45% people between 20-45 years seek expert help to ward off lifestyle diseases

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In a welcoming sign that can have a far-reaching impact on the Indian healthcare system, a recent report states about 45 per cent of people in the age group 20-45 years actively consult doctors for prevention of lifestyle diseases. However, the majority reach out to experts for either sexual or mental health problems.

Lybrate, an online doctor consultation platform, released the report on Saturday post analysis of around 70 million interactions, including booking of lab tests, that happened on the platform over a period of 12 months, starting January 1, 2016.

The top seven lifestyle issues, the report points out, that hovered greatly on the minds of young Indians which they want to stay away from include diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and hypertension.

Majority of the interactions happened around prevention, but there has also been a remarkable rise in interactions on treatment of these diseases from those who are already suffering from them.

Diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, hypertension and COPD are non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that put extreme burden on Indian households and healthcare delivery systems. NCDs lead to about 40 per cent of all hospital stays and roughly 35 per cent of all recorded outpatient visits in India, the report states.

“The inclination of young people towards preventive health assumes greater significance given the pressure it builds on the country’s healthcare infrastructure. The awareness will bring about a huge change in the behavior towards health and greatly reduce the cost burden on households and healthcare delivery in the country,” Saurabh Arora, Founder and CEO, Lybrates said.

While preventive health has gained prominence among people in tier-1 cities, people from tier-2 and 3 cities too have become conscious about it.

However, in tier-2 and 3 cities, the data show, people are more inclined to discuss issues related to their sexual or mental health.

The interactions over stress and depression have remarkably increased from these cities in the last one year, showing the stigma attached to these subjects is fading even in small towns and cities.

With rise in pollution levels in Delhi and Bangalore in the month of November, interactions around respiratory issues saw a significant rise, while during Dengue and Chikungunya outbreak between July and September, Delhi witnessed maximum number of interactions taking place with doctors.

In Chennai and Kolkata, women have been more proactive about their health issues compared to any other metropolitan city. Prevention of lifestyle diseases is what made most of the people from Mumbai and Hyderabad reach out to doctors.