Burden of neurological disorders have doubled in 30 years in India

Hyderabad: A double burden of neurological disorders has been noted in India between data in 1990 and those in 2019. Data also showed a major shift from infectious diseases to non-infectious ones.

The rise in the incidence of neurological disorders is attributed to increasing burdens of high blood pressure, high sugar, air pollution, obesity and dietary risks.

This is one of the major reasons for strokes, headaches and epilepsy, which are the leading disorders in the country. Stroke cases were 6,99,000 in 2019, which accounted for 7.4 per cent of deaths.

Non-infectious disorders like stroke, headaches, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, Alzheimer's disease, dementia, brain disorders, central nervous system cancers, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and other motor neuron disorders are also rising.

Analysis of data of 30 years shows that the overall burden of neurological disorders has increased from four per cent in 1990 to 8.2 per cent in 2019.

Prof. Gagandeep Singh, first author of the research paper published by India State-Level Disease Initiative in The Lancet Global Health, says, "There have been some interesting findings as prevalence of epilepsy has increased in the past three decades. There has been a reduction in treatment gaps as people are coming to hospitals. However, it must be scaled up in government schemes so that the benefits reach the people."

The research paper has been published in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research, department of health research of the ministry of health and family welfare, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Incidence of stroke is highest at 37.9 per cent and is the major case of death. Stroke related disabilities add to the socio-economic burden of the families who find it difficult to bear it.

Prof. K. Srinath Reddy, president of PHFI, "Neurological disorders and their disabilities are related to modifiable risk factors. We need to have guidelines for nutrition and achieve healthy ageing, which will help to reduce the burden of families and health systems."

The disease burden is spread out in all the states. While the ageing of the population is one of the factors for the increasing burden, infectious diseases like meningitis, tetanus and encephalitis are posing a challenge in some states.

The disease burden of communicable neurological disorders has decreased in the last thirty years from four per cent to one per cent.

  • Causes for neurological disorders have doubled from 4% in 1990 to 8.2% in 2019
  • Communicable neurological disorders decreased from 4%per cent to 1%
  • Neurological disorders due to communicable, non-communicable and injuries have registered a marginal rise from 8.3% to 9.9%
  • Stroke incidence is 37.9%
  • There is 17.9% incidence of headaches, migraine rate is 19% in males
  • Epilepsy disorders seen at 11.3%, 10.5% of them men; Cerebral palsy 5.7%, and 5.9% among women
  • Alzhemiers disease seen at 4.6%overall
  • Brain and cancer of central nervous system is 2.2% overall and 2.5% in women
  • Parkison's disease is 1.8%overall and 2% in women
  • Communicable disorders of encephalitis, meningitis, tetanus are 11.2%
  • 6% injuries noted overall, 7.4% in women.

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