Migration to cities causes blood pressure: study

December 3rd, 2008 - 2:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) Migration to urban areas is an important contributor to high blood pressure and hypertension, as has been found among people in the Indian capital in a new study conducted by AIIMS.”Living in urban areas is associated with hypertension and migration to urban areas is in itself a risk factor for developing hypertension,” says the study carried out by the Centre for Community Medicine at the premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here.

The researchers studied 500 people in two batches by collecting three blood pressure readings from each. The people selected in both groups did not have any previous history of blood pressure or hypertension before migration.

“We found that hypertension is prevalent among a large number of people who migrated to the capital in the last few years. Men possessed higher blood pressure levels than women,” Yadlapalli S. Kusuma, the lead researcher, said in the study.

The two batches comprised settled migrants who have been residing in Delhi for at least 10 years and those who migrated to the capital in the last two years.

“In both samples, hypertension was prevalent irrespective of the time period. The settled migrants continued to exhibit higher blood pressure while recent migrants outnumbered them with regard to hypertension,” said the study published in the Indian science journal, Current Science.

A blood pressure reading below 80 mmhg is considered low. From 120-140 mmhg is high blood pressure. Once the reading crosses 140 mmhg, it is called hypertension.

The study found that among the recent migrants, 17 percent of men and 15 percent of women suffered from high blood pressure while the number is higher at 25 percent and 17 percent respectively among settled migrants.

“The causes are primarily a fast lifestyle, work under pressure and a change in eating habits,” the researcher said.

The study also talks of pre-hypertension, which is the stage just before becoming hypertensive.

“A greater proportion of individuals fell in the pre-hypertension category in both the groups. Among settled migrants, 62 percent and 60 percent women fall in pre-hypertension category compared to 57 percent men and 47 percent women in recent migrants group,” the study said.

Hypertension is prevalent in urban areas, and economically disadvantaged people are at risk, it found.

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