Like many other researches that are conducted to study how well the quality of human life is, a Bengaluru based medical start-up, Practo, came up with a very interesting observation where the demand for gastroenterologists had increased which obviously means that people suffering from stomach ailments has shot up considerably, especially in the city of Delhi whose people have been proved to have the weakest stomachs. As shocking as those results are, we asked a mixed bunch of doctors about what they thought about what came off the study to which Dr. Siva Prasad Chari, a Bengaluru based gastroenterologist says, “Anywhere where food is prepared publically, many additives like soda, food colouring, artificial flavourings and sweeteners, corn syrup and MSG are added. This results in complications with the functioning of the nervous system and give birth to illnesses like diarrhoea, constipation, organ failure and even cancer. Majority of the patients that I treat suffer from acidity and pitha (increased level of alkaline substances in the blood).”
A Mumbai based doctor, Mr. Priyank Sethia goes on to explain that, “Majority of the patients that visit my clinic are lower middle class or people with a lower-income and cannot afford expensive treatment. The ailments they suffer from are usually because of the food consumed from roadside stalls or from fast food chains. There are very rare cases that the ulcers get serious and lead to internal bleeding in the stomach lining or indigestion which, according to my experience, has happened because of undercooked meat products or a food allergy.”
While this may be the statistics in large cities, the ailments make a rare appearance in the smaller towns down south. A Kozhikode based surgeon and gastroenterologist, Mr. K.S. Raman asserts, “While it is a known fact that the gastral health of an individual determines his overall well-being people in smaller towns do not have access to food that is prepared in hotels or stalls and the fact that restaurant food is more expensive than makes the chances of them falling sick even remote. It is the more well-to-do community that generally suffers from food poisoning or heartburn that cause mild ulcers.”
The underlining point of this research highlights the depreciating lifestyle of Indians who are incessantly exposed to polluted resources – both natural and man-made. Although there are alternatives to improve the quality of living, there is little or no effort made to maintain consistency. A Rajourie based doctor, Mr. Dilip Singha emphasises the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle by saying, “Although I have come across patients from varied financial backgrounds come to me with gastric problems, the higher class of people are consciously steering towards healthy eating and exercising whereas the ones below that standard either take it too lightly or don’t have the time for themselves.” Where does this leave the future of living such a life which leads to nothing but discomfort and suffering? It’s something to think about.