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Indians suffer heart attacks 10 years earlier than Westerners, according to Indian physician body. Why is that?


India Faces Early CVD Crisis: CAD Deaths Double in 30 Years, Warns API

India has a ticking time bomb on its hands – a cardiovascular disease (CVD) epidemic that struck its citizens “a decade earlier” compared to Western countries. This alarming trend, highlighted by the Association of Physicians of India (API), raises serious concerns about the nation’s health landscape.

CVDs, encompassing heart disease and stroke, are the leading cause of death globally, and India stands second in this tragic statistic. Worryingly, CVDs claim the lives of over 20% of men and nearly 17% of women in India annually. Dr Milind Y Nadkar, president of the API, emphasises the severity of the situation: Indians face a 20-50% higher mortality rate from coronary artery disease (CAD) compared to other populations. Moreover, CAD-related deaths and disabilities have doubled in India over the past 30 years.

“Indians experience CVDs a decade earlier than those in Western countries, which makes it vital to address the early age of onset and rapid disease progression in a timely manner. With India also recording the highest rate of coronary artery disease worldwide, it is essential to bring more awareness about symptoms like angina,” he also stated, according to PTI.

Early onset, underdiagnosed risk

One crucial factor driving this epidemic is the earlier onset of CVDs in Indians. While Westerners might experience these issues later in life, Indians face them a decade sooner, Dr Nadkar said in the press conference, PTI reported.

This early vulnerability emphasises the need for timely intervention and awareness about early symptoms like angina, a chest pain associated with heart problems.


Women at a disadvantage

Women in India face an additional challenge – underdiagnosis of CVDs. Unlike men, women may experience atypical symptoms, making it difficult to detect angina and leading to delayed diagnosis and treatment.

Dr Ashwini Pawar, Medical Director at Abbott India, was quoted by PTI as saying that the burden of undiagnosed angina, leading to suboptimal treatment and contributing to the staggering cost of CVDs in India, estimated at USD 2.17 trillion between 2012 and 2030.


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