All citizens in Kerala above 30 years will be screened for lifestyle diseases within a year, Health Minister Veena George said on Saturday.
The screening program had been launched in one panchayat each in the 140 Assembly constituencies and completed in two panchayats.
More than 7,00,000 citizens had already been screened in the first five weeks of the campaign, during which health workers visited households. The diagnosis and treatment were free of cost for the needy.
The Minister said the program would be extended to all panchayats after the pilot phase. The Chingoly and Kanhikuzhy panchayats in Kottayam had completed the screening.
As many as 1,52,080 citizens, representing 20.93% of the 7,26,633 people screened during the campaign, were found to be at risk of at least one serious lifestyle disease. Of these, 82,943 (11.41%) were diagnosed with high blood pressure, 64,564 (8.9%) with diabetes, and 29,696 (4.09%) were found to have both. A total of 8,982 citizens were found to be susceptible to tuberculosis, 8,614 to uterine cancer, 47,549 to breast cancer, and 3,006 to oral cancer.
The Minister said the results of the screening indicated the need to adopt safeguards against lifestyle diseases while young. A press note quoting her stressed the need for lifestyle changes, including diet control and exercise, to keep diseases at bay. It said the citizens in the risk group and those referred for confirmation would be screened free of cost at government facilities.
The release also said early diagnosis and treatment of lifestyle diseases and cancer would help to avoid complications at a later stage.