Over the course of 2022, we have screened hundreds of employees within the UAE as part of our Corporate Health Screenings, checking health metrics including cholesterol, BMI, heart rate, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and more. Whilst it’s relatively easy to find global data on the most common conditions identified in health screenings, data specific to the UAE is harder to come by which is why these findings are important.
We have analysed the three most common conditions we have identified throughout these health screenings and in this article will be explaining why these are important to identify early on, how we educate and communicate these health issues to staff, and our advice on the next steps that they need to take to take action to deal with these conditions.
We also delve into how these can help the business to best manage their corporate health insurance through both cost optimisation and cost containment to save both the businesses’ bottom line and improve the employee’s health, quality of life, and overall prognosis.
“2 in 3 employees screened had borderline high or high levels of cholesterol”
When analysing the results of our 2022 corporate health surveys, we have found that 66% of employees screened in 2022 had either borderline high or high levels of cholesterol. High cholesterol is generally caused by eating fatty foods, not exercising enough, excessive drinking, smoking and obesity, however high cholesterol levels can also run in families.
High levels of cholesterol can result in heart attacks or strokes caused by plaque build-up in arteries and can also lead to heart disease and other complications.
By identifying the risks of high cholesterol early, patients can take active measures to help reduce their cholesterol levels and subsequent risk of heart attacks, heart disease and strokes. Actions taken to reduce cholesterol can include medicines (most commonly statins), diet, and lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, eating heart-healthy foods, reducing alcohol consumption, exercising, and losing weight. In more extreme cases where an artery is blocked then surgery may be advised to help unblock plaque build-up in arteries.
Statins are the most common method of managing high cholesterol and help to reduce the amount of cholesterol your body makes. These are generally taken once a day in tablet form for the rest of your life and your cholesterol levels are checked regularly by your cardiologist to ensure that these are working correctly.
If a client is found to have high levels of cholesterol during a screening, our nurses would first ask the client if they had been fasting to ascertain if the level was accurate. Our nurses will also ask questions around diet along with meals within the last 24 hours to determine whether further investigation is required by a specialist. This will be based on how high the reading is and what the answers to their questions are.
From both an employee’s health perspective and a company medical insurance premium perspective, identifying a health issue early, means there is a chance to take proactive early action resulting in a healthier employee with a much better chance of a serious life-threatening event.
“2 in 3 Employees Screened are Pre-Hypertensive or Stage 1 or 2 Hypertensive”
High blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension is blood pressure that is higher than normal. Whilst your blood pressure changes throughout the day depending on the activities you do, having consistently high blood pressure readings may result in a diagnosis of hypertension.
Hypertension is a common condition during which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that, longer-term may cause health problems such as heart disease.
Many people experience blood pressure for years without any symptoms and uncontrolled this significantly increases their risk of serious health issues such as heart attack and stroke. In fact, our screening results show that 66% of employees that we screened this year alone are either pre-hypertensive (defined as a systolic pressure from 120-139 mm/Hg or a diastolic pressure from 80-89mm/hG), stage 1 or 2 hypertensive.
During our health screenings, we take blood pressure readings and if hypertension is detected, our nurses are able to provide advice and guidance on the next steps and how to help control it. If a patient does get a high blood pressure reading, we will first ask some questions and then after some time will take a second reading and then suggest some next steps. In most cases, this will be to go and have their blood pressure checked with a doctor who will perform further investigations.
Once the condition is known, measures can be quickly taken to help control and in some cases remedy the issue, helping to prevent a more serious health problem in the future.
“During the recent health screening, 58% of Employees Screened are either Overweight or Obese”
During our corporate health screenings, we measure client’s BMI readings. Also referred to as “Body Mass Index”, a BMI reading calculates a reading based on a person’s weight, height, gender, and age and is intended to quantify tissue mass. It is widely used as a general indicator of whether a person falls within the healthy body weight for their height and categorises adults into 8 different classes accordingly.
During our screenings, over half of the attendees were shown to be either overweight or obese. During our screenings and follow up we are able to address these issues on a confidential basis and provide guidance on how to lead a healthier lifestyle.
By addressing these concerns and taking proactive steps to improve an individual’s health and lifestyle, it will also hopefully help to avoid serious health concerns later down the track.
From a company’s perspective, screenings are able to help focus employees’ wellness strategy to address specific concerns relevant to their employees and will also help employees to be more focused on their general health and wellbeing.
Health screenings can also help improve the bottom line, as by identifying health issues and concerns early as we try to do during the health screenings, employees are able to take proactive action to improve these readings and will hopefully prevent major health incidents and claims on the policy which may affect future premiums as well as the employee’s health.
If you would like to arrange a health screening for your employees or get some further information, please reach out to us.