Indians put away treating bone-related problems

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Studies indicate that knee pain is the most common bone problem in India

New Delhi, 19th January 2018: While India has witnessed an increase in life expectancy thanks to advances in medical science and technology, what is also increasing is the number of people leading sedentary lifestyles and eating food that is unhealthy. All this has contributed to an increase in the number of obesity cases and as a natural corollary, given a rise to orthopedic problems. Knee pain seems to be the most common problem.

Other kinds of problems experienced by people include shoulder and hip pain. However, joint pain can affect any part of the body — from the ankles and feet to shoulders and hands. Joint pain could be due to age-related osteoarthritis or auto-immune rheumatoid arthritis or injury to the ligaments, bursae, or tendons surrounding the joint.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “Indians are genetically predisposed to osteoarthritis. Lack of exercise and an unhealthy lifestyle have further exacerbated this situation. Orthopedic problems not only cause joint pain but also restrict mobility. This makes it difficult for those with these conditions to perform even daily normal tasks including walking, and working in the kitchen. People with joint pain need to follow a strict daily routine to keep their condition under control and minimize pain and discomfort. By maintaining an ideal body weight and following an active lifestyle, it is possible to avoid orthopedic problems. While one cannot stop the process of ageing, it is possible to prevent the chances of acquiring joint pains through certain lifestyle changes.”

Unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking can affect bone health adversely. It is also imperative to check weight gain as this can accelerate the damage and eventually lead to significant bone loss.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal who is also Group Editor of IJCP, said, “Joint and back pains are considered as part of the normal ageing process in our country. Thus, many people tend to go for quick fixes such as analgesics or some pain-relieving balms instead of getting proper diagnosis and treatment; or even finding out the underlying cause of the condition. This makes the situation worse.”

Here are some things one can follow to maintain bone health.

  • Consume foods rich in calcium such as Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese. Those with lactose intolerance can opt for non-dairy sources of calcium such as leafy green vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds.
  • It is important to get enough Vitamin D as it helps in the absorption of calcium. Some sources of this vitamin include milk, fortified orange juice, mushrooms, and egg yolk.
  • Get enough physical activity for about 30 minutes each day. There are exercises that can help increase bone strength and improve balance and coordination.
  • Limit the intake of caffeine as this can decrease the absorption of calcium
  • If you smoke or drink, it is a good idea to quit both these habits.

Ignoring oral and dental health can cause other complications

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Poor dental health can also cause problems for the heart

New Delhi, 18 January 2018: A study has shown that persons with bad oral health have a high risk of developing cancers of lung, colon and pancreas. Those who are edentulous or lacking teeth – a sign of severe periodontitis – had an 80% increase in the risk of developing colon cancer. A low-grade systemic inflammation related to periodontitis facilitates the spreading of oral bacteria and their virulence factors to other parts of the body.

Advanced gum disease, also called periodontitis, is caused by bacterial infection that damages the soft tissue and bone that supports the teeth. If left unchecked, the resulting inflammation can spread down below the gums and along the roots of the teeth, causing destruction of the periodontal ligament and the supporting bone. This ultimately leads to the loosening and potential loss of the teeth.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “Oral hygiene is extremely essential. Dental health is often ignored by many people. Stress can have lasting effects on the teeth as on the overall system. Under stress, many people pick up the habit of smoking and consuming alcohol, which can have serious implications on dental health at a later stage. Periodontitis is a serious condition and if not managed on time can be detrimental to dental health. One should not ignore warning signs and visit a dentist as soon as possible. A dull tooth ache, which does not subside, bleeding gums, and sensitivity to certain eatables are signs that should not be ignored.”

There are more than 700 different species of bacteria colonized in a healthy mouth, most of which are completely harmless and live in harmony with their host. However, in the absence of sufficient oral hygiene and tooth cleaning, bacterial deposits build up next to the gums, forming a plaque, and the conditions become suitable for more dangerous bacteria to flourish.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also Group Editor of IJCP, said, “What many people are unaware of is that dental hygiene is also imperative for heart health. Poor oral health and tooth loss is associated with modest increases in future heart blockages and paralysis.”

Here are some tips to take care of your teeth and prevent tooth decay.

  • Brush your teeth twice daily. Brushing helps in preventing the build-up of plaque and bacteria which can cause tooth decay and periodontal diseases.
  • Floss every day as flossing helps clean the crevices where the brush can’t reach.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Avoid sugary and starchy foods as sugar in such foods reacts with the bacteria in saliva to form an acid that erodes the tooth enamel leading to tooth decay.
  • The tongue too harbors bacteria. Therefore, it is a good idea to invest in a tongue scraper and clean it each time you brush your teeth.
  • Consult a dentist if your gums are inflamed or if they bleed. Do not ignore any pain in the teeth and/or gums.
  • Get your teeth checked every six months. Dental cleaning and check-up twice a year is imperative.

Trust is the foundation of a doctor-patient relationship

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Doctors are here for the larger good of the people and the need of the hour is to restore people’s faith in them

New Delhi, 17 January 2018: A recent survey has indicated that about 92% people do not trust the healthcare system in India. Hospitals appear to be the most distrusted followed by doctors, clinics, diagnostic labs, and others.

The key reasons given for the erosion of trust are a series of failure in the healthcare system, particularly the negligence by hospitals in the recent past. Lack of transparency also came out as the single biggest impediment to the healthcare system in India.

Delivering affordable health care to India’s billion plus people presents enormous challenges and opportunities for the medical fraternity. Political ideologies play a distinctive role in determining the health policies of our country. India made phenomenal economic gains in the last three decades, but has failed to improve the health status of its population on similar terms. This study then paints a very one-sided picture!

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “We are doctors, a fraternity that has been accorded the status of next to God since Vedic times. Medical profession is regarded as a noble profession and no other profession has been given a similar high status. ‘Doctors treat, but God heals’, is a well-known saying. The practice of medicine is becoming increasingly complex and time consuming. We are in pain. The profession is facing its worst period. Justice is being denied to doctors even within the framework of the constitution of India. Violence against doctors is increasing with alarming frequency all over the country; hospitals and medical establishments are ransacked. The risk of physical assault has created an atmosphere of fear among doctors. Doctors are being criminally prosecuted, suffer the indignity and trauma of an unlawful arrest even without being convicted of the negligence by a court of law. Is there a report to highlight the plight of doctors and the percentage of those who feel doctors are being misjudged? It is time to introspect!”

The doctor-patient trust in the country, which was already experiencing a downward spiral, has deteriorated further. Doctors do not have the intent to be the cause for public unrest or loss of public trust. People must also understand that to err is human and one incident does not mean that there will be more such cases in future too.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also Vice President, Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania, said, “Out of the four purposes of life: dharma, artha, kama and moksha, dharma is the most important. The literal meaning of dharma is to hold. God is the force with 100% dharma in his life. Dharma of a doctor is to treat and save the life of a person at any cost. It is time that the community supports us as we support them. We speak the loudest when we speak with one voice.”

“The medical profession is here to not benefit doctors, who have chosen this difficult route after years of study to give eternal happiness to families. Doctors forget all the hardships they go through when they see smiles come back on the faces of family members when their near and dear ones are healthy again. Our commitment leads us to provide service even when we are indisposed. It will be valid here to say that the medical profession is redundant without patients. Trust is the very foundation of a doctor-patient relationship and must be restored urgently.”

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