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Giftwrapped with love - a health checkup package

Reported December 11, 2010


Wondering what to gift your spouse this birthday or your parents on their wedding anniversary? Buy them good health checkup packages to ensure they have a healthy life.

"It was my parents' 30th wedding anniversary and I thought of gifting them a medical checkup kit. It was the best way to ensure a longer and healthier life for them," says Priya Deshpande, a software professional based in Delhi.

Regular checkups to pre-determine any probable health threats, which were not-so-popular in India until recently, are fast becoming an important part of healthy life.

"It is a popular concept in the West. There people go for health checkups on birthdays and anniversaries. The same concept is now becoming popular in India," says Amol Naikawadi, joint managing director of Indus Health Plus, a leading healthcare company that specialises in preventive health checkups.

"Traditionally, the concept of preventive measures of healthcare were missing in India. Health checkups were not considered unless there is a medical emergency. However, these days youth are conscious and concerned about preventive health checkups," he adds.

Most checkup packages won't pinch the pocket. The cost varies from Rs.5,000 to Rs.16,000. Normal packages include radiology and sonography. If you want to go for a brain and heart scan, you should opt for packages ranging between Rs.14,000 and Rs.16,000.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that more than 270 million people are susceptible to diseases linked to unhealthy lifestyles. Most of these people are said to be from South Asian countries - China, India, Pakistan and Indonesia.

Reports on health issues suggest that in the next few years, chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, cancer and AIDS would account for over 65 per cent of deaths in India compared to 53 per cent in 2005. By 2020, chronic diseases are expected to claim 7.63 million lives in India, compared to 3.78 million in 1990.

"Indians are genetically more prone to lifestyle diseases. The risk for an Indian is four to six times higher than Europeans and Americans," says Naikawadi. "Most of these diseases don't show any symptoms until they reach an advanced stage."

According to the International Diabetes Federation, India currently has the highest number of people suffering from diabetes at 50.8 million, and by 2030 over 8.4 per cent of the country's adult population will be affected.

The number of heart patients is expected to go up to 62 million by 2015, compared to 16 million in the US.

According to Naikawadi, regular checkups, specially after the age of 35, are a must to avoid serious health problems.

"It is best to take basic health checkups every year after 20; however, after 35, it is a must," he says.

Suranjit Chatterjee, a senior consultant at Apollo Hospital, Delhi, says: "Earlier people had a healthier lifestyle but now things have changed. We have more stressful lives and illnesses have also increased. That's why the Western trend of preventive health checkups is becoming popular in India as well."

Dhiren Desa of Indus Health Plus says myths about diseases are breaking too.

"Earlier, people used to think a man cannot have a heart attack till he's 50. Moreover, it was thought that only men suffer heart attacks. But today women stand a higher risk, with the dual burden of household and professional responsibilities."

Most hospitals offer health kits these days. And for a change, instead of jewellery, clothes or other luxury items, the package could make the perfect gift for your loved one.