Heart attacks, respiratory diseases, cancer, NCDs cause of six out of 10 deaths in India
The contribution of injuries to the total disease burden has increased in most states since 1990.
Heart attack, stroke, chronic respiratory diseases, cancer and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are responsible for six out of 10 deaths (61.8%) in India, shows data from a study released today.
The figures stood at 37.9% almost two decades ago when more than half of deaths (53.6%) were happening due to communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases.
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), in collaboration with Public Health Foundation of India and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation picked up the first state-level disease burden and risk factors trends from 1990 to 2016 as part of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016.
“India is committed to strengthening health data surveillance and health systems in the country. It needs both macro and micro planning,” said JP Nadda, Union health minister.
“This report will play a major role taking more specific action to improve the health and lives of the poor with special focus on the states that are relatively less developed.”
With a population of 1.3 billion, almost one-fifth of the world’s population lives in India.
Of the total disease burden in India in 1990, a tenth was caused by a group of risks including unhealthy diet, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and overweight. The contribution of this group of risks increased massively to a quarter of the total disease burden in India in 2016.
Tobacco also emerged as a significant contributor to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and certain cancers etc. as it was responsible for 6% of the total disease burden in India in 2016.
Of the total disease burden, 61% was due to communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases in 1990, which dropped to 33% in 2016.
There was a corresponding increase in the contribution of non-communicable diseases from 30% of the total disease burden in 1990 to 55% to 2016, and of injuries from 9% to 12%.
Infectious and associated diseases made up the majority of disease burden in most of the states in 1990, but this was less than half in all states in 2016.
There were wide variations between the states. Kerala, Goa, and Tamil Nadu have the largest dominance of non-communicable diseases and injuries over infectious and associated diseases, whereas this dominance is present but relatively the lowest in Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan.
While the burden of most infectious and associated diseases reduced in India from 1990 to 2016, five of the ten individual leading causes of disease burden in India in 2016 still owed to diarrhoeal diseases, lower respiratory infections, iron-deficiency anaemia, preterm birth complications, and tuberculosis.
The contribution of injuries to the total disease burden has increased in most states since 1990. The highest proportion of disease burden due to injuries is in young adults.
Road injuries and self-harm, which includes suicides and non-fatal outcomes of self-harm, are the leading contributors to the injury burden in India. The range of disease burden or Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY) rate varied 3 fold for road injuries and 6 fold for self-harm among the states of India in 2016.
The disease burden due to child and maternal malnutrition has dropped in India substantially since 1990, but it is still the single largest risk factor, responsible for 15% of the total disease burden in India in 2016.
Air pollution is proving to be another significant threat, especially household air pollution, which was responsible for 5% of the total disease burden in India in 2016, and outdoor air pollution for 6%.
Also, despite a lot of government emphasis on providing safe drinking water, especially in remote areas, unsafe water and sanitation still contributes 5% of the total disease burden, mainly through diarrhoeal diseases and other infections.
The two-year study was published in The Lancet.
(Graphics by Hitesh Mathur)