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Live life healthy

Asha Ramachandran |

Sedentary lifestyles, irregular eating and sleeping habits can leave one prone to many diseases that, if left unchecked, can cause serious health problems. Regular health check-ups can help one be better prepared against diseases. But how many of us, who have no signs of any ailment, go in for such preventive health care? Excuses are many: No time, no need and revulsion towards “unnecessary medical probing” are some of them. 

Even a healthy person, recommend doctors, should go in for a medical check-up. While this must ideally start at a young age — school-going, some doctors advocate — it is essential after 30 years of age and compulsory after 50. “A bit of time and perhaps some expenditure is required but it may save much more time spent in hospitals and a lot more expenditure,” said a senior nursing superintendent in a government hospital. 

Often diseases strike silently. Early warning, possible by regular check-ups, can help deflect them or help one take preventive action. For instance, cardiac problems, including murmuring heart (perforation in the heart septum), if detected in school children, would prevent a child from indulging in activities that can aggravate one&’s condition or go in for an early treatment. 

Nowadays, several companies have made medical check-up for their employees compulsory not just a entrant stage but also at regular intervals. Schools too conduct medical camps for students, teachers, other employees and parents.

“We conduct health check-ups but we ourselves have no time to go through this programme,” admitted a doctor from a well-known hospital in the Capital, who chose to remain anonymous. “If hospitals, like several private companies, insist on preventive health check-ups, it would be really beneficial for us. This is all the more important as we deal with patients and come in contact with several diseases all the time.” In most high-risk departments, such as radiology, emergency and OPD, hospitals generally insist on regular medical check-ups for their staff.   

The missing gap 

Giving a historical background, Harish Pillai, COO of Indus Health Plus, a healthcare facilitator, said over 72 million people are suffering from cardiac diseases and 60 million are afflicted with diabetes, competing with China. Diabetes and cardiac disease, Pillai added, have a close correlation with cancer. “In terms of GDP, 25 per cent is being spent from one&’s pocket,” he said. “If detected earlier, not just lives can be saved but a lot of expenditure curbed.” 

With 40,000 hospitals for a population of over 1.2 billion, the demand-supply gap is huge. The unmet need is largely fulfilled by private hospitals, which take care of 85 per cent of healthcare needs. Metro cities still have options but the country&’s vast rural area is where basic healthcare has failed. Preventive checkups for these people is thus a far-cry.  

Initiatives for all 

Some government hospitals and all corporate hospitals have designed various programmes to provide customized solutions to prevent diseases and ensure wellness of senior citizens, working executives too busy to go in for a health check-up, and school students. 

For senior citizens, the right kind of care is important. Their special needs call for right treatments, procedures, OPD consultations and preventive health reviews.

At school, being healthy is essential for a healthy learning experience. Initiatives for school children include programmes on general health, mental health, nutrition guidance and preventive checkups. 

Corporate employees, who are too engrossed in their professional rat-race, often put their health on the backburner. Corporate healthcare programmes are thus designed with a 360 degree approach to improve the employees’ health and fitness, thereby improving their professional performance and personal lifestyle. 

Most corporate hospitals also reach out to society at large by organizing camps and offering various initiatives and incentives to undertake health check-ups. Several awareness programmes targeted at diseases such as breast cancer and diabetes are also directed at women in particular, where they are encouraged to undergo regular check-ups.