CHENNAI: Sourav Ganguly’s heart attack in January this year led to a conversation about the importance of preventive health check-ups. Cardiac surgeon Dr Devi Shetty, who was on the team of doctors treating Ganguly said that it was important for everyone to undergo a preventive checkup at regular intervals.
On World Health Day, doctors say that as non-communicable diseases (NCDs) increasingly occur in younger age groups, it is important for people to get health checkups regularly.
Dr Spoorthi Arun, Internal Medicine Physician, Promed Hospital says that identifying diseases early is extremely important. She says that we can decrease the disease burden in society by doing preventive health checkups.
“Lot of diseases, when caught early, can be treated very quickly and using minimally invasive methods. Non-communicable diseases like cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes are called silent killers for a reason. There are no symptoms in the initial stages. If you don’t go for regular health checkups, they largely remain undetected. We see cases of patients coming in 5-10 years after living with uncontrolled diabetes and it becomes complicated. Catching diseases before damage occur is the key,” says Dr Arun.
Doctors also say that mortality reduces when the diseases are caught early. Obesity and lifestyle-related problems are on a rise,say doctors.
“The diseases that we used to say in 50-60-year-olds are now seen in people as young as 25. This is because of lifestyle, long work hours, lack of exercise, improper diet and smoking, drinking. The most common problem noticed in younger patients is hypertension. We see many patients coming in with brain hemorrhage. This can be prevented by regular checkups. It’s important to identify the problems as young as possible,” said Dr Ashwin Karuppan, Senior Consultant- Internal Medicine, Gleneagles Global Health City
While Master Health checkups were recommended after the age of 45 earlier, now, it is recommended after 30-35 depending on your health, weight and family history.
“90% of the diseases are reversible if you catch them young. Most commonly observed problems under the age of 35 is diabetes, hypertension, infertility and cholesterol. All are reversible with proper guidance and lifestyle changes,” adds Dr Karuppan.
Dr Rajavel Kannaiyan, MD, Velan Specialty Hospitals says that cancer is also identified early due to these preventive health checkups. He says that several complications in covid in certain patients could have been prevented had their problems been identified earlier.
“We saw covid patients with undiagnosed diabetes and other problems. If it would have been identified earlier, it would have been easier for us to treat them and recovery would have been faster. If complications are identified earlier, treatment becomes easier. We find many patients with blood pressure and diabetes in incidental tests,” says Dr Rajavel.
Women should also get tested for cervical cancer (pap smear) and breast cancer (mammogram) regularly. Treatments for cancer get complicated if detected in stage 3 and 4, says Dr Arun.