It’s not often one gets to view the health report card of a whole country. However, that’s exactly what has been created by the publishing of several studies in The Lancet that detail the most common diseases Indians have been afflicted by in the recent past (between 1990 and 2016). Let’s take a closer look at what’s been ailing India.
1. Cancer Offers A Surprise
This might seem hard to fathom but the study focused on the prevalence of cancer has revealed that after adjusting for age, the incidence of most types of cancer (except breast and cervical cancer) has remained static in the given time frame. This is in contrast to most of India’s counterparts such as Brazil, Russia and China where the number of cancer cases has increased substantially.
It must be noted that these findings are obtained after adjusting for age and in reality the incidence of cancer has gone up in India as well. Taking into account the fact that people are living comparatively longer lives, the incidence rate remains static. Sadly, the mortality rate for cancer remains high due to the lack of infrastructure and lack of access to medical help in large parts of the country. Stomach cancer was found to be the most common cause of cancer while liver cancer was the highest rising form.
2. Pollution Is Hurting Our Lungs
Establishing a definite link between air pollution and rising cases of chronic respiratory diseases, the concerned study highlighted the increased number of respiratory diseases in northern states as compared to states with cleaner air. Overall, just above half the reported cases of respiratory diseases were attributed to pollution while tobacco use was responsible for just over 25 per cent.
3. Diabetes And Heart Diseases Are On The Rise
With an increase observed in every state and the national average increase at just over 50 per cent, heart diseases were noted to be on a very worrying upward trend. The biggest jump was noticed in the less-developed states which suggests at a serious lack of medical infrastructure. More than half of the total cardiovascular disease deaths in India in 2016 were people younger than 70 years of age, an extremely worrying statistic. Diabetes poses a concern of a similar magnitude, recording the highest increase in health loss among all non-communicable diseases.
The findings of all these studies point to the severe need for better medical infrastructure, ease of access to medical facilities and much more awareness about serious health issues, especially in lesser developed areas of the country.