New Delhi: While the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular ailments, cancer, diabetes, stroke and chronic respiratory diseases, is surging unabated in India, suicide remains the leading cause of death among the youth, especially women.
A joint initiative of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), in collaboration with the ministry of health and family welfare on Wednesday released a comprehensive report, India State-level Disease Burden Initiative, which analyses several major NCDs and suicide cases for every state in India.
The study was based on an analysis of all identifiable epidemiological data from India between 1990 and 2016, as part of the Global Burden of Disease study. The findings are also reported in a series of five research papers published in The Lancet.
According to the report, prevalence of ischemic heart disease and stroke has increased by over 50% from 1990 to 2016, with an increase observed in all states. The prevalence of cardiovascular diseases in 2016 was the highest in Kerala, Punjab, and Tamil Nadu, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa and West Bengal.
The rate of increase in the burden of ischemic heart disease and diabetes was the highest in less developed states, where the burden of chronic obstructive lung disease and infectious conditions was already high, the report stated.
The prevalence of diabetes in adults aged 20 years or older also increased from 5.5% in 1990 to 7.7% in 2016, which was highest in the more developed states such as Tamil Nadu and Kerala and in New Delhi.
“Major concern is that the highest rate of increase in ischemic heart disease and diabetes is in the less developed states of India, which already have a high burden from chronic obstructive lung disease and from a range of infectious and childhood diseases. So, the control of non-communicable diseases in these states has to be boosted without delay," said Balram Bhargava, secretary in the department of health research, and director general, ICMR.
The proportional contribution of cancers to the total health loss in India also doubled from 1990 to 2016, but the incidence of different types of cancers varies widely across states.
The report has highlighted that pollution is an endocrine disrupter, contributing to diabetes and around 43% lung cancers were because of pollution. While cancers of the cervix, stomach and oesophagus have shown a decline, breast and liver cancers have increased dramatically, despite the fact that nearly 60% cancers can be prevented. Similarly, the number of chronic obstructive lung disease cases in India has increased from 28 million to 55 million in the 26-year period.
Suicide is the leading cause of death in the 15-39 year age group, with 37% of the total global suicide deaths among women occurring in India, the study revealed. Suicide death rate among the elderly has also increased over the past quarter of a century.
“The ten-fold variation between the states in suicide death rate for women emphasizes the need to better understand the reasons behind these suicides and make concerted efforts to reduce this avoidable loss of predominantly young lives," added Bhargav.