Cardiovascular diseases and chronic respiratory diseases, which are directly linked to air pollution, were the leading causes of death in the capital in 2016, the country’s first study on the burden of disease has revealed.
Released on Tuesday, the report — India: Health of the Nation’s States — reveals that in 2016, Delhi followed the national trend, where the leading individual cause of death was ischaemic heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).
In Delhi, non-communicable diseases comprised 61.2% of the total disease burden. The top causes were ischaemic heart disease (9.6%), iron deficiency anaemia (3.4%), COPD (3.4%) and diabetes (3.2%). In the 1990s, the top causes were lower respiratory infections (7.4%), diarrhoea diseases (6.9%) and preterm birth complications (5.7%). Ischaemic heart disease, in 1990, was at fifth position, with 5.3% of total disease burden, which indicates a shift in the pattern.
The report states that malnutrition — which causes neonatal disorders, nutritional deficiencies and lower respiratory infections — was the leading factor linked to the burden of disease, followed by air pollution. It also states that both combined “make substantial contribution to India’s burden of cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases and lower respiratory infections”.
The report reveals that in the age group of 40-69 years, which constituted 41.2% of total deaths in 2016, the top causes of death were cardiovascular disease (35.6%), COPD (19.8%) and cirrhosis (6.3%). In the most productive age group of 15-39 years, which constituted 14.8% of total deaths, the top causes were cardiovascular disease (14.9%), transport injuries (12.4%) and neurological disorders (11.6%).
In the 70-plus age group, which constituted 33.2% of total deaths, the top causes of death were cardiovascular disease (43.2%), diabetes (11.6%) and COPD (9.5%). The common factor behind most deaths and disability combined, in Delhi, were malnutrition (12.9%), high fasting plasma glucose (8.5%) and dietary risks (8.4%), high blood pressure (7.9%) and air pollution (7.0%).