dr Hemal Shah, senior nephrologist said, “Once people know that their blood pressure is above 130/80, they must make the following lifestyle changes:
- 30 minutes of daily exercise.
- Consume #Ek Chammach Kam salt, daily.
- Control your weight
- Stop smoking and consuming tobacco in any form
- Avoid added sugar
- Eat more than 5 servings of fruits/vegetables per day.
- If overweight, lose weight.
- Limit alcohol intake
- Avoid stress where possible. Do yoga and meditation.
- Use less oils; not more than 3 tablespoons per day.
According to Dr Bhavesh Vora of Asian Heart Hospital, “If your blood pressure is more than 140/90 on more than one occasion, visit your family doctor. You may need to add anti-hypertensive drugs along with lifestyle changes.”