Thanks to the decline of work culture, rural Punjab is exposed to urban lifestyles diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.
In a latest survey in the villages of three districts, the health authorities recorded an alarming increase in the lifestyle-related diseases. Of the 3.59-lakh people screened, 26,314 had symptoms of diabetes. In the blood samples of 7.32% of the total people screened, the sugar level was above the normal limit of 140 miligram/deciliter, and 8.09% of the screened had suspected hypertension.
The district health authorities of Bathinda, Gurdaspur, and Hoshiarpur had done the surveys under the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS).
The outcome of the survey was unexpected, said Dr Vitul Gupta, assistant professor in the department of medicine at the Adesh Institute of Medical Sciences.
"It's hard to believe there can be almost 8% people battling non-communicable diseases," he added. "The figure is above the Indian average of only 4 to 5% for rural people."
District health officer Dr HS Randhawa blamed the outbreak of people doing less exercise and eating less healthy food in larger quantities than ever. "Even the lack of awareness, high level of mental stress, and diet rich in fat and calories are to blame for the lifestyle diseases," he said. "It's the first survey in a rural area for which the money has come from the Centre."
The results will help strengthen health facilities and referral services for the patients of diabetes and hypertension. The data on the stage of the disease is being compiled. The treatment of all patients will be free of cost.