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Burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in India

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the major cause of mortality in India. According to the Non Communicable Diseases Country Profiles 2014 released by WHO, NCDs are the biggest global killers accounting 38 million deaths every year with a whopping 28 million in low and middle-income countries, including India. As per the report, NCDs account for nearly 6 million of the total mortality in India, which is 60% of the total mortality reported annually in India. A progressive rise in the disease pattern of NCDs foretells a serious public health issue.

WHO – Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) Country Profiles, 2014

WHO – Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) Country Profiles, 2014

Heart and vascular diseases, common cancers, chronic lung disease, diabetes, mental illness and injuries are the major NCDs prevalent in India, causing mainly due to alcohol and tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and psychosocial stress. It has also been noted that the prevalence of NCDs as a result of lifestyle patterns have increased twofold in the last decade compared to communicable diseases.

Some of the major findings related to NCDs are:

  • More than 20% of the population in India has at least one chronic disease and more than 10% of the people have more than one
  • It is estimated that 61.3 million people aged 20-79 years live with diabetes in India (2011 estimates). This number is expected to increase to 101.2 million by 2030
  • In India, 118 million people were suffering from hypertension in 2000, and this number is likely to increase to 213 million by 2025
  • The rate of cardiovascular disease mortality in India in the 30-59-year age group is double that in the U.S.
  • Indians get diabetes on average 10 years earlier than their Western counterparts
  • Lifestyle changes have lead to decreased physical activity, increased consumption of fat, sugar and calories, and higher stress levels, affecting insulin sensitivity and obesity
  • The implementation of simple interventions that lower NCD risk factors can result in reducing pre-mature deaths by half to two-third


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