They may every day advise patients to walk and eat right to have a healthy heart, but it is the stressed medicos themselves who barely have the time to follow this crucial prescription. Not surprisingly, the Indian Medical Association’s (IMA) social security scheme has found that in the last couple of years, hypertension is among the prominent causes leading to a doctor’s death.
Ahead of World Heart Day (September 29), the fraternity has expressed concern over the increasing mortality rate among doctors in the age group 45-55 years. Dr Milind Naik, President of IMA (state) told Newsline that they have registered the deaths of at least 13-15 doctors every year and a majority of them are in the 50-55 age-group. Dr Maya Tulpule, President of IMA (Pune) too admits that according to the social security scheme, there are a minimum of five deaths registered every year in the city and a majority have had cardiac arrests.
The IMA has over 6,000 registered members at its 180 branches across the state. It had launched the social security scheme several years ago that covers not only the risk of uncalled-for deaths but also takes care of the mental or physical disabilities due to which the doctor cannot pursue his/her medical practice permanently. Naik said each member contributes a sum of Rs 100. In the event of a doctor’s death, a sum of Rs 3.5 to Rs 4 lakh is collected and given to the family members, he said.
Dr Jayant Navrange, incharge of the medico-legal cell of IMA, said the social security scheme was among the unique ones where a sizeable amount is collected and given to the family members of the doctor who dies. “In the last couple of years rise in mortality rate has been observed in the age group 45-55 years, which is of increasing concern,” he said.
Dr Manoj Durairaj, Director of Cardiac surgery at Ruby Hall Clinic, puts the blame on sedentary lifestyle for the increasing number of doctors who have hypertension and diabetes. “A day’s schedule may begin from a surgery planned at 7 am to examining patients at out-patient department and then the evening clinic hours,” Durairaj said. Tulpule said a major check-up and awareness camp will be organised for doctors after Diwali.
Walk to reduce heart diseases
The World Heart Federation has recommended a minimum 30 minutes of moderate exercise, which includes brisk walking at least five days a week. This way many premature deaths can be prevented, Prof K Srinath Reddy, President of WHF said. BY 2020, 2.6 million Indians are likely to succumb to coronary heart disease and around half of these are likely to strike young and middle-aged people. He said around one in three adults in the US and the UK are not aware of how much they walk each day compared to one in six people in India.