Thirty-eight percent of Indians who believe they are healthy to have been found suffering from diabetes, reveals the study. At the same time, another 28 percent of the healthy individual have been diagnosed with pre-diabetics based on their HbA1c levels. Hence, two-third are either having CVD risk or risk-prone.
Also, 50 percent of Indians are unaware that diabetes and Obesity are the most closely associated risk factors with heart diseases. A whopping 88% do not know that high cholesterol may lead to heart disease. Surprisingly, Mumbai, even a top metro city, ranks lowest (14%) in awareness of the association between diabetes and heart diseases. On the contrary, Hyderabad (45%) followed by Vijaywada (43%) appears to be most aware. The survey shows that only a small fraction of Indians (10%) knows that hardening of arteries fell under the umbrella of heart diseases.
“Prevalence of hardening of arteries is on the rise, particularly in the younger population due to the changes in their lifestyle and food habits. Research studies show that coronary stenosis, associated with the hardening of arteries, affects nearly 30% of the population. It is time we pay attention to our lifestyle to prevent our risk of developing such diseases,” said Dr. Charan Lanjewar. Dr. Lanjewar is Consultant Interventional Cardiologist & Associate Professor (Unit Head) at GS Medical College & KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai.
The findings are significant in that people with diabetes are known to have a two to four times increased risk of coronary arterial disease (CAD) risk. CAD has also been reported to occur two to three decades earlier in diabetic subjects than their non-diabetic counterparts.
“It is unfortunate that in a country where diabetes is on the verge of becoming an epidemic, people are still ignorant about the implications of diabetes. It is important to understand that diabetes has no cure. But it can be managed or kept in check with the right combination of healthy foods and regular physical activity. And, remember, it’s going to be a lifetime regimen. So, make it a habit and watch out for aggravating symptoms.” Said Dr. Tejas Shah, Diabetologist, IVA Speciality Clinic & Diabetes Center, Mumbai.
The’ Making India Heartstrong Study’ took responses from 600 people in 6 cities across four states (Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh) to evaluate the awareness levels amongst Indians around CVD risk assessment and the relationship between their work/lifestyle, habits. The study was conducted because of the growing numbers of heart and diabetes risk across India’s different age groups. It was imperative to analyze metro cities versus tier 1 or tier 2 city risk assessment of diabetes and heart diseases. 
38% of respondents are at increased risk of high BMI without knowing or realizing it.
88% of Indians did not know that high cholesterol may lead to heart disease.
59% of Indians prefer Google over a physician for making health-based decisions
About eight out 10 Indians are prone to Cardio-vascular disease risk due to low HDL
90% of Indians are not aware that hardening of arteries is one of the heart diseases
Indians are also ignorant of high blood pressure risks as 50 percent of respondents do not see high BP as the biggest risk factor for heart disease. Nashik shows the least concern with High BP as a CVD risk factor, whereas Vijayawada, another tier 2 city, indicates high concern (81%).
On the BMI base, only 26 percent are normal, 29 percent are overweight, and 19 percent are Obese. This is highly varied from the self-assessment of overweight (including Obese), which is mentioned just 10% percent. This indicates that nearly 38 percent of respondents are at high risk without knowing or realizing it. The city-wise analysis shows that only 4 percent of Mumbai respondents perceive them as obese, while the highest 55 percent of those in Chennai put them in the obese category.   
On the lifestyle front, there is an equal spread of all types from sedentary to physical work. Physical work type is prevailed more in tier 2 than tier 1 cities, with an average of 45 percent and 17 percent respectively. Nearly 40 percent of Indians do only mild exercises, something that explains the higher incidence of Obesity to the same extent.  It is also observed that nowadays, Tier 2 cities’ respondents lead a more sedentary lifestyle than tier-1 cities. 
Talking about the good thing, half of the respondents think that focusing on regular physical activity and a healthy diet can help prevent CVD disorders among young people. Madurai (55%) appears to be most aware, while Nashik (25%) has been reported least aware. Sadly, only 17 percent of Indians feel the need to make routine visits to your doctor. It is heartbreaking that 59 percent prefer Google for general health awareness or making health-based decisions such as visiting a doctor or going for health screening tests, followed by another one third preferring WhatsApp.
Besides survey participation, the respondents have partaken in blood glucose and Lipid profiling test, which reveals the survey findings in line with their diagnostic parameters. Apart from the HbA1c diagnostic parameter, elevated triglycerides and poor HDL are other important parameters that need to be taken into account while taking preventive and corrective measures.  
Elevated Triglycerides prevail due to having carbohydrate base staple food habits. Tier 1 is observed with better Triglycerides scores than tier 2 as the staple food habits are the most common in Tier 2 cities.
HDL prevalence is a major concern which is due to lack of physical work or sedentary lifestyle. 4 out of 10 are having low HDL, which indicates great concern.
Interestingly, tier 2 cities have more concerns due to low HDL than Tier 1 cities as against common belief. It is observed more sedentary lifestyle crippled among all upcoming Tier 2 cities while tier 1 can manage just due to better awareness. Hence, the study indicates that the Tier 2 cities, including Hyderabad, need more and better education and awareness creation.
Overall, the survey raises questions about Indians’ awareness and understanding of cardiovascular diseases and the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Because of the rising number of CVD risk & diabetic population in the country, individuals have a high chance of developing cardiovascular disorders. The study warrants the need for spreading awareness and press on the importance of making the desired lifestyle changes to lead a healthy living.

This content was originally published here.