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Chronic diseases on the rise in urban India: Report

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Practo, a leading healthcare platform, has recently released the second edition of its Annual Healthcare Map of India, which shows increase in patients visiting specialists due to growing concerns over chronic ailments like respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, spine, and gastric conditions.

The report is a comprehensive look at the disease and illness trends across India. Annually, Practo facilitates 45 million appointments on its platform. The report is based on those health care appointments that were booked across 35 cities with focus on top seven cities including Delhi & NCR, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad across 200 plus medical specialties.

Uniquely, the report is entirely based on actual patient actions (booking appointments) rather than surveys.

Our mission is to help people live healthier, longer lives and that begins with access to better data. This is the most comprehensive healthcare report for India. We release this annually to highlight the disease trends facing India. We hope these findings better equip our healthcare providers to understand disease patterns and address them effectively, said Shashank ND, Founder & CEO, Practo.

Practos Healthcare Map of India found that concerns over chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is the major reason for urban India to visit doctors; (book appointments).

Rapid urbanisation and a fast-paced socio-economic development is contributing to the rising incidence of cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma), diabetes, hypertension etc. Additionally, poor dietary habits, physical inactivity, smoking and stress are some of the major contributors to the development and progression of preventable chronic diseases.

The air quality in many cities is poor due to pollution. Many people have been seeking medical help for various related problems like breathing difficulties, chest pain etc. It is probably due to harmful toxins in the atmosphere resulting in acute respiratory infection (ARI), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and interstitial lung diseases (ILD), etc are emerging as major health problems,” said Dr Mahesh PA, Professor, Pulmonary Medicine, JSS University, Mysore.

“Respiratory diseases are no longer restricted to the elderly but are now being detected in younger age groups as well. It is advised for patients suffering from COPD to quit smoking, stay active, practice breathing exercises, eat nutritious food, and working with your doctor for pulmonary rehabilitation, along with taking regular guideline based medications, he added.

Unhealthy lifestyle is a major cause of diabetes; presently younger population have been coming to me. Screening in the pre-diabetic phase is the earliest way to diagnose this condition. Patients who are obese or have a family history of diabetes need to make sure that they go to their doctor for regular check-ups. The later you start intervention, the harder it is to prevent complications, according to Dr Vinod Mittal, Senior Consultant Diabetologist – Delhi Heart & Lung Institute & Director – Delhi Diabetes Care Centre.

“Diabetes in turn also puts patients at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). It is important for patients to avoid processed food containing excessive amount of sugar and salt, keep blood sugar levels in check, and exercise regularly, Dr Mittal added.

Young India is not young at heart, as cardiologist appointments booked by people in the age group of 25-35 years saw a 40% growth with hypertension as the most common symptom. The rise in appointments was seen in cities like Bangalore and Pune with a growth of 58% and 38% respectively as compared to 2015

“Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) top the list of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) which now account for 62% of deaths in India. In the last decade CVDs have grown at the rate of 16%. Unhealthy lifestyle with high stress levels complimented by poor diet and eating habits, sedentary lifestyle, lack of exposure to sun light have induced metabolic disorders. There are about 60 million diabetics in India and twice the number with hypertension,” said Dr Ramesh Sheshadri, Sr. Consultant Cardiac Surgeon, Narayana Hrudayala, Bangalore.

Another interesting insight that the Healthcare Map drew was on how people are preferring to book appointments with doctors practicing allopathy as well as alternative medicine. There was a growth of 62% in booked appointments with allopathic doctors and a 34% growth in appointments for alternative medicine doctors in the age bracket of 35 years and above.

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