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Stroke caused 7 lakh deaths in India in 2019: Study

(This story originally appeared in on Jul 15, 2021)

The share of non-communicable and injury-related neurological disorders such as stroke, headache disorders, and epilepsy to the total disease burden has more than doubled —from 4% to 8.2% — in India between 1990 to 2019, whereas the contribution of communicable neurological disorders reduced during this period by threequarters, a new scientific paper published in the Lancet Global Health shows.

The paper highlighted aging as one of the main factors behind increasing burden of non-communicable neurological disorders. The paper is a collaborative effort between the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and a number of other organisations.

Stroke (37.9%), headache disorders (17.5%), and epilepsy (11.3%) are the leading contributors to neurological disorders burden in India, with stroke having caused 6,99,000 deaths in India in 2019, which was 7.4% of the total deaths in the country. Stroke also caused 68% of deaths due to neurological disorders, followed by Alzheimer’s and other dementias (12%), and encephalitis (5%).

The total burden of neurological disorders due to noncommunicable disorders is 82.8%; 11.2% is due to communicable and 6% is injury-related disorders, the paper says. The paper underlined high blood pressure, air pollution, dietary risks, high fasting plasma glucose, and high body-mass index as the leading contributors to neurological disorders.

“The rise of non-communicable disease related risk factors, as leading contributors to neurological disorders and resultant disability in India, is not a surprise. It reflects the demographics, socio-economic and nutrition transitions that have steered the shift in our epidemiological profile over the past 30 years,” PHFI president K Srinath Reddy said. While communicable diseases contributed to the majority of total neurological disorders burden in children below 5 years age, non-communicable neurological disorders were the highest contributor in all other age groups.

Communicable neurological disorders include encephalitis, meningitis, and tetanus, whereas injury-related neurological disorders include traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries.

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