Cardiovascular Health Across Different Age Groups

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) has emerged as a global health challenge, with far-reaching consequences for individuals and nations alike

In India, this silent epidemic has reached alarming numbers, becoming the leading cause of death in the country, and presenting a stark contrast to trends observed in Europe and other Western nations. Research reveals, CVD not only affects the Indian population at a much earlier age but does so nearly a decade earlier than its European counterparts.

Startling statistics paint a dire picture of this health crisis. It is estimated that a staggering 52 per cent of Indians below the age of 70 succumb to CVDs, a rate more than double the 23 per cent seen in Western countries among individuals of the same age group. The implications of this profound disparity are far-reaching and demand our immediate attention.

The World Health Organization's (WHO) global status report on non-communicable diseases has highlighted the gravity of the situation, reporting a staggering 17.3 million cardiovascular-related deaths in 2008. Among these, 7.3 million were attributed to myocardial infarction, and 6.2 million to stroke. What is even more concerning is the uneven burden of CVDs in low-income countries like India, where the prevalence far exceeds that of middle- and high-income nations. While the precise reasons for this discrepancy remain a subject of ongoing research, it is believed to stem from a complex interplay of biological, social, and environmental factors unique to India.

In light of the overwhelming proportion of fatalities caused by CVDs in India, it is abundantly clear that this health crisis looms as a significant socio-economic challenge. The burden it places on healthcare systems and caregivers is unprecedented, requiring immediate and effective measures to address the root causes and mitigate the devastating impact on our society. 

With each passing year, the situation appears to be worsening. The death rate from CVD in India is projected to rise from 282 deaths per 100,000 in 2020 to 314 deaths per 100,000 by 2030. Also, hypertension prevalence is expected to rise from 24 per cent in 2020 to 28 per cent by 2030. Diabetes prevalence is also set to increase from 7.2 per cent in 2020 to 9.4 per cent by 2030.

Cardiovascular Health Across Age Groups

Cardiovascular health affects different age groups in India. In younger adults, that is age 20 to 40 years, we are already witnessing a concerning prevalence of hypertension at 14 per cent and diabetes at 3.2 per cent. Moreover, the age-standardized death rate from coronary heart disease (CHD) stands at 2.2 deaths per 100,000 population, and for stroke, it is 1.4 deaths per 100,000 population.

It is particularly alarming that 70 per cent of heart attack deaths last year occurred in the 30 to 60 age group. This age group exhibits a 25 per cent prevalence of hypertension and a 6.8 per cent prevalence of diabetes. The age-standardized death rate from CHD is a shocking 12.2 deaths per 100,000 population, and for stroke, it is 7.4 deaths per 100,000 population.

Furthermore, in the 60 to 70 years age bracket, the prevalence of hypertension skyrockets to 33 per cent, and diabetes stands at 10.4 per cent. The age-standardized death rate from CHD reaches 32.4 deaths per 100,000 population, and for stroke, it jumps to 20.7 deaths per 100,000 population.

The situation worsens for those aged 70 and above, with a hypertension prevalence of 40 per cent and diabetes at 14.1 per cent. The age-standardized death rate from CHD soars to a staggering 72.6 deaths per 100,000 population, and for stroke, it hits 46.1 deaths per 100,000 population.

Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) in Newborns

The birth prevalence of CHD is a significant concern. It affects 8-12 per 1,000 live births. This translates to approximately 200,000 children born with CHD in India every year, with about one-fifth requiring immediate intervention. Hence, we cannot overlook CHDin newborns which demand urgent action. We must act now to improve diagnosis, lifestyle changes and treatment, across all age groups. In addition to conventional medical interventions and preventive measures, people need to integrate yoga into their daily routines as it can considerably contribute to better cardiovascular health.

How Yoga Can Help

Yoga, with its deep-rooted origins in India, offers a holistic approach to well-being, including heart health. According to Clinical Research in Cardiology, yoga and meditation can help lower blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, stress, and smoking, which are all factors that can cause heart problems. The Harvard Health Blog adds that yoga can be as good as walking for your heart health, improving your blood flow, lowering your blood pressure, and making you more fit. Furthermore, Heart Matters and the Journal of the American Heart Association emphasize that meditation can protect your heart by making you more relaxed, lowering your blood pressure, and reducing inflammation in your body.

To Conclude

With the above alarming statistics on CVD, individuals and healthcare professionals need to take instant and effective measures to address this crisis. By understanding how CVDs affect different age groups and incorporating practices like yoga into our lives, we can work towards a healthier future for all. It is time to prioritize our cardiovascular health and act decisively to mitigate the growing threat of cardiovascular diseases in India.

About the Author -

Dr. Indranil Basu Ray is an internationally acclaimed cardiologist and a trailblazer in the realm of yoga for heart health.


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