Cardiovascular deaths increasing in rural areas, says study

India accounts for about a fifth of cardiovascular deaths globally, but nationally representative data on mortality trends are not yet available. In order to solve this problem, nationwide mortality study, was recently done a team of doctors.

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India accounts for about a fifth of cardiovascular deaths globally, but nationally, representative data on mortality trends are not yet available. In order to solve this problem, nationwide mortality study was recently done a team of doctors.

The report of this study was recently published in the medical journal, The Lancet. It aimed to assess the trends in ischaemic heart disease and stroke mortality over 15 years using the Million Death Study.

The researchers determined national and subnational cardiovascular mortality rates and trends by sex and birth cohort using cause of death ascertained by verbal autopsy from 2001 to 2013 among 2·4 million households.

Dr Prashant Mathur, Director at National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR), who was one of the team members in the study, said, “Cardiovascular disease, comprising mostly ischaemic heart disease and stroke, is the leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 17·7 million deaths annually. Of these deaths, 6·2 million (35%) occur in middle age (30–69 years). WHO estimates that India accounts for just over a fifth of these deaths and therefore reduction of global cardiovascular mortality greatly depends on India, where cardiovascular disease develops a decade earlier in life compared with high-income countries.”

He added, “Over the past 15 years, unequal distribution of the country’s rapid economic growth and urbanisation has probably contributed to marked regional differences in the key risk factors for cardiovascular mortality. Understanding of the differences in cardiovascular mortality by sex, rural and urban residence and age across India can help to plan prevention and treatment services and identify causes that might differ from cardiovascular risk factors documented in high-income countries.”

Findings of the study include:

  • Cardiovascular disease caused more than 2·1 million deaths in India in 2015 at all ages
  • At ages 30–69 years, of 1·3 million cardiovascular deaths, 0·9 million (68·4%) were caused by ischaemic heart disease and 0·4 million (28·0%) by a stroke
  • At ages 30–69 years, the probability of dying from ischaemic heart disease increased during 2000–15, from 10·4% to 13·1% in men and 4·8% to 6·6% in women.
  • Ischaemic heart disease mortality rates in rural areas increased rapidly and surpassed those in urban areas.
  • By contrast, the probability of dying from stroke decreased from 5·7% to 5·0% in men and 5·0% to 3·9% in women.
  • A third of premature stroke deaths occurred in the northeastern states, inhabited by a sixth of India’s population, where rates increased significantly and were three times higher than the national average