Doctors in India live 10 years lesser than average population- What can doctors do to save their lives?

Yes, you heard it right. Studies from Kerala and Pune by Indian Medical Association revealed these shocking statistics- doctors die about a decade earlier that the rest.
Life expectancy of a Malayali (native of Kerala) is 74.9 years but according to the IMA study, the mean ‘age of death’ of a Malayali doctor is 61.75 years. Indian doctor’s average lifespan is 55-59 years, almost 10 years lesser than that of the general population (IMA, Pune).
Common causes of death: #heart attacks (27%) and #cancers (25%). Other causes include #infections and #Suicides.
Risk factors for diseases and #death: physical inactivity, #obesity, #overweight, #stress, #sleep deprivation and long working hours are common among #doctors.
What can doctors do to live longer?
a. Reduce the number of working hours. #Residents & trainee doctors may not have choice but senior doctors or if there is an option, should limit to 8-10 hours/day. What is the need to see non-emergency cases in evenings and night clinics?
4b. Ensure 7-9 hours of sleep at nights. Emergency night duties should preferably not be more than 1-2/week. Offering telephonic advice to patients at nights could lead to medical errors and should be discouraged. Instead, they should be asked to contact hospital emergency dept.
4c. Incidence of anxiety, stress and depression is high among doctors. Efforts should be made to reduce stress- working in a team or reducing OP/IP patient numbers, taking breaks and vacations, spending more time with family & friends would help. Yoga & meditation would also help
4d. Doctors' profession is sedentary with long sitting hours. A few minute walk every 1-2 hours during OPD hours could help. 30-40 min of time should be allocated for exercise on a daily basis. Standing during office meetings and coffee breaks is better than sitting.
4e. Incidence of #smoking and #alcohol consumption (including heavy episodic #drinking) is high among doctors, including medical students. Medical knowledge that these are risky habits should be applied into own lives too.
4f. Doctors are exposed to various infections in their offices, wards and ICUs. Loss of lives of several doctors during #COVIDー19 pandemic is still fresh in our minds. Precautions to minimize exposure to infections should be a continuous process. Vaccinations should be UpToDate.
4g. Minimizing exposure to radiation: Doctors are exposed to radiation from X-rays, CT scan and radiotherapy treatment. Risk of thyroid, prostate and breast cancers is higher among doctors as compared to general population. Efforts should be made to minimize this exposure.
Take home message: It is important that doctors first take care of their own health and save themselves. Only if they are healthy and live long, can they take better care of patients. Reducing working hours & stress, ensuring adequate sleep & exercise are the keys.

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