IBD can develop due to canned foods and bottled beverages

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India Comments Off

Despite 12 lakh cases of this condition annually in India, there is a lack of awareness

New Delhi, 08 July 2018: Canned foods packaged in plastic containers can increase the risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), an intestinal disorder that causes prolonged inflammation of the digestive tract, reveals a new study. Bisphenol A (BPA) is an endocrine disrupting chemical used in consumer products such as water bottles, containers to store food and beverages among others and is known to affect the crucial stages of development.

IBD is an umbrella term for two diseases namely Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease. The incidence of UC is very high in India when compared to Crohn’s disease. While Crohn’s can affect any part of the digestive system, UC affects only the rectum and the colon.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “IBD is a painful and debilitating condition which if left undetected and untreated, can lead to serious complications such as fistula intestinal obstruction, bowel dysfunction, and even colon cancer. UC causes long-lasting inflammation in a part of the digestive tract. Crohn’s disease, on the other hand, causes inflammation anywhere along the lining of the digestive tract, spreading deep into affected tissues eventually. This further causes abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, and even malnutrition. Surgery may be required in those with Crohn’s disease to remove a damaged or diseased part of the intestine. Sometimes, the entire large intestine is removed, with or without the rectum.”

Some symptoms of inflammation of the intestinal tract include diarrhea, rectal bleeding, urgent need to move bowels, abdominal cramps and pain, sensation of incomplete evacuation, and constipation (which can lead to bowel obstruction). There could also be other general symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, night sweats, and loss of normal menstrual cycle.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “IBD is generally treated with anti-inflammatory drugs which are special derivatives of 5 ASA derivatives. These are used either orally or through enema, corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, biological agents, antibiotics, anti-diarrheal drugs, and laxatives. Regular treatment and frequent tests are imperative.”

Some tips from HCFI

Identify the triggers For some these triggers could be food such as dairy products. Identifying the foods that trigger the symptoms and avoiding them is crucial.

Go for less gassy foods Avoid beans, cabbage, and cauliflower as these can cause gas. Consume more of foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Eat smaller meals This will help your digestive system to adjust better to the condition.

Keep yourself adequately hydrated Drink plenty of water and other fluids. However, limit the consumption of caffeine and alcohol.

Disease prevention should also focus on plant, animal and environmental health

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The concept of “One health” has been gradually gaining ground in the last few years. When we talk of One Health, it includes plants, animals, environment and humans. One Health recognizes that the health of the people is connected to the health of animals, plants and the environment that we all share.

About 60% diseases in humans and 75% of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic in nature and are spread from animals to humans. Nipah is an emerging disease. Many re-emerging diseases such as avian influenza are also transmitted from animals to humans. Animals are also susceptible to some diseases and environment hazards similar to humans. Hence, they may also be early warning signs of impending human illness. For example, birds often die of West Nile virus before humans are afflicted with the same infectious disease.

Zoonotic diseases should be identified at their animal source itself and acted upon at that point of time in the cycle. And, instead of considering a human patient as the index case, the infected animal should be the index case. Why should disease be allowed to spread from plants, animals or the environment to humans? Why should pollution be allowed to increase to hazardous levels of 1000 and even beyond?

So, when we talk of prevention, we should also talk about preventing diseases in plants, animals and the environment. This requires a new definition of primordial prevention, which has traditionally focused on preventing the emergence of risk factors that have not yet appeared in the given population. This definition should now change to also include the social and environmental factors that contribute to the disease risk. Caring for the health of animals is the first important step in preventing zoonoses in humans.

The health of humans, animals, plants and the environment has been traditionally managed separately. “One health”, on the other hand, considers them as one.

Working in isolation would not address these issues effectively. This calls for an interdisciplinary collaborative approach involving doctors, veterinarians and all public health departments. All should work together. Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) is coming up with a new Dept. of Occupational and Environment Health. It is time for all Community Medicine departments to also establish a “Dept. of One Health”.

The budget allocated for health for each separately should instead be constituted into one health budget. The coordination of all four ministries should be integrated into one common coordinating center. This is what “one health” was meant to be.

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri Awardee

Vice President CMAAO

Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Immediate Past National President IMA