Under-35s Becoming Medically “Old Before Their Time”

Photo: Martin Mendizabal
There are many things we envy about baby boomers' lives: the homes they bought for tuppence that are now worth hundreds of thousands, their gold-plated pensions and their free university educations being just three perks we could only ever dream of. But one aspect of their lives that we wouldn't want for ourselves is their health. Not least because all those doctors' appointments would get in the way of us earning enough money to pay our greedy landlords. Sadly, however, there has been a "striking" rise in the number of young people needing medical procedures typically associated with old people, according to an analysis of 60,000 operations by private healthcare company Bupa UK released today. Haemorrhoid removal and varicose veins were two of the most common procedures among 26-35 and 36-45 year-olds. And knee and back operations are now more common among the 36-45 age group than any other. Even millennials (16-25s) are increasingly undergoing knee operations, and they're now one of the top five most requested procedures among this age group.

Writing in The Independent
, Dr Steve Iley, medical director of Bupa UK, said the findings suggest people in their 20s and 30s are "becoming old before their time". People in their 20s "should not ordinarily be needing treatment for haemorrhoids or varicose veins", he said. Dr Iley puts the alarming rise down to our stressful lifestyles. The "always on" nature of modern living has led to the emergence of "Generation Stress", he said. "From their early twenties, more and more people are working long hours, with jam-packed schedules, without the ability to properly switch off. When you combine this with bad posture and a lack of movement (say, for example, by sitting in office chairs all day), you can see why this might have a long-term impact on a person’s health," he wrote. The amount of time we spend in front of our screens could also be to blame, he said, particularly the way we spend weekends on Netflix, "playing with the latest games console or simply spending [our] evenings (and, in many cases, daytimes) sat using a mobile or tablet." Dr Iley recommends we slow down, look after our mental health, ensure we're getting enough sleep and take enough time to "relax and unwind". "Take a view of [your] health and properly assess how [you're] feeling," he added, and get minor health issues checked out before they spiral our of control. "If your body is seeing the signs of strain at 20 or 30 and you’re ignoring it, imagine what it will be like at 60," he said. As Dr Iley rightly reiterates, most of us in our 20s and 30s have decades of life left ahead of us, so it's worth paying attention to our health and cultivating good habits now, before it's too late. "Stress shouldn’t be an inhibitor to them living the lifestyle they want to, but it is becoming a serious one."

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