Top Causes of Death and Disability in Punjab

By: Dr. Ravneet Kaur USA (DrPH, MBA)

Punjab, a heart of Sikh community, has a growing health crisis with an ever-increasing number of people suffering from health problems. The India State -Level Disease Burden Initiative issued a report on disease burden profile for Punjab (1996-2016) and showed cardiovascular diseases as a major contributor for death among 40 years and above.1


Figure 1: Percent Distribution of Top Causes of Death by Age Group (2016)

[Adapted from: Punjab: Disease Burden Profile, 1990 to 2016. Available at:]


  • In India, Punjab has a highest rate of DALYs (Disability Adjusted Life Years) for ischemic heart disease (5759 per 100,000 population) followed by Tamil Nadu (4788 per 100, 000) and Haryana (4244 per 100,000 population).1
  • In north India, Punjab recorded second position for road accidents. According to a report on Accidental Deaths and Suicide in India (2015), “Generally road accidents have caused more injuries than deaths, but in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh road accidents caused more deaths compared to persons injured. In Punjab, 6,702 road accidents caused 4,893 deaths and injuries to 4,414 persons”. Also, the growth in these accidents is significantly high i.e. 4.9%.2
  • Diabetes is a fourth leading cause of death and disability in Punjab. A study conducted in 15 states of India showed that overall prevalence for diabetes is 7.3% and for Punjab it is 10.0%. Chandigarh, the capital of the state, has the highest prevalence i.e. 13.6%.3
  • In Punjab, 58% of pregnant women and 43% of adolescents are anemic.4


Figure 2: Leading Causes of Death and Disability Combined (1990 to 2016)

[Adapted from: Punjab: Disease Burden Profile, 1990 to 2016. Available at:]

The major risk factors for these diseases are alarming. Different studies implementing STEPs survey found that 40% of the general adult population has hypertension,5 about 96% of the participants consumed less than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, 31% of the participants had low physical activity, and 28.6% of the participants were overweight.6 In addition to these life style diseases, respiratory and digestive infectious emerged as common communicable diseases generally acquired from contaminated air and water.


Figure 3: Major Risk Factors Driving Most Deaths and Disabilities (1990-2016)

[Adapted from: Punjab: Disease Burden Profile, 1990 to 2016. Available at:]

However, the health care system has crumbled badly. District hospitals and community health centers lack basic diagnostic services and medical equipment. Culturally sensitive community awareness programs and considerable strengthening of public health care system are required in the state to address these risk factors.


  1. India: Health of the Nation’s States — The India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative. New Delhi: ICMR, PHFI, and IHME; 2017. ISBN 978-0-9976462-1-4
  2. Accidental Deaths and Suicide in India. (2015). Traffic Accidents. Retrieved from:
  3. Anjana RM, Deepa M, Pradeepa R et al. (2017). Prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes in 15 states of India: results from the ICMR–INDIAB population-based cross-sectional study. Retrieved from:
  4. United States Agency International Development. (2017). Improving Anemia Management in Mansa District, Punjab, India. Retrieved from;
  5. Tripathy JP, Thankur JS, Jeet G, Chawla S, Jain S. (2017). Alarmingly high prevalence of hypertension and pre-hypertension in North India-results from a large cross-sectional STEPS survey. Retrieved from:
  6. Thakur JS, Jeet G, Pal A, Singh S et al. (2016). Profile of Risk Factors for Non-Communicable Diseases in Punjab, Northern India: Results of a State-Wide STEPS Survey. Retrieved from:

Leave a Reply