India Intelligence Report

Heart Disease Biggest Killer in Rural India Too


Exploding popular myth that cardiovascular disease is strictly an urban rich phenomenon, a Government, Non Government Organization (NGO), University 3 year study said that 32% of deaths in rural India was due to heart disease. The Center for Chronic Disease Control, the CARE Foundation, Byrraju Foundation, George Institute for International Health, and University of Queensland in Australia participated in this study of 180,000 people in 45 villages of Andhra Pradesh (AP).

Contrary to popular notions of rural health, communicable diseases such as malaria, polio, and childhood infections were responsible for relatively fewer deaths than heart failure. They study categorically said, “cardiovascular diseases are responsible for an unexpectedly large population of all deaths.”

The study found the major reasons to be a combination of lifestyle issues such as smoking and wrong diet consisting of high salt, oil, sugar, and low fiber foods. Due to poor rural healthcare facilities, instances of heart failure and spread of disease went unnoticed. However, increased intervention, sampling, and NGO involvement is making these problems more apparent. The World Health Organization says that the number of heart disease incidents in India is 250 per 100,000 and this figure may be overly underestimated.


The study recommends an intervention program that will try preventing a second instance of heart failure, which would include recommending lifestyle changes. If successful, this program will be adopted all over the nation. It is also possible that the incidents of heart disease may vary with region and habits and this requires a more detailed study.