What are life style diseases? Why are they emerging as big threats? Ho...

  Aug 17, 2016

What are life style diseases? Why are they emerging as big threats? How does preventive health care help? State the steps government is taking in this regard.

In the modern scenario, non-communicable disease forms the bulk of what is ailing the population, mostly those residing in the cities. Increasingly sedentary lifestyles, growth in the aging population, surfeit of high calorie food, pollution, and addictions such as smoking and drinking has given rise to lifestyle diseases. This includes diabetes, chronic lung ailments, hypertension, cancer, and cardiac troubles. Many of these problems if left unmonitored for long can prove to be fatal. The premature mortality and morbidity during the most productive of life phase poses serious challenges to the Indian economy and hence the need for preventive healthcare measures than ever before.
Preventive health has become crucial as it allows people to know about their health issues in the initial days and helps keep track of the progress on a real time basis. It   includes identification and minimization of disease risk factors, existing disease course improvement, and early disease detection through screening. This has become crucial since it allows people to know about their health issues well within time. It involves
1. Adoption of medical devices: With technology at the core of healthcare development, preventive medical devices such as blood pressure monitor, blood glucose monitor, and body fat analyser are high in demand owing to rising incidences of cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory disorders, diabetes and obesity. Indians are becoming more conscious of their health risks and are proactively adopting preventive healthcare measures to avoid issues.
2. Online healthcare records:  Electronic Health Record (EHR) allows users to maintain their personal health records, past appointments, test results, prescriptions etc. and helps them keep a track of things. 
3. Increased government spending on primary care: The Union Budget 2016-17 was focused on the Healthcare sector and it received benefits like new health protection scheme for health cover up-to 1 lakh per family. Senior citizens will get additional healthcare cover of Rs 30,000 under the new scheme. PM Jan Aushadhi Yojana to be strengthened, 300 generic drug store to be opened. These facilities will help both the rural and urban India to improve its healthcare system.
4. Healthcare policies: Healthcare policies are a welcome necessary step and must expand to help in facilitating equitable health care to both rural and urban India. Health care covers not only medical care but also all aspects of preventive care as well. A versatile health insurance plan will help patients to get regular healthcare check-up, which is the vital part of preventive care.
5. Sanitation as a key tool: One of the key areas for preventive healthcare is cleanliness. Maintenance of the hygiene and cleanliness helps reduce the incidence of infections acquired in hospitals and health care centres. India lags behind in the field of sanitation and the unsanitary conditions need a great sanitary awakening. Govt. programs like Swachh Abhiyaan dedicated to providing recommendations for healthcare facilities to enable the hospital management to address various aspects of cleanliness and sanitation.
Achieving equity in access to health care across rural and urban India requires overcoming several factors that challenge equity in service delivery, and equity in health financing and financial risk protection.