The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fit and fine, but ailing inside
- Health checks reveal metabolic disorders in clueless executives

On the face of it, they are all fit for their 12x7 slog schedule. But when put to the test — of the medical kind, that is — many of them are found to suffer from ailments ranging from hypertension to diabetes and more.

Asymptomatic young and middle-aged executives in the corporate sector undergoing health check-ups at hospitals are being diagnosed with a number of disorders that they are blissfully unaware of.

“In most cases, those coming for check-ups have no clue about their diseases. But the tests reveal single or multiple metabolic disorders,” said Milan Chhetri, consultant in internal medicine at Apollo Gleneagles Hospital.

The Bypass hospital will soon open a Metabolic Clinic to provide treatment for such disorders under one roof.

“Some of the common disorders in apparently healthy professionals without any symptoms are hypertension, high blood sugar, cholesterol, uric acid, anaemia, hypothyrodism (low secretion of thyroid hormones leading to obesity, fatigue and heart disease), and abnormal liver and kidney function,” added Chhetri.

Increased homocysteine levels, a new protein discovered in blood which increases the risk of heart attack, Wilson’s disease (too much copper in body), haemochromatosis (increased iron content) are some of the other major metabolic disorders identified in those forced by company rules to come in for a check-up.

In most hospitals, corporate health check-ups are classified into three groups — those in their early 20s for pre-employment tests, those in the age-group of mid 20s and late 30s, and those in the early-40s to early-50s bracket (see box).

“The distressing trend is that very few turn up for voluntary annual check-ups,” said Rupali Basu, general manager, Wockhardt Medical Centre, that has been conducting corporate check-ups for nearly two decades.

Almost 99 per cent of young professionals are asymptomatic. Around 10 per cent are detected with kidney and gall bladder stones, and more than 50 per cent have poor dental hygiene, hypertension, uric acid, redness of eye (computer vision syndrome) and myopia.

“There are a lot of young people with fatty liver. Their case history reveals excessive consumption of alcohol and late nights,” said Chhetri.

Middle-aged executives, in the high-stress-high-risk bracket, suffer from a whole range of diseases.

At BM Birla Heart Research Centre, 10 per cent of executives, without any apparent symptom, are diagnosed with cardiac disorders. “A number of them test positive in the treadmill test. The most common ailment for pre-employment check-ups is hypertension,” said Rupak Barua, the hospital’s director, growth and planning.

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