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Cardiovascular diseases in India

Rising Threat of Cardiovascular Diseases in India

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are considered to be one of the leading causes of death around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally, CVDs take about 17.9 million lives per year. Moreover, the World Heart Federation predicts that over 23 million deaths will occur annually by 2030. The WHO reports that approximately 75% of all the deaths from CVDs are in low- and middle-income countries, such as India. Cardiovascular diseases are among the most dangerous diseases in India.

CVD-related mortality in India increased by 34% from 1990 to 2016 according to ‘The changing patterns of cardiovascular diseases and their risk factors in the states of India: the Global Burden of Disease Study 1990–2016’.

CVDs are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels. Cardiovascular diseases include coronary heart disease, rheumatic heart disease, congenital heart disease, pulmonary embolism, and others.

Most of the deaths from CVDs are due to strokes, as well as heart attacks. Furthermore, one-third of CVD deaths occur in people under 70.

More statistics on cardiovascular diseases in India

Here are some interesting data from the Global Burden of Disease:

Common diseases in India
According to the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Report

LASI (Longitudinal Aging Study in India) found that non-communicable diseases, including CVDs, are on the rise in India. The incidence rates (based on gender) of cardiovascular diseases in India vary from state to state.

The following Indian states had higher CVD rates, as per the LASI report:

Self-reported prevalence of diagnosed CVDs
State Male Female

Kerala

45.1%

42.2%

Goa

43.5%

41.3%

Andaman & Nicobar islands

41.2%

38.5%

Here is the list of the states with lower CVD rates among among male and female according to the same source:

Self-reported prevalence of diagnosed CVDs
State Male Female

Chhattisgarh

14.6%

17.9%

Meghalaya

16.4%

33.2%

Nagaland

16.7%

15%

Furthermore, CVDs accounted for 57% of deaths in the age group of 25-69, according to the Medical Certification of Cause of Death report 2018.

Symptoms and Prevention Measures

The symptoms of cardiovascular diseases can be different depending on the cause. Usually, the symptoms of heart issues include:

  • Chest pain,

  • The feeling of being short of breath,

  • Pressure in the chest, heaviness or discomfort,

  • Tiredness,

  • Feeling dizzy, etc.

Among the symptoms of blockages in blood vessels throughout the body are:

  • Pain or cramps in legs when walking,

  • Red skin on legs,

  • Swelling in your legs,

  • Difficulty with talking,

  • Leg sores that don’t heal, etc.

It is recommended to take the following steps as a part of heart disease prevention measures:

  • Maintaining a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, as well as whole grains. Limiting processed foods, sugar and salt is an essential component of the diet.

  • Losing weight ( if needed),

  • Exercising more frequently,

  • Giving up smoking,

  • Visiting the healthcare provider on a regular basis. If you have a medical condition, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, it’s important to take care of it. 

Risk factors of cardiovascular diseases in India

The Indian Heart Association reports that heart disease is more prevalent among Indians and South Asians than in western countries. An underlying genetic predisposition to metabolic deregulation and cardiomyopathy may explain this. Other risk factors include increased consumption of red meats, saturated fats, higher stress, sedentary lifestyle, etc.

The study ‘Prevalence of risk factors for coronary artery disease (CAD) in an urban Indian population’ reveals a high prevalence of CAD risk factors among urban people in India. Most of the study population (about 78%) had 2 or more risk factors of CAD, such as hypertension, family history of premature CAD, etc.

In short, various studies demonstrate that diabetes, hypertension, smoking are among key risk factors of cardiovascular diseases in India.

Diabetes

As diabetes can lead to high blood glucose levels, it can damage the blood vessels supplying blood to heart. Over time, it can cause arterial blockage and increase the heart attack risk. Heart disease, as well as stroke are among the major causes of death among diabetic adults.

Diabetes is among the most common diseases in India. The prevalence of diabetes in India is quite high. It is home to more than 74.2 million diabetics, as per the Diabetes Atlas 2021. The Indian Council of Medical Research reports that diabetes prevalence is higher in urban areas (11.8%) than in rural areas (3.8%).

Hypertension

Hypertension is also a modifiable risk factor of cardiovascular diseases.

Hypertension causes excess pressure on the blood vessels. This may damage coronary arteries. Consequently, clogged arteries increase the risk of blood clots and heart attack.

The prevalence of hypertension among adults is about 30% in India, as per the study ‘Prevalence, Awareness, Treatment, and Control of Hypertension in Young Adults (20–39 Years) in Kerala, South India’.

Smoking

Smoking is one of the key risk factors for coronary heart diseases. Smoking can cause atherosclerosis. In this case, fat accumulates in the arteries, increasing the risk of coronary heart disease. Furthermore, smokers are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases.

Based on the data from India Brand Equity Foundation, India is the world’s 2nd biggest tobacco producer (behind China). Moreover, according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, India has 267 million tobacco users.

Healthcare startups to tackle cardiovascular diseases in India

The use of technology in the Indian healthcare system can enable early detection and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Healthcare startups in India strive to prevent the most common diseases in the country, including cardiovascular diseases.

Sunfox Technologies

One of the startup’s key products is the Spandan (a portable ECG device). With this device, you can monitor cardiac conditions, diagnose an arrhythmia, and control your heart rate. Healthcare professionals may also find it useful. They can use it remotely and for in-person diagnosis as well.

Tricog Health Services

Tricog Health Services focuses on providing accurate and instant diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases. The startup offers healthcare centers its cloud-based ECG machine. The device helps doctors detect heart complications instantly. Both patients and doctors can access real-time diagnosis information.

Cardiotrack

Cardiotrack provides m-Health platform. Primary care physicians can view ECG data captured by IoT sensors, save patient records for easy retrieval, and securely store the information in the cloud. In addition, ECG signals can help identify specific heart conditions. The product’s diagnostics sensors are designed to withstand extreme temperatures, dust, and humidity.

Cardiac Design Labs

Cardiac Design Labs aims to provide effective cardiac monitoring and diagnosis. The startup’s wearable devices run on proprietary algorithms and connected systems offering real time access and reporting. Cardiac Design Labs’ devices provide ECG monitoring up to 48 hours. Users can connect these devices to a laptop or a mobile handset.

Docus

With Docus, Indian hospital doctors can conduct video and written consultations with the best international doctors to treat severe diseases, including cardiovascular diseases. Docus has partnered with top cardiologists from the USA and Europe. Therefore, patients with cardiovascular diseases can receive the most accurate diagnosis and treatment.

To conclude, cardiovascular diseases are among the most common diseases in India. Regular health checks and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

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