Global Burden of Cardiovascular Disease in India: Current Epidemiology and Future Directions

Authors: Dorairaj Prabhakaran, Panniyammakal Jeemon, Ambuj Roy


Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) have now become the leading cause of mortality in India. A quarter of all mortality is attributable to CVD. Ischemic heart disease and stroke are the predominant causes and are responsible for >80% of CVD deaths. The Global Burden of Disease study estimate of age-standardized CVD death rate of 272 per 100 000 population in India is higher than the global average of 235 per 100 000 population. Some aspects of the CVD epidemic in India are particular causes of concern, including its accelerated buildup, the early age of disease onset in the population, and the high case fatality rate. In India, the epidemiological transition from predominantly infectious disease conditions to noncommunicable diseases has occurred over a rather brief period of time. Premature mortality in terms of years of life lost because of CVD in India increased by 59%, from 23.2 million (1990) to 37 million (2010).

Despite wide heterogeneity in the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors across different regions, CVD has emerged as the leading cause of death in all parts of India, including poorer states and rural areas. The progression of the epidemic is characterized by the reversal of socioeconomic gradients; tobacco use and low fruit and vegetable intake have become more prevalent among those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. In addition, individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds frequently do not receive optimal therapy, leading to poorer outcomes. Countering the epidemic requires the development of strategies such as the formulation and effective implementation of evidencebased policy, reinforcement of health systems, and emphasis on prevention, early detection, and treatment with the use of both conventional and innovative techniques. Several ongoing community-based studies are testing these strategies.  Read more



Prabhakaran, D., P. Jeemon, A. Roy. "Cardiovascular Disease in India: Current Epidemiology and Future Directions." Circulation. 133(16): 1605-20.