There is a need for better awareness about both the non-communicable diseases if people are to be influenced to change their lifestyle, healthcare experts said.
“The biggest contributor to the diseases is lack of exercise,” head of the urology department at GMC Dr Madhumohan Prabhudessai said.
adding that when it comes to eating habits, there is hardly any difference between rural and urban Goa. “People living in villages also eat packaged and unhealthy foods,” he said.
Stating that providing medical facilities for the treatment of diabetes and hypertension is not the end of the problem, Prabhudesai said that people had to be made to understand the pitfalls of their unhealthy lifestyle.
In the last four years, health centres and hospitals attached to the directorate of health services attached reported over 5,000 cases of diabetes, and over 1,200 cases of hypertension, annually. These figures do not include the cases seen at GMC.
Professor and head of the nephrology department, GMC, Dr J P Tiwari, said that there is a rising incidence of chronic kidney diseases. “It’s prevalence in India is around 78 lakh. In Goa, it is estimated that about 12,000 persons are suffering from kidney diseases with 150-200 new cases being added every year. Yet, there is very poor awareness among the public,” he said.
Rigorous steps need to be taken to reverse the trend, Prabhudessai said, adding that for this people needed to do regular check-ups so that treatment starts on time.
Once complications set in, treating diabetes is costly, with per head expense for simple diabetes being between Rs 3,000-4,000 a month. At the dialysis stage, treatment cost will be anything between Rs 20,000-25,000 a month.
Referring to the common trend of obesity among children today, Prabhudessai said this is easily attributed to less outdoor activities, as parents and schools place emphasis on academics only.
The DHS official said the government needs to intervene before it’s not too late. “Undoubtedly, the Goa government provides good healthcare and diabetes treatment is subsidised, but the government can cut down on this expense by reducing the incidence of diabetes and hypertension,” he said.