Doctors, equipped with the expertise to effectively treat patients, are the pillars of our healthcare system. However, beneath the surface of their demanding profession lies a concerning trend: the average life expectancy of doctors is approximately 10 years less than that of the general public. This discrepancy further unfolds when exploring variations among medical specialties.
Common Causes of Death:
Cardiovascular Issues, Cancer, and Suicide:
Cardiac diseases, cancer, and episodes of suicide emerge as common causes of death among doctors. Notably, cancer appears to be more prevalent in medical professionals, irrespective of specialty. Conversely, suicide rates are higher among anesthesiologists, possibly attributed to their specialized knowledge and resource accessibility. On a positive note, ophthalmologists enjoy the best life expectancy, potentially due to lower stress levels in their profession.
Doctors as Challenging Patients:
Ironically, doctors themselves prove to be challenging patients. Treating a doctor-turned-patient involves navigating peculiar queries based on half-forgotten knowledge, especially when the patient is from a different specialty. Doctor-patients often present with rare occurrences and complications, potentially influenced by selection bias, as simpler, self-managed cases may not be as visible.
Suicidal tendencies among doctors, particularly females, are a harsh reality. Work-life balance, more demanding for female doctors, may contribute to this disparity. Anesthesiologists face a higher risk of suicide compared to other specialties. Despite ophthalmologists being considered happier, dermatologists are more prone to suicide. Stress, depression, and a lack of hobbies are significant factors contributing to suicidal tendencies, especially among postgraduates.
Long working hours, exceeding 70 hours a week, are common in the medical profession, leading to an imbalanced life and work dynamic, disrupting family life and contributing to depression. Addressing these challenges is crucial to ensuring the well-being of doctors in their demanding profession.
Sedentary Lifestyle and Boss-Like Behavior:
Alongside stress, doctors often lead a sedentary lifestyle, increasing the risk of obesity and associated complications like diabetes and ischemic heart disease. Despite being well-trained to provide sound health advice, doctors often struggle to follow it. This discrepancy may be exacerbated by a boss-like behavior that adds to these health complications.
Moreover, doctors tend to be hesitant about seeking treatment from fellow physicians, known for hiding their own health issues. This behavior could be a manifestation of a boss-like attitude, emphasizing the need for a shift in mindset to encourage a more open and health-conscious medical community.
In conclusion, the life expectancy of doctors presents a complex scenario influenced by numerous factors. To improve the life expectancy of this dedicated workforce, holistic measures are imperative. Encouraging a balanced work-life dynamic, promoting mental health awareness, and fostering an environment that prioritizes self-care are essential steps. Additionally, initiatives to address sedentary lifestyles, combat obesity, and encourage open dialogue about health concerns within the medical community can collectively contribute to a healthier and more resilient doctor population. The onus lies on medical institutions, policymakers, and individual doctors to collaborate in implementing these changes for the betterment of the entire medical profession.