More awareness needed on CHD in India

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India No Comments

Unlike earlier, better treatment outcomes are being achieved today

New Delhi, 20th May 2018: As per a status report on the prevalence of congenital heart disease (CHD) in the country, the infant mortality rate (IMR) currently stands at 34 per 1000 live births. Approximately 10% of this may be accounted for by congenital heart diseases (CHD) alone. Every year, 1.5 lakh infants are born with CHD, of which 78,000 do not survive. As per the Children’s Heart Foundation, globally, 1 in 100 babies is born with a CHD and about 25% of them have critical CHD.

CHD occurs due to a problem with the structure of the heart. It is the most common type of birth defect. The defects can involve the walls of the heart, the valves, and the arteries and veins near the heart.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Most CHDs can be corrected surgically, and the child can live a near normal life. Lakhs of children in India die every year because they cannot afford surgical intervention. All children with a murmur need evaluation to rule out underlying congenital heart disease. A murmur is an abnormal rumbling sound which can be auscultated by a stethoscope on the heart area. Even paramedics can pick up a murmur. CHDs can be classified as a blue baby or a non-blue baby. There was a time when no cure was available but today, many hospitals are performing surgeries in children with congenital heart disease with excellent outcomes.”

Signs and symptoms of severe defects in newborns include rapid breathing; Cyanosis – a bluish tint to the skin, lips, and fingernails; fatigue; and poor blood circulation.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “The treatment for CHD depends on the type and severity of the defect. Some babies have mild heart defects that heal on their own with time. Others may have severe defects that require extensive treatment. Depending on the defect, diagnosis and treatment may begin shortly after birth, during childhood, or in adulthood. Some defects don’t cause any symptoms until the child becomes an adult, so diagnosis and treatment may be delayed.”

Some tips to prevent CHD.

· Consult your doctor before consuming any over-the-counter medications if you are pregnant or trying to conceive.

· Keep your blood sugar levels under control before conceiving.

· If you weren’t vaccinated against rubella, or German measles, avoid exposure to the disease and speak with your doctor about prevention options.

· If you have a family history of congenital heart defects, ask your doctor about genetic screening. Certain genes may contribute to abnormal heart development.

· Avoid drinking alcohol and using illegal drugs during pregnancy.

Diet can go a long way in preventing cancer

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine, Social Health Community No Comments

There is a need to create awareness that any type of cancer can be symptomless

New Delhi, 19 May 2018: The incidence of multiple myeloma (MM) varies from 1.2 to 1.8 per 100,000 in India. Approximately, 50,000 new MM cases are diagnosed each year. Men are more likely to develop this condition than women. The signs and symptoms of MM vary and in the early stages of the disease, there may be no symptoms at all.

MM is a cancer that forms in a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. Multiple myeloma causes cancer cells to accumulate in the bone marrow, where they crowd out healthy blood cells. Rather than produce helpful antibodies, the cancer cells produce abnormal proteins that can cause complications.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Although the definitive cause of MM is not known, there may be several factors contributing factors such as a genetic abnormality (c-Myc oncogenes). It is not a hereditary disease as nothing conclusive has been established thus far. Environmental exposures to herbicides, insecticides, benzene, hair dyes, and radiation may also be responsible. Apart from this, inflammation and certain infections may also be triggers. The condition almost always starts out as a relatively benign condition called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS). As myeloma cells crowd out normal blood cells, multiple myeloma can also cause anemia and other blood problems.”

Some signs and symptoms of this condition include bone pain (especially in the spine or chest), nausea, constipation, lack of appetite, confusion, fatigue, frequent infections, weight loss, weakness or numbness in your legs, and excessive thirst.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, “The combination of treatments for MM depends upon to whether a person is a good candidate for bone marrow transplant. This depends on the risk of the disease progressing, a person’s age, and overall health. MM also causes a number of complications, and therefore, one may need treatment for those specific conditions as well. This includes kidney problems and eventually anemia.”

Some tips from HCFI
An anti-cancer diet can go a long way link preventing not just MM but other types too. Some tips one can follow are given below. Eating fruits and vegetables at every meal.
• Choosing whole grains instead of foods containing processed or refined grains.
• Limiting processed and red meats.
• Practicing eating habits that allow you to maintain a healthy weight.
• If you drink, limiting alcohol to two drinks daily if you’re a man and one if you’re a woman.

About 90% of strokes can be prevented with lifestyle changes

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine No Comments

Provided timely action is taken, a stroke can leave a person with permanent disabilities

New Delhi, 18 May 2018: Statistics indicate that 15% of all strokes are caused by hemorrhagic stroke when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, leading to permanent damage. While all people with acute stroke benefit from treatment on a stroke unit, there is currently no specific treatment for hemorrhagic stroke and unfortunately many people affected will die within a few days.

A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when blood from an artery begins bleeding into the brain. Pressure from the leaked blood damages brains cells, and, as a result, the damaged area is unable to function properly.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “There are two types of weakened blood vessels that can cause hemorrhagic stroke: aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). An aneurysm is a ballooning of a weakened region of a blood vessel. If left untreated, the aneurysm continues to weaken until it ruptures and bleeds into the brain. AVM, on the other hand, is a cluster of abnormally formed blood vessels. Any one of these vessels can rupture, also causing bleeding into the brain. It is important to treat strokes as quickly as possible. With a hemorrhagic stroke, the first steps are to find the cause of bleeding in the brain and then control it. Surgery may be needed. Post-stroke rehabilitation can help people overcome disabilities caused by stroke damage.”

Some symptoms of a stroke include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body); confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding speech; trouble seeing in one or both eyes; trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; and severe headache with no known cause.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “Two main causes for hemorrhagic strokes include uncontrolled high blood pressure (hypertension) and overtreatment with anticoagulants (blood thinners). Apart from this, it is also important to manage certain lifestyle-based risk factors such as obesity, inactivity, consumption of alcohol, and use of drugs. Depending upon the duration for which the brain lacks blood flow and which part was affected, a stroke can even cause permanent disabilities.”

Some tips from HCFI.

Stroke is preventable. About 90% of strokes are associated with 10 risks factors that are modifiable.

Control high blood pressure
Do moderate exercise 5 times a week
Eat a healthy balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in sodium
Reduce your cholesterol
Maintain a healthy BMI or waist-to-hip ratio
Stop smoking and avoid second hand exposure
Reduce alcohol intake
Identify and treat atrial fibrillation
Reduce your risk from diabetes talk to your doctor
Get educated about stroke

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