Sedentary lifestyles and fast-paced lives have resulted in an alarming increase in non-communicable diseases (NCDs). India is even seeing an alarming rise in NCDs in the rural areas now. An important component of these NCDs is cardiovascular diseases. In accordance with the World Health Organization, India accounts for one-fifth of these deaths worldwide, especially in the younger population. The results of the Global Burden of Disease study state an age-standardized CVD death rate of 272 per 100000 population in India which is much higher than that of the global average of 235. CVDs strike Indians a decade earlier than the western population. For us Indians, particular causes of concern in CVD are early age of onset, rapid progression and high mortality rate. Indians are known to have the highest coronary artery disease (CAD) rates, and the conventional risk factors fail to explain this increased risk hospital-based CV morbidity and mortality data may not be representative of the overall CV disease burden.
The conventional risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus dyslipidaemia, smoking, obesity are believed to be associated with increased prevalence of CAD in Indians. In the INTERHEART study, nine common risk factors (which also included physical inactivity, low fruits, vegetable intake, and psychosocial stress) explained more than 90% of acute myocardial infarctions (AMIs) in South Asians. However, all these risk factors cannot still fully explain the increased prevalence or the younger age of onset of CAD in Indians. The overall burden of the conventional risk factors is in a rapid increase phase in the Indian population.