Bupa has, for the first time, made public its analysis of over 60,000 procedures and over 4.7 million hits to its online health information pages in 2015. The most striking trend was the number of procedures undertaken to treat younger generations for conditions usually associated with old age. Haemorrhoid removal and varicose veins were two of the most common procedures for 26-35 and 36-45 year olds within the category of surgical Heart and Circulatory Diseases.
36-45 year olds are also now the most likely to undergo knee and back procedures. Multiple arthroscopic knee operations and transforaminal epidurals for back problems were both in the top five most common procedures for this age range in 2015.
The anonymous analysis found that ‘Generation X’, so those born in the late 60s to early 80s, could effectively be renamed ‘Generation Stress’, as the high stress, ‘always on’ nature of their lifestyles, coupled with the increasingly sedentary nature of modern living has seen surprising numbers of conditions traditionally associated with old age.
Even millennials are suffering from similar ‘older generation’ afflictions with multiple arthroscopic operations on knees also being one of the top five procedures amongst the 16-25 year old category.
Bupa also revealed a sharp rise in patient searches on their health information site for conditions associated with stress. Searches for “piles”, “IBS” and “peptic ulcers” increased 2454%, 1818%, and 347% respectively, compared to 2014. Searches for stress itself increased 388% year on year.
As well as age ranges, the analysis looked at the most common procedures across genders and UK cities in 2015. In particular, ‘older age’ procedures were revealed to be top of the table in Cardiff and Liverpool, where knee operations were the single most common procedures, and in Newcastle, where transforaminal epidurals were the most regularly undertaken procedures.
Dr. Steve Iley, Medical Director, Bupa UK said: “This shows a significant number of our customers are prematurely experiencing conditions you would normally associate with much older people. For example, haemorrhoid removal and treatment for varicose veins are procedures that people in this age group should not be encountering. However, when you consider the amount of time young people now spend, sat using their mobiles and tablets, streaming boxsets or playing with the latest games console, you can see why these conditions are rising in this age group.
“From their early twenties, more and more people are working long hours, with jam-packed schedules, and without the ability to ever really switch off. This, combined with bad postures and lack of movement, are taking their toll physically and mentally.
“Our changing lifestyles make it more important than ever that people have access to the latest and best medical services. Early and regular consultation can prevent a lot of the conditions we have seen from developing and will enable people to continue to lead the lives they want to.”
Full press release on www.bupa.co.uk