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NEW DELHI : Indian women in their 50s are more likely to be hypertensive than men in the same age group, shows a study by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI). Researchers at PHFI said theirs is the first study to comprehensively bust the myth that Indian men are at a higher risk of hypertension.

The researchers analyzed data collected from three large national surveys —the National Family Health Survey-4, Study of Ageing and Health wave-2 and Longitudinal Ageing Study of India wave 1—which included a representative sample of Indian adults from all states and Union territories, with the sample size running up to 300,000 individuals.

Prof Parimala Mohanty, the author of the study noted, “The results clearly show that after attaining 50 years of age, Indian women had more risk of developing hypertension than men of comparable age, busting the myth that women are less susceptible to such conditions lifelong. This is similar to what other studies have found in many Western nations, despite large socio-cultural differences between India and the West. Hence, this study dispels another commonly-prevailing perception in Indian society—that Indian women may be less prone than Western women to hypertension and allied cardiac diseases because of their traditional lifestyle."

Prof Ambarish Dutta, senior author of the study noted, “Age-related rise of blood pressure in women is sharper than men... The women-men difference keeps widening as age further increases."

Dr Lipilekha Patnaik, another senior author pins this phenomenon of hypertension in women overtaking men after 50 to mainly post-menopausal bio-hormonal changes.

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