Skip to main content

We may have seen the worst of pandemic months, but we are facing a hard-to-ignore “tsunami” on the healthcare front in the form of a rising incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, cancer and asthma. Many, if not all, of them are closely linked to changing lifestyles. The months of the pandemic have only added to concerns about changing lifestyles and reduced hospital visits and time spent on routine health checkups. Highlighting some of these aspects, the Apollo Hospitals Group has just released what it has called the “Nation Health Report 2022”. Apollo Hospitals Founder and Chairman, Dr. Prathap C Reddy, along with his daughter and Co-CEO, Sangita Reddy, shared details of these on the eve of World Health Day and described NCDs as a tsunami. Both were also joined by members of their management team during the virtual press meeting held on Wednesday April 6 in the late afternoon.

The report highlights the prevalence and distribution of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) across the country. The sample size for the study ranges from 20,000 to 380,000 depending on the analysis and comes from different cohorts. The study period was mostly in 2021 with some in 2020. Responding to a question from Financial Express Online about the impact of pandemic months on the incidence and trends of NCDs, Dr Prathap Reddy said that “comorbidities have increased mortality.” He further, in a note shared by Apollo Hospitals, said, “Over the past year, the country has gradually built a bulwark against COVID with a robust vaccination program that has resulted in a steady decline in the number of COVID cases. . As we emerge from the shadow of COVID, it is imperative to bring attention back to the NCD pandemic, a priority that has faced disruption impacting the diagnosis and treatment of millions of patients. This is the only way to succeed in the face of the multiple challenges we face today with the pandemic, a polluted planet and an increasing incidence of diseases which form the theme of World Health Day 2022 – Our Planet, Our Health .

He also states that “For a developing country like India, non-communicable diseases are a critical issue that needs to be addressed. In India, NCDs kill 6 million people every year, about 23% of whom are between the ages of 30 and 70. An analysis of data from 3.8 Lakh COVID Scanner responses shows how critical it is to tackle the NCD challenge using all the tools at our disposal. The data indicate a national prevalence of diabetes mellitus of about 7%, over 8% for hypertension, and about 2% for COPD and asthma. Given 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 meet the challenge of NCDs by promoting healthy lifestyles, early diagnosis and treatment.

The report also highlights the potential of AI and data analytics in risk prediction and early identification and management of NCDs.

Key findings from the 2022 Health of the Nation report on diabetes mellitus show an increased prevalence in the south and east of the country with an average national prevalence of 6.96%. Urban areas showed higher prevalence at 7.01% compared to rural areas with 6.70%. The study also showed obesity in women over 35 leading to poor diabetes control and an increased risk of heart disease and other complications. The 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% with higher incidence in northern and eastern India. The data also indicated that adult men between the ages of 36 and 50 were 36% more likely to develop hypertension than adult women in the same age group. Urban areas at 8.6 percent showed higher incidence compared to rural areas at 7.58 percent.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma showed similar incidence to global figures at 2%. Here, women aged 36 to 50 showed a 1.3 times higher risk of developing COPD compared to men.

Dr Sangita Reddy says: “Our annual Nation Health Study bringing together a large amount of real-world data on disease prevalence, incidence and risk has led to insights that will help us allocate the resources of optimally and to develop the right strategy. to combat the NCD pandemic.

Impact in the business sector

The study also looked at data on approximately thirty-five thousand corporate employees, where the average prevalence of at least 1 NCD among employees is approximately 56%. NCD risk factors related to high cholesterol are prevalent in 48% of employees and obesity in 18% of employees. There is variability across industries, indicating that more sedentary corporate environments should consider ways to help their employees proactively reduce these risks.

Sangita Reddy also adds: “NCDs are fueled by many factors including urban lifestyles with stress and unhealthy diets and an aging population. The results of the study, derived from 35,000 health checks carried out at companies in 2021, also showed a high prevalence of NCDs among company employees. This information will help us use technology to gain the upper hand and ensure a healthy workforce. »