More awareness needed on CHD in India

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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.

This has been an unusual summer so far in North

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The early summer season or ‘grishma ritu’ is hot and dry, while the later part of summer, when rains are on the horizon is hot and moist.

Rains are not usual in early summer in North India. But, this year, early summer has been marked by an unusually increased frequency of dust storms, thunder storms and rains. In Vedas this is termed vikruti (vitiation) of ritu (season), when the weather forgets its dharma and behaves abnormally.

When this happens, all body circadian rhythms also behave abnormally and every function of the body is exaggerated.

In such weather conditions, wind-sensitive individuals with no evidence of target organ damage can have accelerated hypertension. Such individuals are sensitive to changes in atmospheric pressure.

Modern medicine has no answer for this phenomenon. But, the answer to this may lie in our ancient texts. Atharveda, the fourth Veda, includes the principles of medicine, based on which, Ayurveda has evolved. Ayurveda, which talks of vayu vikruti, has been also called as ‘Upa Veda’ of Atharveda.

“As is the microcosm, so is the macrocosm” is a common Vedic saying. The universe is made up of five elements: space, air, fire, water and earth. These five elements also make human body in the form of three characteristics, which are called Vata, Pitta and Kapha in Ayurveda. In modern medicine language, the Vata represents movement function, Pitta metabolism and Kapha represents structure.

As per Ayurveda, each dosha accumulates (kaya), aggravates (Prakopa) and becomes normal (Prasamana) in different Ritus. Vata (movement function) accumulates in summer, aggravates in rainy seasons and calms down in autumn. Pitta (metabolism) accumulates in rainy season, aggravates in autumn (Sharad Ritu) and calms down in early winter. Kapha (structure and secretions) accumulates in late winter, aggravates in spring (Vasant Ritu) and calms down in summer.

Vitiation of Vata (movement) leads to high blood pressure, arrhythmia; pitta (metabolism) increases metabolism and more acidity, while vitiated Kapha (structure) may disrupt sugar profile.

In the current wind storms in Delhi, we saw a large number of patients developing accelerated hypertension.

Any change in environment affects the functions of the body. This is well-known in Vedic sciences. Modern medicine should look into it and find answers to this phenomenon.

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri AwardeeVice President CMAAOGroup Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Immediate Past National President IMA