Are non-communicable diseases increasing in India?

Are non-communicable diseases increasing in India?

Context : 

  • According to the most recent official predictions for diabetes and other non-communicable diseases, 31 million additional Indians will develop diabetes in the next four years (2019–2021), and approximately 40% of the population will have abdominal obesity.
  • Stress, a lack of physical activity, and an excessive intake of junk food are all contributing factors to the expanding NCD epidemic in Indians.
  • Numerous initiatives have been put in place to improve the health infrastructure, promote early detection, and offer suitable and timely healthcare facilities for treatment.

Findings of the study :

  • India has 101 million people with diabetes and 136 million people with prediabetes.
  • 315 million people in India have high blood pressure.
  • 254 million people in India have generalized obesity.
  • 351 million people in India have abdominal obesity.
  • 213 million people in India have hypercholesterolemia.
  • 185 million people in India have high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

Points to Ponder:

  • High prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes: According to the report, there are 101 million cases of diabetes and 136 million cases of prediabetes in India. These figures suggest that the prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes is higher than previously thought. The increased prevalence of diabetes in India is a growing concern, and this research emphasises the urgent need for efficient prevention and management techniques.
  • Increased prevalence of metabolic NCDs: According to the study, diabetes and other metabolic NCDs like hypertension, obesity, and dyslipidemia are significantly more prevalent in India than previously thought. This raises the possibility of a serious public health issue and highlights the requirement for all-encompassing actions to address these diseases on a national scale.
  • Disparities between urban and rural areas: At present, prediabetes was the only metabolic NCD for which urban regions had greater prevalence than rural ones. If not controlled, the report foresees a future explosion of diabetes in rural India. This conclusion emphasises the value of specialised interventions and the establishment of healthcare infrastructure in rural regions to prevent an increase in diabetes cases.
  • Varieties between states and regions: The study showed variances in the prevalence of metabolic NCDs among India’s various states and regions. Goa, Puducherry, and Kerala were among the states with higher prevalence rates of certain diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and dyslipidemia. The adoption of specialised policies and actions to meet the unique demands of each region can be guided by an understanding of these variances.
  • Implications for national policies and interventions: The study’s findings have significant ramifications for national policies and initiatives in India as a whole. The urgency of state-specific policies and treatments is emphasised to combat the growing epidemic of metabolic NCDs. For these disorders to be effectively managed, the healthcare system must put a strong emphasis on early diagnosis, prevention, and referral to the proper healthcare facilities.
  • The dual problem of malnutrition and obesity: Malnutrition and obesity are two problems that India must simultaneously address, according to experts. Despite the abundance of food, metabolic NCDs are becoming more prevalent due to variables such as fast food intake, sedentary lifestyles, lack of sleep, inactivity, and stress. It is critical to address these variables through wellness-focused activities, such as promoting a nutritious diet and regular exercise.
  • Initiatives from the government: The Indian Health Ministry has highlighted diabetes, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and cancer as the top four NCDs to be concerned about. Programmes have been put in place to improve healthcare infrastructure, develop human resources, promote health, and increase public awareness of NCD prevention, early diagnosis, and appropriate healthcare referrals to combat these disorders.

Preventive Measures:

  • Healthy Diet:
      • Consume a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
      • Limit the intake of processed and sugary foods, salt, saturated and trans fats, and excessive alcohol.
  • Regular Physical Activity:
      • Engage in moderate-intensity aerobic exercises, such as brisk walking, swimming, or cycling, for at least 150 minutes per week.
      • Include strength training exercises to improve muscle strength and flexibility.
  • Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol:
      • Quit smoking and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
      • Limit alcohol consumption and follow recommended guidelines.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight:
      • Maintain a healthy body weight through a combination of healthy eating and regular physical activity.
      • Aim for a body mass index (BMI) within the normal range (18.5-24.9).
  • Manage Stress:
    • Practice stress management techniques like relaxation exercises, deep breathing, meditation, or engaging in hobbies.
    • Seek support from friends, family, or professionals if needed.