Environmental exposure is a significant risk factor for the occurrence and progression of cardiovascular diseases in adults in India, says a study by the Indian Institute of technology (IIT) Mandi.
The researchers analysed data from over 60,000 people, aged 45 years and above, in both rural and urban India, and the findings suggested that older adults in India are prone to physiological risk followed by genetic, indoor environmental and behavioural risk factors, a statement said on Thursday.
"A majority of the population of India resides in rural areas and uses unclean fuel for cooking and other purposes, exposing them to harmful smoke emitted from burning them," said Ramna Thakur, Associate Professor, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Mandi.
Thakur, who conducted the study along with her team of scholars, said secondhand smoke exposure, commonly referred to as passive smoking, is believed to have similar cardiovascular effects and risks comparable to active smoking.
The study also identified behavioural risk factors such as physical inactivity leading to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). The research team utilised data from the Longitudinal Ageing Study in India (LASI), a nationally representative longitudinal survey.
Explaining the basis of the research, Thakur said there are several traditional risk factors for CVDs, including high systolic blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, obesity, unhealthy food, poor nutritional status, age, family history, physical inactivity, smoking, and alcohol consumption. Exposure to air pollutants is another significant risk factor, she added.