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Rising Incidence of Cardiovascular Ailments in India

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Rising Incidence of Cardiovascular Ailments in India

Anuj Gulati, MD & CEO, Religare Life Insurance

Having profound insights about the Insurance industry, Anuj has been with Religare for over a decade now, prior to which he held the role of Director – Service & Business Development at ICICI Lombard General Insurance.

India, universally regarded as the land that gave birth to many ‘centuries-old’ good health practices such as Yoga, Ayurveda, Homeopathy, and Siddha, is now unfortunately gaining infamy as a country with one of the highest incidence rates of lifestyle ailments such as Diabetes, Stroke, Thyroid, and most of all, Heart Attacks.

A research conducted by ‘The Lancet’ highlights that in the year 2015, heart related ailments were responsible for approximately 2.1 million deaths in India. Some of the leading causes of this trend in urban & emerging urban cities are lifestyle issues such as poor work life balance, stress, improper diet, and lack of regular exercise, while in semi-urban & rural areas, principal contributors were inadequate access to quality healthcare, lack of awareness towards curative treatments, and improper sanitation & hygiene.

Earlier, what used to be chiefly addressed as a ‘geriatric disease or ailment of the elderly’ is today increasingly prevalent among the younger population as well. In fact according to the ‘Indian Heart Association’, 50 percent of all heart attacks occur among Indian men who are less than 50 years of age, and 25 percent to those under the age of 40 years.
With the advancement of healthcare reach through technology, overall awareness around basic sanitation, cleanliness and organized living saw significant progress in battling communicable diseases, especially in the rural & tier-III markets, the burden of healthcare shifted towards non-communicable lifestyle ailments. Overall, this adversely impacts our economic growth, and the same is evident from the fact that between 2005 and 2015, India lost approximately $236 billion due to diabetes, cardiovascular and other heart related ailments.

Earlier, what used to be chiefly addressed as a 'geriatric disease or ailment of the elderly' is today increasingly prevalent among the younger population as well


Access to affordable, quality healthcare continues to pose a challenge. Of an estimated 2.5 million heart surgeries required, only small fraction, i.e. 90,000 are administered. However, a host of positive measures instituted by the Government, including healthcare programs, medical institute funding, investment in technology to offer high quality diagnostics & cardiac care, and Ayushmaan Bharat the world’s largest funded healthcare scheme are collectively going to have a considerably favourable impact on critical health indices.

Last but not least is the imperative need to drive awareness on the importance of Health Insurance. Today, some health insurance plans offer affordable lifestyle based plans that combine both curative & preventive care. Among some of the products already available in the market are our Heart specific plans ‘Care Heart’ ideal for individuals who’ve undergone a cardiac surgery or procedure and ‘Heart Mediclaim’ an affordable plan for healthy individuals who are looking to financially protect themselves from any future heart ailments.

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