Air pollution may lead to eye problems too

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

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.

Diabetes may double the risk of acquiring lifetime tuberculosis

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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.

Lack of sleep major cause for several lifestyle disorders including Type 2 diabetes and infertility

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

At least 6 to 7 hours of sleep are needed for optimal body functioning

New Delhi, 18 March 2019: More than 80% of those suffering from shift work sleep disorder are from the IT and BPO sector, according to recent estimates. This is because they work in the same shifts, disrupting their sleep pattern. Shift Work Sleep Disorder occurs when the body’s internal biological clock gets altered or confused. While there are many professionals who work at night, it is the employees of the IT sector who are the most affected, mainly due to the regular night shift patterns.

For those with this sleep disorder, the symptoms are like chronic jet lag. Irritability, anxiety and depression are among the symptoms. The hormonal cycle is messed up. We are noticing menstrual irregularities among women and infertility among men.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Majority of the Indian population remains unaware of the fact that common ailments such as obesity, depression, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease are all linked to an irregular sleep pattern. Sleep deprivation also is a key influencer of stressed relationships, decreased performance at school and work, accidental injuries, memory and cognitive impairment and a poor quality of life. It is thus essential that awareness be raised about good sleep habits and the importance of getting adequate sleep. The present generation is mostly found sleeping only for 3 to 5 hours in a day and then compensating their sleep requirements by sleeping for 14 hours on the weekends. This is extremely dangerous for their overall health. They also depend on caffeine and energy drinks to stay awake, which impact their overall cognitive ability.”

A recent study also indicates that people working irregular or rotating shifts with usual night shifts were 44% more likely to have Type 2 diabetes. In addition, compared to day workers, all shift workers were more likely to have Type 2 diabetes, except for permanent night shift workers.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The time has come for each one of us to be cautious about the impact our day to day actions have on our health and take necessary preventive measures. Sleeping well and on time is a harm reduction methodology as it can help avoid many diseases and health complications over time.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day — at the very least, on weekdays. If need be, use weekends to make up for lost sleep.
  • Create a sleep sanctuary. Reserve your bedroom for sleep and intimacy.
  • Banish the television, computer, smartphone or tablet, and other diversions you’re your bedroom
  • Taking a nap at the peak of sleepiness in the afternoon can help to supplement hours missed at night. But naps can also interfere with your ability to sleep at night and throw your sleep schedule into disarray.
  • If you need to nap, limit it to 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Avoid caffeine after noon and go light on alcohol. Caffeine can stay in your body for up to 12 hours. Alcohol can act as a sedative, but it also disturbs sleep.
  • Get regular exercise, but not within three hours of bedtime. Exercise acts as a short-term stimulant.

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