25pc Bangladeshis suffer from high blood pressure, 10pc have diabetes


One out of 10 people suffer from diabetes while one out of four has high blood pressure in Bangladesh, said a report published on Monday by the National Institute of Population Research and Training (NIPORT) at a hotel in Dhaka.

The study titled ‘Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2017-18’ also said the diseases are more severe among urban people and high earners.

The number of diabetic patients is nearly equal among women and men, but cases of blood pressure are higher among the female population, the report added.

The research was commissioned mainly on child mortality before five, child marriage, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Preliminary findings of the study show the diabetic diseases are quickly increasing among the malnourished men and women while high blood pressure is rampant among old people.

As the diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure are chronic, the treatment mostly takes a lifetime, the study observes.
The study was conducted in association with icddr,b (formerly known as International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh), University of North Carolina and US-based ICF International. The study was conducted between September 2017 and March 2018.

Head of the icddr,b’s non communicable disease programme Aliya Nahid told Prothom Alo that the survey reveals some basic features about diabetes and high blood pressure. For the first time, she added, juveniles were included in the study.

She also said the government has taken up various preventive measures to counter the propensity of diseases. The next survey will say whether these measures have been effective.

State of diabetes

The study says 11 million people have diabetes. Of them, 2.6 million are aged between 18 and 34 years while 8.4 million are over 35. The survey was conducted on 6,997 female and 5,299 male participants.

Alarmingly, according to the report, 60 per cent people were found unaware of their diabetes. Only 13 per cent people were aware that they had the ailment.

The study stated that those of the 22 per cent people who already are taking treatment, fail to have control over their diabetic level.

The situation is gradually deteriorating. According to a study in 2011, 11 per cent of the people aged above 35 had diabetes, but it rose to 14 per cent in the recent study.

Number of high blood pressure patients rises
Non-communicable diseases are more fatal in the country. As high as 60 per cent people die of non-communicable diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, renal disease and throat infection.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) endocrinology department’s associate professor Shahazada Selim has been conducting research on diabetes in the country.

Asked about the NIPORT study, he said, “Many small and big reports suggest that the number of the diabetes patients is much higher than that reported by NIPORT. A study, for example, conducted on students in a remote college in Tangail and Dhaka Medical College shows 20 per cent of them have diabetes.”

As high as 29.9 people have been suffering from high blood pressure. A total of 28 per cent women and 26 men above 18 years suffer from high blood pressure.

If this tendency continues, in the next one decade, the number of high blood pressure patients will reach 37.8 million in the country.

The study also says half of the female patients and two-third of the male patients do not know about their diseases.

The number of high blood pressure patients is also climbing. According to the 2011 study, 32 per cent of the women above 35 years and 19 per cent of the males had high blood pressure. The percentage has gone up to 45 and 34 per cent respectively.
As many as 7,429 women and 5,700 men attended the survey conducted over high blood pressure.

Government’s measures

While presenting the findings of the study, the researchers said the government has been running various programmes at 30 upazilas on non-communicable diseases. It has a plan to extend the programmes to 200 upazilas by 2022.

They also told the media that the heath assistants at the community clinics examine blood pressure and diabetes of the senior citizens regularly.

The non-communicable disease programme’s former director and health department’s director general (heath education) AHM Enayet Hussain said there are steps being taken to advise people about lower consumption of sugar and salt, refraining from smoking, and also taking regular exercise.

People are being encouraged to come to the community clinics to check high blood pressure and diabetes. And most of the time, they are given free treatment.

But, the experts think the measures are not enough to tackle the growing trend of diseases.

Bangladesh diabetic society president professor AK Azad said diabetes is approaching as an epidemic.

A draft diabetes policy has been submitted to the government, but the government hasn’t responsed as yet.