For the first time in India’s history, non-communicable diseases and injuries are responsible for more deaths and disabilities than communicable diseases, maternal and child health issues and nutritional causes combined. Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) or chronic diseases cannot be spread by pathogens. The epidemiological burden of non-communicable diseases and the risk factors relating to it is increasing day by day, particularly with the low and middle income countries. Estimations indicate that by far the NCDs are the leading cause of death in the world, representing 63% of all annual deaths. NCDs kill more than 36 million people each year. Nearly 80% of all NCD deaths occur only in low- and middle-income countries. It is anticipated that nearly 388 million people die of chronic disease in the next ten years. Majority of these deaths will happen in the most productive age groups.

The five leading NCDs worldwide are cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes and mental health conditions (e.g. depression, Alzheimer’s/dementia and substance abuse disorders).

Non-communicable diseases and injuries are responsible for more deaths and disabilities than communicable diseases, maternal and child health issues and nutritional causes combined. The main reasons for the rise of incidence of and mortality from non-communicable diseases are unhealthy lifestyles and a lack of early and frequent screening for high risk diseases.

There has been a greater shift in the health problems in the country from communicable disease to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which include hypertension, mental illness, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer, etc.

The major types of NCDs are:
Diabetes: Diabetes is a chronic disease. 347 million people worldwide have diabetes. More than 80% of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. WHO projects that diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death in 2030. Healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.

Cardiovascular disease: Cardiovascular diseases are basically caused by disorders of the heart and blood vessels. Low- and middle-income countries are disproportionally affected: over 80% of Cardiovascular diseases deaths take place in low- and middle-income countries and occur almost equally in men and women. The number of people, who die from cardiovascular diseases, mainly from heart disease and stroke, will increase to reach 23.3 million by 2030. Cardiovascular diseases are projected to remain the single leading cause of death. The major risk factors of heart disease and stroke include physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol.

Hypertension: Hypertension is the major contributor to avoidable death and disease in India, with an increasing impact in the rural areas. Over 140 million people are suffering from high blood pressure and the number is expected to cross 214 million in 2030. Hypertension is the main risk factor for cardio-vascular diseases that had killed 2.7 million people in 2004 and can gradually result in the death of over 4 million people by 2030.

Prevention of NCDs becomes an important task, which demands for an integrated approach at the national level. Formulation of prevention strategies at the national level is possible only if we have a network which involves policy makers from all over India.

HMRI’s solution directly addresses the reasons: we educate about, screen for, manage and follow up with people who have hypertension, diabetes, asthma, defective vision and epilepsy.