The report underlined the current trends of NCDs such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, COPD, asthma and obesity in different regions of the country. The report also underscored the potential of AI and data analytics in prediction of risk and early identification as well as management of NCDs.
Key findings of the report showcased that diabetes was on the increase in the southern and eastern parts of the country with an average national prevalence of 6.96 per cent. Urban areas showed a higher prevalence at 7.01 per cent as compared to rural areas with 6.70 per cent. The study also showed obesity in women over 35 years of age leading to poor diabetes control and increasing risk of heart disease and other complications. Data also indicated poor diabetes control in women with high cholesterol with a 0.5 increase in HbA1c diabetes marker levels.
In hypertension, the study showed a national prevalence of high blood pressure at over 8.18 per cent with a higher incidence in north and east India. Data indicated that adult males between the ages of 36 to 50 years have a 36 per cent higher chance of developing hypertension than adult females in the same age range. Urban areas at 8.6 per cent showed a higher incidence as compared to rural areas with 7.58 per cent.
As for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD) and asthma showed an incidence similar to global numbers at two per cent. Here, females between 36 to 50 years of age showed a 1.3 times higher chance of developing COPD as compared to males.
Commenting on the report, Dr Prathap C Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group said, “The last year saw the country steadily building a bulwark against COVID with a robust vaccination program that led to a steady fall in the number of COVID cases. As we emerge from the shadow of COVID, it is imperative to bring the focus back on the pandemic of NCDs, a focus that faced a disruption impacting diagnosis and treatment for millions of patients. Approach health as an investment and not as an expenditure. It is the only way we will succeed against the multiple challenges we face today with the pandemic, a polluted planet, and an increasing incidence of diseases that form the theme for World Health Day 2022 – Our Planet, Our Health.
“For a developing country like India, NCDs are a critical matter that need to be addressed. In India, NCDs kill six million people every year of which around 23 per cent are between 30-70 years of age. An analysis of the data from 3.8 lakh responses to the COVID Scanner shows the criticality of addressing the NCD challenge using all the tools at our disposal. The data indicates a national prevalence for diabetes mellitus of around seven per cent, over eight per cent for hypertension, and around two per cent for COPD and asthma. Considering our population of 1.2 billion, these are huge numbers that will increase the burden of disease and impact productivity and economic growth. We must address the NCD challenge through promotion of healthy lifestyles, early diagnosis and management,” Dr Reddy added.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Group said, “The theme of World Health Day this year is ‘Our Planet, Our Health’, which is a powerful reminder to put the health of individual and the planet at the center of our actions to create societies focused on well-being. Our annual Health of the Nation study collating a vast amount of real-world data on the prevalence, incidence and risks of disease has led to insights that will help us allocate resources in an optimal manner and develop the right strategy to tackle the NCD pandemic.”
The study also looked at corporate employee data of about thirty-five thousand, where the average prevalence of at least one NCD in employees is about 56 per cent. The NCD risk factors of high cholesterol is prevalent in 48 per cent of employees and obesity in 18 percent of employees. There is variability across sectors, indicating that more sedentary corporate settings should consider ways to help their employees proactively reduce these risks.
Highlighting about the corporate employee data finding of the report Dr Sangita Reddy said, “NCDs are fuelled by many factors that include urban lifestyles with stress and unhealthy diets and an aging population. Study results, derived from 35,000 health checks done with corporates in 2021, have also shown a high prevalence of NCDs among corporate employees. These insights will help us use technology to gain an upper hand in ensuring a healthy workforce. Combined with our pioneering experience of 38 years, we have at our disposal new technologies based on AI and ML for predicting risk scores and developing structured lifestyle programs with new models of care that lead to improved clinical outcomes.”