Despite being one of the leading causes of the rise in the mortality rate among men and women in India, the evidence on the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) on India’s population was limited. Now, a study has found that the risk of the disease varied widely among the people residing in different states in the country. The study, conducted and released recently by the Public Health Foundation of India and Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, has found that the risk of suffering from CVD ranges from 13.2 per cent for those living in Jharkhand to 19.5 per cent for those in Kerala.
The study, aimed at gauging the risk among people suffering from cardiovascular disease (CVD) across different states (inclusive of both rural and urban locations) in India, further stated that the risk of the population of Odisha, Bihar, Assam, Rajasthan was 14-15 per cent while residents of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Telangana had 15-16 per cent possibility. Those living in Punjab, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu were at the risk of 17-18 per cent, while the people living in Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh had 18-19 per cent risk of CVD.
The study examined and developed data on the basis of two large household surveys that were conducted between the years 2012 and 2014 which sampled over 7,97,540 adults between the age of 30 and 74. The two surveys were the District Level Household Survey–4 (DLHS-4) and the second update of the Annual Health Survey (AHS). The two surveys covered all 29 states in India apart from Jammu and Kashmir, where data could not be collected due to violent conflicts, and Gujarat, where data were not available in the public domain. It also included the union territories leaving aside Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Lakshadweep.
The survey studied multiple variables that impacted the risk of CVD among Indians residing in both rural and urban areas. These variables included household wealth quintile, education, and whether the household was located in a rural or urban area. The household wealth index was based on 5 key housing characteristics which were water supply, type of toilet and whether it is shared, cooking fuel, housing material, and source of lighting. Adults living in urban areas, as well as those with a higher household wealth or education, tended to have a greater CVD risk, the study found.
After the data on CVD risk collected from 797,540 adults across India was analysed, the study stated that CVD risk was highest in the northern, northeastern, and southern states. In particular, it was found that CVD risk was higher in urban areas and among males. It also stated that the mean the Body Mass Index (BMI) was substantially higher among wealthy than poor individuals, and high blood glucose and High Blood Pressure (BP) were common among poor individuals in middle and old age. The study also concluded that smoking was most prevalent among men, in poorer wealth quintiles, and in rural areas.
In conclusion, the study stated that if India was to minimize CVD’s adverse consequences for health, well-being, financial risk protection, and economic growth of the population then targeted CVD care programs, as well as relevant health policy measures, were urgently needed, particularly in states with a high CVD risk. Given the current size and projected growth of India’s population, the determination and effectiveness of the country’s measures to prevent and treat CVD over the coming years would have an important bearing on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals at the global level.