Author`s name Olga Savka

Russians do not like visiting doctors, study says

Everybody agrees that a healthy life style gives a boost to health

Demographic crisis in Russia is an open secret. It is impossible to quickly ensure an upward trend in birth rate. It is easier to take steps to reduce mortality rate. People's attitude to their own health is one of the main factors affecting the mortality rate. Researchers at Moscow recently conducted an opinion poll on the above issues. The opinion poll involved 670 people of different sex, age and income.
The study shows that people are quite aware of the demographic situation in the country. They can furnish you with pretty accurate figures regarding average life expectancy of men and women. They are aware of the diseases most frequently resulting in death. They are conscious of the factors that have a crucial impact on life expectancy. The majority of respondents regard a life style the most important factor to life expectancy. Environmental conditions are a runner-up followed by heredity and the quality of health service. But the above findings are true in theory. There is a different situation with regard to daily life.

At times we seem to have an irresistible urge of separating himself from the rest of the population. Probably that is the way we try to protect ourselves from health threats at a subconscious level. Two thirds of the polled evaluate their health as “good” (they tend to disregard all the data indicating to the contrary as if to make a point of their own story that is fine). Everybody agrees that a healthy life style gives a boost to health. In the meantime, 82% admit that they try not to think about their health problems (“hiding away” from the problems) while 70% of the polled opt to endure their diseases without seeking medical attention. This is the most worrisome conclusion of the study. Decades of the Soviet rule have taught many Russians that they had better stay at their workplaces even when they feel sick. Avoiding any visits to a doctor is part of the Soviet legacy. Three fourths of the respondents admit they do not go to a doctor due to lack of time. Only 8% visit doctors to take medical examinations for prevention purposes. In other words, “when push comes to shove” seems to be our favorite motto.

What are the results of this reckless attitude? Here is one of the many examples. Nearly all of the polled are aware of hypertension being the main risk factor of heart diseases. Heart diseases are No1 cause of death. However, only 6% of men and 14% of women can control their blood pressure. As a result, only half of the Russians affected by hypertension are aware of their condition. Around half of those who know about their high blood pressure take some kind of treatment while the other half hope to get by a “lucky chance” even after being diagnosed with a serious condition. The saying of the ancient sage Sophocles might as well apply to Russians: “Heaven does not help those who stay idle.”