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In recent years, India has seen an increase in Heart Diseases. Sedentary life is more common now. Change in lifestyle, eating habits and reduced physical exertion/exercise due to this lifestyle, is responsible for increased incidence of heart disease in India. Unhealthy eating and cooking habits, consumption of excess fats and lack of outdoor activities are some of the factors contributing to this changing picture of disease.

According to WHO, Coronary Heart Disease or CHD, will overtake infectious diseases as the most common disease by 2010 in India (WHO). The World Health Organisation also estimates 60% of the world’s population to be Indian by 2010 and by 2015, half of all deaths in India are likely to be caused by CHD. Prevalence
CVD is more prevalent in India and China than in all the economically developed countries in the world combined. (WHO, Geneva, 2003)

It is estimated that women will continue to experience disproportionately high mortality from CVD. India is one of the countries in which women will represent a higher proportion of CVD deaths than men, by 2040 (Yusuf, S. et al. 2001)

Number of years of productive life lost to CVD
Compared to the year 2000, the number of years of productive life lost to CVD will have increased in 2030, by 95 percent in India, as compared to 20 percent in the U.S., 30 percent in Portugal, 64 percent in Brazil and 57 percent in China. (Leeder & Greenberg, 2004)

The above figures give an idea of the current picture and an estimation of the future picture of heart disease in India. Taking into account the trends in the population affected and the risk factors, Public Health interventions need to be tailored for change in lifestyle and emphasis should be given to regular health check–ups for individuals and families.

Leeder S., R.S., Greenberg 2004 A Race Against Time. The Challenge of Cardiovascular Disease in Developing Economies,” Columbia University, NewYork.

Yusuf, S., et al., “Global burden of cardiovascular diseases: part 1: general considerations, the epidemiologic transition, risk factors, and impact of urbanization.” Circulation 2001; 104:2746–2753.

World Health Organisation 2003: Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases. WHO, Geneva.

World Health Report 2002: Reducing Risks, Promoting Healthy Life: World Health Organization, Geneva.

World Health Report 2004: Changing History. Source: World Health Organization, Geneva.