Air pollution may lead to eye problems too

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

Corneal damage can be irreversible and cause blindness

New Delhi, 21 March 2019: With a large ageing population, growing middle-class and chronic nature of the disease, India is on the verge of a dry eye disease epidemic, says the study. The prevalence of dry eye disease will be in about 40% of the urban population by 2030. Since the disease tends to be progressive with age, once corneal damage becomes irreversible it can lead to visual impairment and even blindness. Early diagnosis and treatment is therefore important.

A study has found that the onset of dry eye disease is early in men than in women. In men, the age of disease onset is early 20s and 30s compared with 50s and 60s in women. Hormonal imbalance could be a likely reason for higher cases in women in their 50s and 60s.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Apart from the deterioration of eye health due to certain conditions, expanding areas of arid land, air pollution and greater exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation all present potential health hazards to the eyes. The cornea, eyelid, the sclera and even the lens—are all exposed directly to the environment. Rising temperatures and shifting atmospheric circulation patterns force dry air into regions. Drier air means that more people are likely to suffer from dry eye, a condition in which tears aren’t produced properly or evaporate too quickly. There is no evidence that drier conditions cause dry eye, but they can accelerate symptoms in people who are prone to dry eye. Air pollution has long been linked to respiratory disorders; more recently it’s been shown to play a role in eye disease.”

Recurrent infections over a lifetime lead to scarring inside of the eyelids, which in turn causes the eyelashes to turn inward and brush against the cornea, eventually resulting in damage that impairs vision.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Eye exercises may not improve or preserve vision, help eye health, or reduce the need for glasses. Our vision depends factors such as the shape of our eyeball and the health of the eye tissues. Neither of these can be altered greatly by eye exercises.”

Using a computer does not affect eye health. However, staring at a computer screen all day can contribute to eyestrain or tired eyes. People who stare at a computer screen for long periods tend not to blink as often as usual, which can cause the eyes to feel dry and uncomfortable. To help prevent eyestrain, adjust the lighting so it doesn’t create a glare or harsh reflection on the screen, rest your eyes briefly every 20 minutes, and make a conscious effort to blink regularly so that your eyes stay well lubricated.

Wishing all our readers a happy and healthy Holi!

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

Throw water over your inner demons and bring colors to your life on this day

New Delhi, 20 March 2019: The Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) wishes all its readers a very happy and harm-free Holi. On this day, let us all pledge to remove any impurities in our mind, share happiness with others, and forget all our individual differences. We should also take a pledge to not harm anyone in the process of playing Holi and be safe while also respecting others.

The practice of burning Holi a day before the festival symbolizes burning all your negative thoughts or emotions embedded in the mind and neutralize all the poison arising due to the negative feelings. As soon as the negativity is removed from the mind there is opening of the spiritual vision or the knowledge of the consciousness. Once this is done, only the positive thoughts remain, which is celebrated as sharing and loving each other, the next day.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “There are 5 obstacles to self-realization. Spreading love reduces anger as well as desires, detaches one from various attachments, reduces greed, and brings humility in a person. By burning one’s ego and other negative qualities, one also burns the ill feeling amongst each other and makes everybody a friend. During Holi, the practice therefore, is to visit and meet not only your friends but also those people to whom you are not friendly. The festival is an opportunity to spread brotherhood and happiness in the society. WHO defines health as not only the absence of disease but also a state of physical, mental, spiritual, social, and environmental wellbeing. Holi is thus a classic example or a custom to create ‘social health’ among people in the society. The habit of throwing water on each other also has a deep spiritual meaning – that of removing mental dirt leading to spiritual cleanliness.”

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The whole meaning is not to play Holi superficially or meet each other at a superficial level but to get rid of the negativity at the level of the mind as well. There is no point in celebrating Holi and meeting people unless you remove your negative thoughts about them from the mind. When you lovingly smear ‘gulal’ (coloured powder) on others, they reciprocate with doubled love and affection. Similarly, always think of good things about people. Express your positive thoughts about these friends loudly – not only in front of them but also in their absence. Don’t you think your heart will throb with pleasure when they reciprocate?”

Some tips for a safe Holi from HCFI

  • Use dental caps to protect teeth from staining.
  • Use sunglasses to keep eyes safe from the harmful chemicals of the colours.
  • Wear old and ragged clothes that may be discarded. Wear full-sleeved T-shirts or shirts and leggings that fully cover the legs. Wear socks. Brightly coloured and dark coloured clothes should be preferred. Use a hat, cap to protect the hair from being coloured with hard-to rinse dyes/colours.
  • Keep your eyes and lips tightly closed, when colour is being applied on you. Apply a thick layer of any oil on your body and hair till they glisten to make the skin slippery.  This will help wash off colours easily later on.
  • While washing off the colour, use lukewarm water and keep eyes and lips tightly closed.
  • If you venture out on the streets, avoid mob frenzy. Do not bump into the frenzied group of mob if you take to streets. Cross the road to the sidewalk across. Or, simply stay at a safe distance.
  • Discourage children to play Holi with eggs, mud or gutter water. Avoid use of abir as it has flakes of mica.
  • Stop children from forcibly applying colour on a hesitant neighbor. Don’t walk alone on the streets on the day of Holi.
  • Use only natural colour and water. Keep a big bucket of clean water handy for your children, so that they do not resort to gutter water and other unclean sources.

Diabetes may double the risk of acquiring lifetime tuberculosis

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

Every case must be notified, and treatment provided accordingly

New Delhi, 19 March 2019: The World Health Organization has indicated that about 15% of the global tuberculosis (TB) burden is now attributed to diabetes. A recent review pointed out that diabetes can double the lifetime TB risk. As per a review paper published in Diabetes Metabolism Research and Reviews recently, the prevalence of TB in diabetes and diabetes in TB was at least two-three times higher than that found in the general population.

In TB infections, the stress responses by the body result in impaired glucose tolerance, a risk factor for diabetes. TB drugs (namely, rifampicin) also make it more difficult to maintain glucose control. People with diabetes should seek treatment if they have a cough lasting more than two weeks, fever, night sweats and/or weight loss.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “To control TB, it is important to prevent diabetes. This is true especially in a country like India where rates of TB are amongst the highest and the incidence of type 2 diabetes is also rising sharply. Diabetes can go undiagnosed for a long period, so it makes sense to do proactive screening for diabetes in all patients with TB. Conversely, diabetes should be on the clinical radar when caring for people with TB. If an elderly develops TB, rule out diabetes and if an elderly develops diabetes, rule out TB. Rule out TB in every case of uncontrolled diabetes.”

India has the highest TB burden country in the world in terms of the absolute numbers of incidence cases each year. Mortality due to TB is the third leading cause of years of life lost (YLLs) lost, in the country.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “All open TB patients need to be immediately identified, and treated till they become sputum negative and non-infective. Most TB-positive patients do not disclose their TB status due to the fear of social stigma and so keep spreading the disease to others. The public needs to be informed that every open case of TB will cause 15 new cases of TB, if not treated in time. TB is a curable disease. Full and adequate treatment is important for complete recovery.”

Some tips from HCFI

TB is a notifiable disease and therefore, the approach should be based on DTR “Diagnose, Treat & Report”: Diagnose early, using sputum GeneXpert test; Treat: Complete and effective treatment based on national guidelines, using FDC; and Report: Mandatory reporting.”

  • Wash your hands after sneezing, coughing or holding your hands near your mouth or nose.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough, sneeze or laugh. Discard used tissues in a plastic bag, then seal and throw it away.
  • Do not attend work or school.
  • Avoid close contact with others.
  • Sleep in a room away from other family members.
  • Ventilate your room regularly. TB spreads in small closed spaces. Put a fan in you window to blow out air that may contain bacteria.

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