EXCLUSIVE: Has the life expectancy of Indians reduced? Experts REVEAL

Updated on Nov 09, 2021 10:44 PM IST  |  759.7K
   
Life expectancy of Indians
Has the life expectancy of Indians reduced? Experts REVEAL
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Sidharth Shukla at 40, Puneeth Rajkumar at 46, Cricketer Avi Barot at 29, Irrfan Khan at 53. And the list goes on. While these were all celebrities whose untimely demise made headlines, we all must have seen at least one young close one or a person whom we knew leaving the world all of a sudden. 

All these young deaths in recent years leave a very pertinent question. Why are many Indians dying young? And does this mean that the life expectancy of Indians has come down of late? 

Experts don’t think so. Dr. Radhika Banka, Consultant Pulmonologist at P.D. Hinduja Hospital & MRC, Mahim, Mumbai, tells you that India’s life expectancy was 54 years in 1980, and over 30 years currently has increased to 69. “So hence it was definitely on the rise. However, following COVID-19, there has been a worldwide prediction of a reduction in life expectancy, and the same applies to India,” Banka says.

life expectancy

While the life expectancy has certainly increased over the years, as Banka suggests, COVID-19 and the anticipation of future pandemics might hamper this rising graph.

“As I said, there has been a steady increase in life expectancy over the past three to four decades globally. However, any pandemic has shown a reduction in life expectancy, be it the Spanish flu in 1918, which showed a 7-12 year decrease in life expectancy in the USA, or the current COVID-19 pandemic, which has shown a decline in life expectancy by nearly two years in the USA population and various studies have shown a reduction in life expectancy in most countries. However, whether this will continue to fall in anticipation of more pandemics is not known yet, and would depend on many factors such as the severity of the pandemic, the population affected, access to healthcare, advancements, and innovations in medical technology,” explains Banka.

life expectancy 1

She adds that the young deaths can also be contributed to the surge in diabetes and obesity prevalence in India. “In India, the prevalence of overweight adults has increased from 9 percent in 1990 to 21 percent in 2016. For every 100 overweight adults in India, there were 38 adults with diabetes compared to the global average of 19 adults in 2016. With our growing sedentary and stressful lifestyle, increasing pollution, poor air quality, and increasing comorbidities, the younger population is at increased risk of strokes and heart attacks, which can probably explain the rise in sudden deaths,” opines Banka.

So, if you are wondering what these young deaths mean, Banka, says, it might be a wake-up call for all of us. “This might be a wake-up call for the younger population to adopt a healthier lifestyle, diet modification, regular exercise, and take to stress management activities,” says Banka.

life expectancy 2

Dr. Monica Goel, Consultant Physician at P.D. Hinduja Hospital & MRC, Mahim, Mumbai, agrees with Banks and says that young adults in our country are leading an unhealthy lifestyle in the form of increased stress, lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, increased or late working hours, eating junk food and exercising not in the optimal amount but doing vigorous exercise or weight training and taking too many food supplements. “These are the critical causes leading to lifestyle illnesses in a younger population and sometimes also causing increased mortality at a younger age group,” explains Goel.

It’s true that after the pandemic, people have become more aware. But also, at the time of the pandemic, people were indoors, and there was a complete lack of access to physical workouts, especially for people who were earlier going to the gym or doing other outdoor exercises. “It is essential to emphasise that exercise should be something which should be ingrained in the daily routine. You can have a mat and maybe some weights and do it at home. So that is what the pandemic taught us to be - more self-reliant, not just be dependent on gadgets and machines to be able to work out. Having said that, during the pandemic, there was an increased amount of stress. There was emotional and physical stress, which translated into decreased life expectancy,” opines Goel.

exercise is must

She adds that additionally, the COVID-19 virus in some people could have affected their lungs in a different way which could be detrimental to their long-term health, which translates into poor heart health. Also, certain features like myocarditis or ventricular remodelling could translate into long-term side effects on the heart.

If one has to increase their longevity, it is essential that they do physical exercises and thereby improve their cardiovascular health. “Our reliance on gadgets has made things difficult. We don't have that kind of infrastructure where people can cycle to work. If people can cycle or walk to work, it would significantly enhance their cardiovascular health. It would translate to longevity which would be something to go by,” explains Goel.

And a healthy lifestyle refraining from addictions, doing yoga, meditation has to go hand in hand with good dietary habits, eating balanced food, eating food free from pesticides which usually does not happen in an urban set-up. “And these are the perils that come with the urban lifestyle, but what we can do from our side is at least we don't add on in the form of smoking, alcohol intake, or tobacco chewing. Get proper sleep of 7 to 8 hours, keep the phones away, get off the television set at least an hour before sleeping, inculcate the habit of good and happy reading,” advises Goel.

man smoking

So, what are the reasons that affect life expectancy in a country, you ask? Banka has an answer. “Various factors affect life expectancy in a country. First, there could be conditions that immediately affect life expectancies, such as wars, famines, natural disasters and then there are factors such as improved hygiene and sanitation, increased healthcare awareness, new drugs, vaccinations, advanced medical technologies, or expansions in the availability of and access to medical care and effects of these factors on life expectancy are seen over a period of time,” she says.

And, if you are wondering whether these young deaths can be attributed to the humans living in oblivion, the answer is no. “I don’t think humankind can be blamed for all the young deaths in recent years - whilst a proportion of them can be attributed to unhealthy living, a proportion of sudden deaths in young adults is also due to undiagnosed genetic cardiac conditions called cardiomyopathies or irregular heart rhythms such as arrhythmias,” Banka concluded.

Also Read: EXCLUSIVE: Expert explains liposuction and busts common myths about the procedure

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Anonymous : Are these natural De**$#ths????#THINK -they r not
REPLY 0 2 weeks ago
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Anonymous : Are these natural deaths????!! #THINK
REPLY 0 2 weeks ago
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Anonymous : Late Malayattor Ramakrishnan, the famous Malayalam Novelist once said the after the age of 45 one should not do strenuous excercise.ost of these peole cited here must have exerted too much and that led to their untimely death.
REPLY 0 2 weeks ago
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Anonymous : It's mainly stress and the urge to be very succesful fast
REPLY 0 2 weeks ago
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Anonymous : 50% Of COVID Deaths Due To Financial Crisis U Got It Mr.Feku Ruling Ws The 1st Issue
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Anonymous : 2:2 billion. Is this the sample size for this article?
REPLY 0 2 weeks ago
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Anonymous : This was assessed 5 years before. Reason is unhealthy, unhygienic food habits, sedentary life style, eating too much eating carbohydrates, poor sanitation, contaminated drinking water, bad oral hygiene, total negligence to follow law, early marriage, not interested to visit doctor when sick, own tratment and no social security for own life and last always blame govt when problems comes.
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Anonymous : Heredity play a lot in this. I know several people ,who conform to the type of people you described, lived more than 85 years.
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Anonymous : Only b coz of this guys
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Anonymous : Halwa hai kya
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Anonymous : I don't understand?! They were fit. They used to workout every single day. This article would have made sense if they were obese or had a reaply bad lifestyle. But that's not the case with puneeth rajkumar or Siddharth shukla. Please start writing senseful article instead of this bs
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Anonymous : Relaxation is must
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Anonymous : Check chog
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Anonymous : In india strictly maintain a timetable. 10 am to 6 pm.any industry.after tht no phone calls followup calls
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Anonymous : Let it be a lesson to all employers in any industry..........do not give stress.work environment has to be stress free.......no politics anywhere...........all junior senior should be cooperative.maintain good relations...how much u can do .....do that much......not to strain
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Anonymous : they died because of vaccine
REPLY 4 2 weeks ago
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Anonymous : You will die because of stupidity. LOL!
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Anonymous : 100% vaccine is not the cause of any death...its a coincident they died of other reasons..please dont spread wrong rumours..
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