NCDs the Leading cause of Death in India

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Aug 25, 2011

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Fat man eatingFact file:


  • India ranks second only to china when it comes to the number of diabetics.
  • The number of diabetics stands at an estimated 5.1 crores.
  • It is being touted that if proper measures to control this lifestyle disease are not undertaken then the number will sit at a staggering 8 crores by 2030.
  • Non-communicable diseases cost the Indian economy $9 billion in 2005.


Lifestyle related diseases are increasingly killing more Indians compared to any other disease. These diseases are primarily consisted of non-communicable diseases (NCD) such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, cancers and chronic respiratory diseases. NCDs are a cause of worry for the health ministry and its officials in India because not only does urban India but rural India too is in its grip. However, a glimmer of hope lies in the fact that control of diseases such as diabetes should receive a shot in the arm courtesy the next five year plan which is all set to be launched in 2012. The plan will expectedly cover 640 districts and will primarily focus on educating people regarding the risk factors for NCDs, their symptoms, and available treatment options and also on how to lead a healthy life in case someone has the disease.


Even the United Nations (UN) has recognised the threat that lifestyle related diseases such as diabetes poses, especially in developing economies such as India. In fact, the UN will launch its non-communicable disease summit in September which will be attended by our Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. The UN NCD summit will spread awareness about non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, stroke and cancer which account for 60 % of all deaths worldwide and will also garner support from member nations in order to curb their spread.


This is a necessary step especially for India because according data collected by WHO, out of 10 deaths caused in urban India 8 are due to NCDs. In rural India, NCDs are responsible for every 6 deaths out of 10. In fact, the rate at which NCDs kill people under the age of 70 in India stands at a whopping 48%. In high-income countries the rate is 26%. Moreover the prevalence of a killer NCD such as diabetes is approximately 62 per 1000 people in India and this figure is set to rise.
The spiralling effect of NCDs is most evident through the fact that apart from harming so many of the population, it also hurts the economy by increasing the amount of money that is now required for adequate healthcare facilities. This further hit the lower rungs of the society pushing them backward on the ladder of economic growth. This double whammy of NCDs cripples the nation and its people.


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