Out of the total 14.11 lakh medically certified deaths in 2017 across the country, respiratory diseases caused nearly 1.29 lakh or 9.2 per cent of them, latest data on causes of death published by the Office of the Registrar General of India showed.
'Diseases of the Respiratory System' emerged as the third largest cause of death in the country preceded by 'Diseases of Circulatory System' (Heart diseases) and 'Infectious and parasitic Diseases' causing 34 per cent and 10.4 per cent of the deaths, respectively.
However, the total number of medically certified deaths (14,11,060) is just 22 per cent of the total registered deaths in the country (64,26,595) as per the data, and the figures may not accurately reflect the actual situation with regards to causes of death.
Interestingly though, at 22 per cent, this is the highest number of medically certified deaths as a share of total registered deaths ever.
After remaining more of less consistent during the previous decade, the share of certified deaths due to respiratory diseases has steadily gone up over the last few years from 8.4 per cent in 2012 to the latest 9.2 per cent in 2017.
In the national capital Delhi, which is among the most polluted cities in the world, deaths due to respiratory diseases have seen a significant surge from 6.7 per cent certified deaths in 2012 to 9.1 per cent in 2017.
Overall, the highest share of medically certified deaths due to respiratory diseases were reported in Jharkhand at 20.2 per cent, followed by Uttar Pradesh at 17.4 per cent, West Bengal at 15.4 per cent, Himachal Pradesh at 15.1 per cent and Nagaland at 13.8 per cent. In contrast, Arunachal Pradesh at one per cent accounted for the least number of certified deaths due to respiratory diseases.
Moreover, nearly three-fourths or 74.3 per cent of those who died because of diseases of the respiratory system were aged 45 or above, according to the data. Among these, almost half aged 70 or above.