Raghav Sharma, 40, and Shreyas Gokhle, 42, graduated in 1998 from one of the most prestigious management institutes in India.
Specializing in finance, they both advanced in their respective careers. Raghav became an executive at one of the top multinational banks in India, while Shreyas became a consultant with one of the Big Four accounting firms.
They fell out of touch as time passed. Recently, however, Raghav was in the hospital for his mother’s routine checkup. There, he bumped into his long lost friend Shreyas. He stunned to learn that the previous year, Shreyas had had a massive heart attack at the age of 41 and was forced to give up his hectic life as a consultant.
Shreyas had to reduce his working hours and become a freelancer. The high medical bills, along with uncertain income, weighed heavily on his mind as he struggled to save for his 15-year-old son’s education abroad.
Many of us have friends or family who struggle physically and financially due to critical illness. Here are some of the top illnesses in India and how to protect yourself against them:
Heart disease: This is the largest killer in India. There are many types of heart disease but all affect India’s productive workforce (35-65 years). The prevalence of heart disease among those who are relatively young (30s and 40s) can have a devastating effect on the individual and family both physically and financially
Tips: Avoid smoking and maintain a balanced diet with low cholesterol intake.
Stroke: According to the National Centre for Biotechnology Information in the US, India is witnessing a stroke epidemic. Stroke is the third largest killer in India, but also leaves survivors with paralysis, depression, seizures and large financial liabilities. The costs involved in caring for stroke survivors is enormous and can also lead to social stigma among family members.
Tips: Exercise adequately, control your weight and consume alcohol in moderation.
Diabetes and hypertension: While diabetes and hypertension are not critical illnesses on their own, they can lead to major illness in the future. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, almost 75 million Indians suffer from diabetes. Twice as many are believed to have elevated blood sugar levels that can lead to diabetes in the future.
Tips: Eat fibre-rich food, control your weight and reduce your intake of starchy carbohydrates.
While you take care of your health, it’s also important to protect your wealth against any critical illness. Insurers like Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance provide a comprehensive critical illness insurance plans with a large sum assured to protect against the financial impact of heart diseases, stroke and illnesses linked to diabetes and hypertension.