India Vice President M. Hamid Ansari Thursday asserted that recent studies have shown that heart diseases have emerged as the number one killer in both urban and rural areas of the country.
Addressing the 64th Annual Conference of Cardiological Society of India [CSI] & SAARC Cardiac Congress, Ansari said, "The diseases affect men and women alike. If all age groups are included, heart diseases account for about 19 percent of all deaths in the country."
He said that according to the consultancy firm Deloitte, cardiovascular diseases, which were once thought to be impacting the rich and affluent, now afflict the poor as well.
While changing lifestyles, unhealthy eating habits and declining physical activity are the key reasons for high incidence rates in the rich population, the issues of access and affordability account for higher mortality amongst the urban poor and rural population.
Ansari said that these diseases not only impact the physical well being of our people directly, but they can also hold back the economic growth of the country due to increased healthcare expenditure and diminished productivity.
According to the Deloitte study, India is projected to lose approximately USD 236 billion between 2005-2015 due to cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
The Vice President said that the lesson to be drawn from these alarming facts and figures is the prevention and cure of cardiovascular diseases is not just an important medical necessity but is also a social and economic imperative for sustainable growth and development of countries, especially the developing countries like India.