Hypertension And Salinity

a person measuring his own blood pressure using a wrist blood pressure meter

There are some studies done that showed an association between drinking water salinity and hypertension prevalence in Bangladesh. In 2002 the WHO recognized the health impacts of consumption of highly saline waters as a priority for investigation under its public health initiatives [1]. It was reported that, higher rates of (pre)-eclampsia and gestational hypertension in pregnant women living on the southwestern coast of Bangladesh were observed, compared with non-coastal pregnant women, which were hypothesized to be caused by saline contamination of drinking water. In Bangladesh, the annual hospital prevalence of hypertension in pregnancy was higher in the dry season (12.2%, 95% CI: 9.5 – 14.8) than in the rainy season (5.1%, 95% CI: 2.91 – 7.26) [2]. Also, a population-based case-control study conducted in Dacope, Bangladesh among 202 pregnant women with (pre)eclampsia or gestational hypertension reported significant associations between both (pre)eclampsia and gestational hypertension separately with sodium intake and thus level of salinity in drinking water from GW sources [3]

Under the ESPA deltas study, icddr,b has done some analysis to see the hypertension prevalence in coastal population and drinking water salinity status. Water samples have been collected from all types of sources, however, for analysis, only tubewell water was used.

Figure 1: Association of high blood pressure with drinking water salinity

This study found a statistically significant association between drinking water salinity and hypertension that shows seasonal variation, increasing trends in the dry season, and is prevalent in women above 35 years of age group. With climate change predictions for Bangladesh and an increase in salinity in drinking water, the issue is likely to worsen, if timely intervention is not implemented.


[1] McMichael, A.J., D.H. Campbell-Lendrum, C.F. Corvalan, K.L. Ebi, A.K. Githeko, J.D. Scherage & A. Woodward (Eds.) (2003) , Climate Change and Human Health, WHO, Geneva , 322 pp.

[2] Khan, A. E., Ireson, A., Kovats, S., Mojumder, S. K., Khusru,  A., Rahman, A., and Vineis, P., (2011) Drinking Water Salinity and Maternal Health in Coastal Bangladesh: Implications of Climate Change. Environ Health Perspect 119(9): doi:10.1289/ehp.1002804

[3] Khan,A., E., Scheelbeek, P. F. D., Shilpi, A. B., Chan, Q., Mojumder, S. K., rahman, A., Haines, A., Vinels, P., (2014). Salinity in drinking water and risk of (pre)eclampsia and gestational hypertension in caosatal bangladesh: A case-control study. PLOS ONE, Vol. 9, Issue 9, e108715.

Source: icddr,b

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