It is estimated that around 80% of the Indian population has Vitamin D levels less than normal and many are not even aware about this fact. So, the large number of heart disease patients and lack of awareness about Vitamin D deficiency makes a ‘heart-wrenching’ mocktail for Indians.
Recently, two major studies have been published that convincingly demonstrated that low vitamin D levels are connected to cardiac death. One of the studies was conducted amongst male health care professionals in the USA. Those with vitamin D levels in the deficient range compared to those in the sufficient range had a two fold increase in risk of myocardial infarction.
A similar prospective study was conducted in Germany. In this study patients who were already cardiac patients and who were being admitted for cardiac catheterisation studies had their vitamin D levels measured and were then followed up for an average of 7.7 years. Again, those patients with vitamin D levels in the lowest quartile compared to those in the highest quartile had over a 200% increase in their risk of death.
About 25% of deaths in the age group of 25-69 years occur because of heart diseases according to a recent study by the Registrar General of India (RGI) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). If all age groups are included, heart diseases account for about 19% of all deaths. It is the leading cause of death among males as well as females and in all regions of India, the study found.