People in their 20s and 30s are being treated for varicose veins, knee joint problems and other conditions usually associated with old age.
Bad postures and sedentary lifestyles have led to a rise in the number of younger people experiencing complaints such as back pain and haemorrhoids, according to analysis by Bupa.
Data from more than 60,000 medical procedures in 2015 was compiled by the private healthcare group.
It found treatment traditionally offered to older generations was increasingly being sought by younger people, aged mainly between 25 and 45 – a shift it attributed to time spent sitting at desks, watching box sets and using smartphones and tablets.
Removal of haemorrhoids and varicose veins were two of the most common procedures in the heart and circulatory diseases category for both 26 to 35-year-olds and 36 to 45-year-olds.
“Haemorrhoid removal and treatment for varicose veins are procedures that people in this age group should not be encountering,” said Dr Steve Iley, Bupa's medical director in a statement.
“However, when you consider the amount of time young people now spend sat using their mobiles and tablets, streaming box sets or playing with the latest games console, you can see why these conditions are rising in this age group.”
Among the five most common procedures for 36 to 45-year-olds were arthroscopic knee operations, a surgical technique by which a tiny camera is used to look inside the knee.
Epidural injections at the base of the spine, used to treat back pain, was also in the top five for this age group – a 10 per cent rise from 2014, a Bupa spokesperson told The Independent.
And arthroscopic knee operations were even one of the five most common procedures among 16 to 25-year-olds.
Searches for stress-related conditions on Bupa’s website had also increased, it said, suggesting this could be due to longer working hours, busy schedules and a lack of ability to “switch off”.
Experts have warned that repeatedly looking down at mobile phones and other devices has led to a rise in the number of young people experiencing back and neck pain.
Among 16 to 24-year-olds, 45 per cent said they were currently living with neck or back pain compared to 28 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds asked the previous year, according to a survey by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA).
Tim Hutchful, a BCA chiropractor, said he was “concerned that the number of patients under the age of 30 coming through our doors is increasing”.
“When people use laptops or mobile phones in bed they tend to forget their posture, hunch over the screen and leave their spine unsupported, which can damage posture and cause back or neck pain,” he said.
Bupa said searches for “piles”, “IBS [Irritable bowel syndrome]” and stomach ulcers on its website had increased by up to 240 times in one year since 2014.
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