Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is a major health concern for India and her people. India has experienced a steady rise in the burden of CVD, with a six- to eight-fold increase in the prevalence of CVD over the past four decades. Currently, CVD is the leading cause of death in India, with around 28% of deaths attributed to vascular disease. CVD affects both rural and urban populations alike. Among adults, the estimated prevalence of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), one subset of CVD, is 8-10 % in urban zones and 3-4 % in rural areas. While the current burden of the problem is great, with over 30 million people affected, it is only projected to get worse, with a total of around 64 million cases likely in 2015 and deaths due to CVD expected to double between 1990-2020. This will make India host to over 50% of heart disease cases in the world within the next 10 years.
Consequently, the country faces great losses both economically and in productivity. In terms of Disability-adjusted life years, 28.6 million DALYs were lost to CVD in India as early as 1990. Looking forward, India suffers the highest potential loss in productive years of life because of deaths of people 35-64 years old from CVD. While there was a loss of 9.2 million years in 2000, this loss is projected to increase to 17.9 million years in 2030, which is 940% greater than the parallel loss in the USA. This is a 95% increase in number of years of productive life lost to CVD in India compared to only 20% in the US. From a monetary standpoint, in 2005 alone, the WHO estimated that the loss of national income due to heart disease, stroke and diabetes (both risk factors for, and types of, CVD) was $9 billion for India. This is projected to increase to $54 billion in the year 2015, constituting a loss of 1.27% of the GDP. In totem, these losses in national income are expected to reach 237 billion USD over the next 8 years. This impact is not just experienced at the national level, but contributes to poverty in the household as well. For example, for household with a family member with CVD, health care costs may amount to 30% or more of annual household spending. Thus, CVD has a great crippling affect not just on the individuals that have it but also the country as a whole.
Among other citizens of the world, Indians are unique in that they develop CVD at a younger age. With respect to CHD in particular, the disease is manifest and average of 5-10 years earlier in India than the populations of all other non-South Asian countries. There is a higher prevalence, incidence, hospitalization, and mortality of CHD in Indians and other nations, with 50% of CHD-related deaths occurring in those under 70 years of age compared to the West with only 22% mortality. In comparison with countries such as the US, this may lead to considerable economic losses to both individuals and the nation as a whole. Additionally, there is a greater burden of cardiovascular risk...