Largest-ever risk factor study in India identifies cardiovascular disease epidemic causes

April 20, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- The Indian Heart Watch (IHW) study has revealed the truth behind the prevalence, awareness, treatment and control of key risk factors that are driving the country's growing cardiovascular disease (CVD) epidemic, in a first-of-a-kind presentation of data at the World Congress of Cardiology today.

The study assessed the prevalence of different "" and biological CVD risk factors across the country – and results show that these risk factors are now at higher levels in India than in developed countries and regions such as the USA and Western Europe.

Seventy-nine per cent of men and 83 per cent of women were found to be physically inactive, while 51 per cent of men and 48 per cent of women were found to have high fat diets. Some 60 per cent of men and 57 per cent of women were found to have a low intake of fruit and vegetables, while 12 per cent of men and 0.5 per cent of women smoke.

Moreover, the prevalence of biological and metabolic risk factors was also found to be high. Overweight and obesity was reported in 41 per cent of men and 45 per cent of women. High was reported in 33 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women, while high cholesterol was found in one-quarter of all men and women. Diabetes (and or metabolic syndrome) was also reported in 34 per cent of men and 37 per cent of women.

"India has the dubious distinction of being known as the coronary and diabetes capital of the world," said Prof. Prakash Deedwania, University of California, San Francisco, USA. "These results show why - and must prompt the government to develop public health strategies that will change lifestyles, if these risk factors are to be controlled."

According to the IHW, urban social development is also playing a role in the development of CVD risk factors. Risk factors such as smoking, high fat intake and low fruit/vegetable intake were shown to be more common in less developed cities, while physical inactivity was seen to be more prevalent in highly-developed cities. Accordingly, metabolic risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol were seen to be more prevalent in more highly developed cities.

"These results show that improving urban planning and overall living conditions are critical to the curb the CVD in India," said Dr. Rajeev Gupta, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Jaipur, India. "But, this can not be the extent of government efforts which have to include improvements in basic amenities, healthcare facilities and, perhaps most importantly, education that will enable people to take responsibility for their own actions."

Indeed, the results of the IHW study showed that even among literate middle-class urban Indians there is a low awareness and control rates of these risk factors. Of the approximately one-third of study participants found to have hypertension, only about half (57 per cent) were aware of their high blood pressure, only 40 per cent were on treatment and only 25 per cent had adequate control. This is in contrast to more than 75 per cent awareness in most high and middle-income countries, where more than 50 per cent of people with high blood pressure are controlled.

The study took place over a five-year period (2006-2010) and involved 6,000 men and women from 11 cities across various regions of India was conducted under the chairmanship of Professors Prakash Deedwania (University of California San Francisco, Fresno, USA) and Rajeev Gupta (Fortis Escorts Hospital, Jaipur, India).

Explore further: Exercise reduces risk of death from cardiovascular disease in people with high blood pressure

Related Stories

Exercise reduces risk of death from cardiovascular disease in people with high blood pressure

April 19, 2012
In the study, all-cause and CVD mortality risks were found to be significantly higher among study participants that didn't exercise compared with active participants at all blood pressure levels. Moreover, the excess mortality ...

Vitamin D deficiency strikes one-third of Australians

January 16, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Nearly one third of Australian adults are suffering vitamin D deficiency according to a study involving more than 11,000 adults from around the country.

Recommended for you

Americans misinformed about smoking

August 22, 2017
After voluminous research studies, numerous lawsuits and millions of deaths linked to cigarettes, it might seem likely that Americans now properly understand the risks of smoking.

Women who sexually abuse children are just as harmful to their victims as male abusers

August 21, 2017
"That she might seduce a helpless child into sexplay is unthinkable, and even if she did so, what harm can be done without a penis?"

To reduce postoperative pain, consider sleep—and caffeine

August 18, 2017
Sleep is essential for good mental and physical health, and chronic insufficient sleep increases the risk for several chronic health problems.

Despite benefits, half of parents against later school start times

August 18, 2017
Leading pediatrics and sleep associations agree: Teens shouldn't start school so early.

Doctors exploring how to prescribe income security

August 18, 2017
Physicians at St. Michael's Hospital are studying how full-time income support workers hired by health-care clinics can help vulnerable patients or those living in poverty improve their finances and their health.

Schoolchildren who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try tobacco

August 17, 2017
Vaping - or the use of e-cigarettes - is widely accepted as a safer option for people who are already smoking.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.