According to the Global Burden of Disease, nearly a quarter (24.8%) of all deaths in India are due to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). And the risk has been increasing gradually, especially in the younger population. Lately, it has also come to light that the high Waist Hip Ratio (WHR), BP and obesity has turned out to be the leading causes of the increasing rate of CVDs in women.
To bring to the fore the growing evidence of the link between obesity, hypertension and Waist Hip Ratio and CVDs in the Indian population and to educate them about its early detection by preventive screening, India Health Link (IHL) in collaboration with HEAL Foundation has conducted a study on Preventing Heart Diseases in Youth: Growing evidence of a link between Waist Hip Ratio (WHR), BP & BMI and CVDs.
In the study, 1599 respondents participated from residential societies (RWAs) and patients from hospitals. There were 1103 respondents from hospitals, and 496 from residential societies (RWAs). The study had 68% men and 38% women participants. The sample diagnostic test results of the participants were collected from IHL’s Digital Kiosk/Health ATMs. The test parameters included participants’ demographics, gender, age, BMI, BP and Waist Hip Ratio (WHR).
The study has brought out that almost half (48%) of the total population is either hypertensive or at risk, and 30% have a high Waist Hip Ratio (WHR), which shows early indication of the onset of CVDs in due course. However, while comparing men with women, more men (37%) are found to be at higher stress than women (23%). But amongst the hypertensive, 80% of women were obese or overweight compared to 67% of men. Furthermore, a striking 67% of those women had high WHR compared to just 28% of men with high WHR.
Throwing light on the relation between the rising high Waist Hip Ratio (WHR), obesity and hypertension and the incidence of CVDs, Dr H K Chopra, Sr. Consultant Cardiologist, Medanta Moolchand Heart Institute, New Delhi Chairman, CME, Moolchand Medicity, New Delhi, President, World Heart Academy, Former National President, CSI, IAE, said, “Metabolic syndromes like obesity and hypertension are significantly associated with the risk of the incidence of CVDs; however, recent studies have revealed that Waist Hip Ratio (WHR) is also a strong indicator of the early onset of CVDs.”
While presenting the study revelation on the growing evidence of a link between Waist Hip Ratio (WHR), BP & BMI and CVDs, Dr Satyender Goel, Founder & CEO, India Health Link (IHL) said, “The study has brought out that there is a strong correlation between the increasing Waist Hip Ratio, BMI and BP, and the rising incidence of CVDs in the younger population. But in the study, one striking finding revealed that 80% of hypertensive women are obese, and 67% of them have a high Waist Hip Ratio. And overall, women were found to be more at risk of undiagnosed cardiovascular problems than men.”
“As the respondents of the study were patients from hospitals and people from residential societies (RWAs), a similar high percent prevalence of hypertension and obesity was found between the patients in hospitals and residents in societies. So, what the study infers, is the need for behaviour change and inculcating the habit of regular preventive screening for women and men of all ages, irrespective of their professional status, to bring down the rate of the incidence of CVDs. A sedentary lifestyle has a big impact on the early development of cardiovascular diseases, which tend to go unnoticed until it becomes chronic. Thus, the study reveals that the high WHR with persistent hypertension and obesity are the leading causes of the rising incidence of CVDs and the cases of premature heart attacks in the younger Indian population,” added Dr Goel.
“Of late, the India Health Link Study brings out a strong correlation between the increasing Waist Hip Ratio, BMI and BP and the rising incidence of CVDs in the younger population, which majorly contributes to the incidence of CVDs. Indians are not used to prioritising their preventive care and go for initial screening; hence many such preventable diseases are not diagnosed early, resulting in an increasing disease burden. There is a lack of awareness about heart health and its link to other metabolic vitals in our society. We need to spread awareness about preventive screening and educate the masses about its importance. Lately, ATM size portable digital preventive health screening devices are available in India, which needs to be propagated across the country at different strata of society for preventive screening to mitigate the rising incidence of CVDs,” said Dr H K Chopra, Sr. Consultant Cardiologist, Medanta Moolchand Heart Institute, New Delhi Chairman, CME, Moolchand Medicity, New Delhi, President, World Heart Academy, Former National President, CSI, IAE.
Emphasizing the importance of preventive screening for heart health, Dr Sonia Rawat, Director, Department of Preventive Health & Wellness, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, said, “The high risk of CVDs among the young population due to the increasing Waist Hip Ratio, BMI and BP that the IHL study reveals, presents an alarming picture for the heart health of the youth. The leading reason behind the rising incidence of CVDs is the lack of knowledge about preventive care amongst the masses. Therefore, it is essential for everyone, especially women who are more at risk of undiagnosed cardiovascular problems, to adhere to regular preventive screening.”