Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

India’s burden of heart diseases


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Report

Mains level: Not Much

According to the Global Burden of Disease, nearly a quarter (24.8 per cent) of all deaths in India is due to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).

The fastest-growing economy has some perils. In this newscard, you will get to see how CVDs are a legacy of economic growth.

Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Report

  • The GBD is a comprehensive regional and global research program of disease burden that assesses mortality and disability from major diseases, injuries, and risk factors.
  • GBD is a collaboration of over 3600 researchers from 145 countries.
  • It is based out of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Indian burden of CVDs

  • About a third of the senior citizens have been diagnosed with hypertension, 5.2% with chronic heart disease and 2.7% with stroke
  • Even an analysis of the medical certification of cause of death (MCCD) reports points to an increase in the proportion of deaths due to CVD. It went from 20.4 per cent in 1990 to 27.1 per cent in 2004.
  • According to MCCD report, 2018, CVDs accounted for more than half (57%) of the total deaths in the age group of 25–69 years.
  • Case fatality due to CVD in low-income countries, including India, appears to be much higher than in middle and high-income countries.
  • In India, for example, the mean age at which people get the first myocardial infarction is 53 years, which is about 10 years earlier than their counterparts in developed countries.
  • About a third (32 per cent) of the senior citizens have been diagnosed with hypertension, 5.2 per cent were diagnosed with chronic heart disease and 2.7 per cent with stroke.

Women are more vulnerable

  • Numerous studies have also pointed out that CVD remains the number-one threat to women’s health as more women than men die annually due to these diseases.
  • A Harvard study shows low high-density lipoproteins and high triglycerides appear are the main factors that increase the chances of death from cardiovascular disease in women over age 65.
  • As per the LASI report, gender differences were evident in cross-state variations.
  • CVD among men was higher in Kerala (45 per cent), Goa (44 per cent), Andaman and Nicobar (41 per cent) and lower in Chhattisgarh (15 per cent), Meghalaya (16 per cent), Nagaland (17 per cent).

Why CVDs are prevalent in India?

  • Epidemiological evidence suggests that CVD is associated with behavioural factors such as smoking, alcohol use, low physical activity, and insufficient vegetable and fruit intake.
  • In the Indian context, poverty, maternal malnutrition, and early life changes enhance an individual’s risk of CVDs.
  • Rural to urban migration that happens in distress leads to over-crowded and unclean environments in urban slums.
  • Problems of inadequate housing, indoor pollution, infectious diseases, inappropriate diet, stress and smoking crop up as a result.

Need of the hour

  • CVD-risk prevention is one of the important priorities among India’s sustainable development goals.
  • In an earlier estimate, WHO had said with India’s present CVD burden, the country would lose $237 billion from the loss of productivity and spending on healthcare over 10 years (2005–2015).
  • This is because the diseases affect the country’s working population.

Way ahead

  • The government should devise an approach that can improve the efficiency of care and health system preparedness to curb the CVD epidemic currently sweeping India.
  • Attempts in direction to preserve the traditional lifestyle are also necessary.

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