About 91% of the world’s population lives in areas with unsafe air pollution standards

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

Indian metropolitan cities record some of the worst particulate matter levels
New Delhi, 24th June 2018: Metropolitan cities such as Mumbai and Delhi are not only the most populous in India but also the most polluted, indicate statistics. Air pollution is a major cause of life threatening diseases such as stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and chronic and acute respiratory syndromes such as asthma in these cities. The need of the hour is to take urgent action both at the public and governmental levels to curb air pollution.
Recent data by WHO indicates that Delhi recorded Particulate Matter 2.5 levels at 143 micrograms per cubic meter, which is 14 times higher than the recommended safe limit. Surrounding areas such as Jaipur and Chandigarh also have PM 2.5 levels which is well above the safe limits.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Smaller particulate matter is extremely harmful to health as these can enter the lungs more deeply causing various respiratory disorders. Some of the more common air pollutants such as mercury, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide and nitrogen compounds have a direct impact on water bodies. Those vulnerable to the impacts of high air pollution levels include young children, women, outdoor workers, and the elderly. In the rural areas, indoor smoke through animal waste fuels or firewood is a serious factor affecting the lives of a significant number of people. People with any existing breathing issues should avoid venturing out.”
Globally, 91% of the population lives in areas where air pollution standards are unsafe. About 23% of all deaths can be traced to some preventable environmental risk factor.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “It is advisable to keep in place an air filter or indoor plants to counter the effects of air pollution. Those who smoke should quit this habit or try to avoid smoking in this period. Making some dietary changes to include vegetables, legumes, nuts, and lean fats can also help safeguard one’s health. Changes at the personal level can go a long way in combating air pollution.”
Some tips from HCFI.
• Walk or cycle for short distance commutes or to the neighborhood market. Plan and combine all your errands in one area or close by areas for one trip. Limit driving and make use of carpool.
• Use public transport as much as possible for longer distances. Keep your vehicle well maintained for efficient functioning with regular servicing to reduce harmful exhaust emissions and get pollution check done as required. Follow speed limits. Avoid buying diesel vehicle.
• Avoid burning candles dhoop or incense sticks at home or workplace.
• Quit smoking.
• Plant more trees. Limit the areas of bare soil by growing grass to reduce the amount of dust. Sprinkle water on exposed soil or construction sites regularly to reduce generation of dust. Wet mop the floors at home or workplace.
• Choose a place with least pollution levels when there is a choice.

Gaming addiction is now officially a mental health disorder

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

It is important to give sufficient family time to children to prevent such addiction

New Delhi, 23rd June 2018: In its new International Classification of Diseases (ICD), the WHO has classified addiction to digital and video gaming as a mental health disorder. It described the addiction as a ‘pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior’ that becomes so extensive it ‘takes precedence over other life interests’. It is imperative to make people aware of this condition and ensure that those who suffer get appropriate and timely help.

In those with a ‘Gaming disorder’, gaming takes precedence over other activities to the extent that everything else is pushed to the periphery. The condition can lead to significant distress and impairment in personal, familial, social, educational or occupational functioning. Apart from this, it can also cause disturbed sleep patterns, diet problems and deficiency in physical activities.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India said, “A person addicted to gaming can spend anywhere between 10 and 14 hours a day playing. Most of these people have some underlying social and psychological conditions as well. For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behavior pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months. Increasingly, there is a lack of interaction among family members primarily because each of them is engrossed in some screen or the other. And children emulate what parents and other elders do.”
Many parents wake up to this disorder in their children only when there is a drastic drop in academics, a failure in professional life, or visible social alienation.
Adding further, Dr Jitender Nagpal Senior Psychiatrist said, “Recovery from this condition can take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks of intense cognitive therapy. Under this, they are taught how to handle the craving for playing games, counter discomfort, and focus on other healthier recreations. Children alone can’t be corrected. Today, parents hardly have any time to spend with their children unlike old times. It is important for them to give children adequate time and attention to prevent such addictions. Presence cannot and should not be substituted by presents.”
Some tips from HCFI
• Interact with children: Instead of giving them a phone to keep them busy, spend some time interacting with them and talking to them. This will eliminate the need for a device.
• Put computers or TVs in shared spaces: This way it will be easier to keep track of their usage and limit screen time.
• Opt for a tech-free time: Ensure devoting few hours in a day to zero screen time for the entire household.
• Watch your habits: If, as parents, you devote a lot of time to mobiles and computers, children are naturally inclined to follow suit. Be a positive role model for them.
• Eat together: Meal times should be free from screens and a time for the family to sit together and eat. Make this a practice.
• Indulge in physical activity: Ensure that the children spend sufficient time in outdoor activities. This will make them less prone to using Smartphone.

‘Golden period’ of post stroke rehabilitation most important

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

India witnesses about 1.8 million stroke cases every year

New Delhi, 22nd June 2018: Stroke can hit anyone irrespective of their age. While effective treatment for stroke is evolving in the country, a largely neglected area is the ‘golden period’ of post-stroke rehabilitation. As per estimates, there are more than 1.8 million stroke cases every year in India. Of these, about 15% percent affect people in their 30s and 40s. There is a need to create awareness on the fact that the first 90 days, also called the ‘Golden Period’, in post-stroke rehabilitation are vital.

Stroke or a Cerebro Vascular Accident (CVA) results from a sudden blood loss to the brain or bleeding within the brain resulting in the impairment of neurological function. Obesity, smoking, hypertension, alcohol consumption, diabetes and family history are considered some of the common factors leading to a stroke.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Vice President CMAAO, said, “Anyone with a suspected stroke or ‘brain attack’ must be shifted to the hospital at the earliest and given a clot dissolving therapy. About 85% of strokes are ischemic in nature. Some common risk factors for stroke in the country include hypertension, diabetes, smoking, and dyslipidemia. These are further insufficiently controlled due to low awareness levels about the disease. Another major challenge in this direction is that treatment for stroke is still evolving in our country.
The acronym FAST can be used to recognize the warning signs of stroke: face drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulty, and time to emergency which is first 4.5 hours for the drug treatment and 0-24 hours for the brain vessel intervention.
The disabilities caused due to a stroke can be temporary or permanent, depending on how long the brain lacks blood flow and which part is affected.”
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 Vinit Suri Sr Stroke Specialist said, “Stroke is one of major public health concerns worldwide, with the burden in India increasing at an alarming rate over the past few decades. There is an urgent need to address this condition and this can only be done through more effective public education among all demographic groups.”
Some tips from HCFI
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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