It’s Time for Indian Women to Take Control of Their Health

Indian woman

As per a survey conducted by one of the country’s leading insurers, while many Indian women are proving to be greater home makers, mothers and professionals, they are doing little to care about their health.   The survey that included 1009 (women) respondents revealed the following facts:

  • Only 39% of women were covered by any health insurance plan in India
  • Of that 39%, only 22% had purchased the policy themselves
  • 16% of respondent were covered by their employers
  • A large number shared the policy with husband or father
  • 71% of women developed some kind of an illness at least once or twice a year
  • 16 % respondents never went for a health check-up
  • 63% went for a check-up only when unwell

These revelations are hardly surprising, as most Indian women prioritize the wellness of their family members over their own. Traditionally, women in India are seen as an individual who is responsible for keeping the family together and strong. She is expected to look after her husband, children and maintain kinship ties. Amidst this, most women neglect their health and do not feel the need to consult a doctor. There is an urgent need to create awareness about women health, especially amongst women and show them a link between how their well-being is connected to that of their family. Keeping that in mind, here are some common health concerns that women after 30 must watch out for so that they can remain healthy in later years of life.

Breast Cancer

According to Breast Cancer India, out of every 100 breast cancer patients 16%, are the 30 to 40 age group. There is also an increase in the number of breast cancer patients between 25 to 40 years old in recent time, a trend which is highly disturbing.  Women whose mothers or grandmothers were diagnosed with breast cancer have a high risk of developing it themselves. At the same time, being overweight, or lifestyle choices like smoking can also put women at risk of developing the disease, even without a family history.   Experts believe that awareness about the disease and regular screening are the biggest deterrent to breast cancer.  Diagnosis of cancer in its early stage (1 and 2) can improve the chance of survival and prognosis. Therefore, women must watch out for symptoms of breast cancer through self-examination and go for regular monograms and check-up to minimize risk.

Osteoporosis

As per a study, 1 out of every 3 women is India suffer from Osteoporosis. In 2013, an estimated 36 million people were found to be suffering from osteoporosis in the country. This is an alarming, as the symptoms of osteoporosis can be reversed through proper nutrition, Vitamin D supplements and calcium. There are a number of over the counter bone supplements available in the market today. However, before taking any medicine or supplement do consult a doctor.  Although not life threatening, osteoporosis can cause severe bone damage or fracture due to brittle bones leading to impaired quality of life.

Hypertension

Increased Blood pressure is directly related to the development of coronary heart diseases and kidney failure. An analysis of prevalence of hypertension in India revealed that prevalence of Hypertension is highest in the urban region of the country and a growing number of women are being diagnosed with high BP. Uncontrolled BP can lead to severe health complications including heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and even cognitive impairment.  Hypertension is a highly preventive disease and can be controlled though proper care, diet and physical exercise.

Diabetes

The average age of women dying in India due to Diabetes is 57.4 years, according to a report.  This indicates that women with diabetes have an average life 9.5 years shorter than Indian women without diabetes.  Diabetes is yet another lifestyle disease which can be easily prevented though lifestyle modification and diet. Gestational diabetes is again very common in India. It refers to a condition when pregnant women have high sugar levels around the 24th of pregnancy, but were not diabetic before. It is estimated that at least 16% of pregnant Indian women develop gestational diabetes, and the number is rapidly increasing.

Women should regularly screen their blood sugar levels. Those with a family history are particularly susceptible of developing it themselves.

Cardiovascular diseases

A Safforlalife study 2015 revealed that 61% of Indian women are at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Diet and sedentary lifestyle are the biggest cause of any kind of heart ailment.  It is an extremely preventable disease.  Women are required to focus on heart health and must maintain a health BMI, lead an active life and should eat healthy and nutritious food.

A woman’s health is not just tied-up to her reproductive health and ability to procreate. It is more than that and is about holistic well-being. She has to juggle between so many responsibilities, manage stress level and focus on her own life.  Keeping all these factors in mind- It’s time that women should take control of their health and health insurance needs. A plain medical insurance plan along with a separate critical illness policy is a must for each & every Indian woman.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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