What causes high levels of stress among Indians? Work-related issues and money matters, as per the respondents of a recent survey, conducted by Cigna TTK Health Insurance. The findings reveal that stress levels are higher in India compared to the US, the UK, Germany, France, China, Brazil and Indonesia. About 89 per cent of the people in India say they are suffering from stress as against the global average of 86 per cent. Also, one in eight people finds it extremely difficult to deal with stress while millennials seem to suffer the most. Nearly 75 per cent of the people surveyed say they are not comfortable seeking medical help as the cost of treatment is one of the biggest deterrents. We have earlier discussed stress in this column, but the latest survey findings merit a relook.
There are two sets of people and stress can affect both. One is the set of vulnerable people with mild or non-obstructive coronary artery diseases/hypertension/family history of diabetes. "In fact, such ailments could be triggered by heightened stress," says Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, a heart surgeon and Founder-Chairman of the multispeciality hospital chain Narayana Health. "In India, people aged 30 or above should ideally get screened for blood pressure, diabetes and other health issues," he adds.
The other set, those outside the 'vulnerable' group, could also be affected by extreme stress. "There is a correlation between stress and health issues. Stress can bring to the fore existing medical conditions or prematurely trigger the onset of diseases such as hypertension or heart problems," observes Dr Shetty. "If you sit down and talk to patients, you will find most of them have something going in their life (that is causing stress). Maybe 20-30 per cent of people are dealing with conditions of extreme stress. But then, life is getting more complicated, and everything is becoming more competitive, and stress levels are increasing. Today, competition is 10 times more than what it was 10 years ago, and nobody in the world is secure anymore."