Leading bottled water brands are contaminated with plastic particles says study

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These can prove hazardous to human and animal health alike and cause a range of health complications.

New Delhi, 16th March 2018: A major study conducted across nine countries has indicated that the world’s leading brands of bottled water are contaminated with tiny plastic particles that are likely seeping in during the packaging process. The study found widespread contamination with plastic, an outcome of testing 250 bottles of water in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Thailand, and the United States.

Plastic was identified in 93% of the samples and the debris found included nylon, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polypropylene, which is used to make bottle caps.

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, “Bottled water means safety and convenience for people around the world. At a time when public health is a major area of concern, the fact that this source has also been found to be contaminated with plastic, is seriously alarming. Particle concentration ranging from zero to more than 10,000 likely plastic particles in a single bottle can mean extreme risk to human health over a period of time. From cancer to ADHD and lower sperm count to problems in newborns, the dangers are many – a situation that will need to be addressed at the earliest.”

Water bodies already suffer contamination, something that is eventually likely to seep down to humans through consumption of sea food or other sources. Single-use plastic bottles must be discarded immediately albeit safely.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “Bio-accumulation of plastic inside animals is one of the most dangerous outcomes of plastic pollution. Over many years, the accumulated plastic releases harmful chemicals, and breaks down into small pieces, causing extreme discomfort to the animals. After their death, the body might decompose, but the plastic fragments may remain as a threat to other animals – and humans as well.”

HCFI food for thought.

If just one human being switched to reusable bags for their entire lifetime, it would remove roughly 24 thousand plastic-based bags from our planet. Instead of using plastic water bottles, invest in a metal, reusable water container. Not only will that be safer for the environment but also sustainable for human health. Perhaps the best course of action individuals can take is to raise awareness. It is up to us to decide what kind of a world we wish to leave back for the future generations.

This women’s day, take a pledge to give them a health check-up

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Health issues often go unnoticed in women as they are not accorded much priority

New Delhi, 7th March 2018: HCFI wishes all women a very Happy International Women’s Day. While one single day is not enough to remind ourselves of the various roles that women play, it is certainly a day to focus on various aspects surrounding them – one of the primary things being their health. Health is usually put at the backburner in case of women – by them or their families – and any health conditions in them generally go unnoticed until it’s too late.

On International Women’s Day, it is imperative to spread awareness on the fact that women too are prone to serious health problems, which if diagnosed and treated at the right time can help in preventing further complications. Some such health issues in them include cancers of the breast and cervix, heart diseases, pregnancy complications, etc.

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, “This women’s day let us take a pledge to give every woman in our lives a health check-up. Women are not diagnosed or treated as aggressively as men. A classic example of this is the fact that even though more women than men die of heart disease each year, women receive only 33% of all angioplasties, stents and bypass surgeries; 28% of implantable defibrillators and 36% of open-heart surgeries, according to the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease. Women are an integral and indispensable part of any family and therefore, should receive equal attention and care.”

Metabolic syndrome — a combination of increased blood pressure, elevated blood glucose and triglycerides — has a greater impact on women than men. Mental stress and depression affect women’s hearts more. Smoking is much worse for women than men.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, “Ask all women who are older than 45 for a heart check-up. Make them aware of the need to get timely health check-ups at various stages of life. Ask all young women to do minimum of 60 to 90 minutes of moderate-to-intensity activity (brisk walking) on most, and preferably all, days of the week. Ask women to change their lifestyle to include weight control, increased physical activity, alcohol moderation, sodium restriction and an emphasis on eating fresh fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.”

Some other tips for women from HCFI.

  • Reduce your saturated fats intake to less than 7% of calories. Your diet should include oily fish at least twice a week as a source for omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Make sure you do not take hormone replacement therapy, selective estrogen receptor modulators, antioxidant supplements (vitamin E, C and beta-carotene) and folic acid for primary or secondary prevention of heart disease.
  • If you are 65 or older, ask your GP for routine low dose aspirin regardless of heart disease risk status. The upper dose of aspirin for high-risk women is 325 mg per day rather than 162 mg.
  • Reduce bad LDL cholesterol to less than 70 mg/dL in case you have a very high-risk of heart disease.

Women more at risk for thyroid disorders than men

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Sub-clinical hypothyroidism is a silent condition with no or mild symptoms

New Delhi, 24 February 2018: A recent report has revealed that about 32% Indians have abnormal thyroid levels and suffer from various thyroid disorders like thyroid nodules, hyperthyroidism, goiter, thyroiditis, and thyroid cancer. The report also indicates that sub-clinical hypothyroidism is a milder form of hypothyroidism. A silent condition, it affects more women than men and is the most prevalent form of thyroid disorder across the country.

Subclinical hypothyroidism is diagnosed when a person has: no symptoms or mild symptoms of hypothyroidism;a mildly high thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level; and a normal thyroxine (T4) level.

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, “Thyroid diseases are more common in women. They can cause many problems including weight gain and hormonal imbalances. Genetics have a major role to play in the determination of thyroid hormones and TSH concentrations, as also the susceptibility to autoimmune thyroid disease. Those with a family history of thyroid problems may be predisposed to thyroid abnormalities. It is, therefore, important to be aware of your family’s medical history and take precautions beforehand.”

Some common clinical features of hypothyroidism include depression and fatigue, hyperlipidemia and hyperhomocysteinemia, Goitre, coarse hair, cold intolerance, constipation and weight gain, hoarseness, hearing loss, Menorrhagia, slow return phase in knee reflexes, Bradycardia, and coronary artery disease or cardiac risk factors.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also Group Editor of IJCP, “The need of the hour is to reach out and create awareness among people about the causes, symptoms, treatment, and importance of testing for thyroid problems. This is particularly significant for women as the incidence of acquiring this disease is more in them. Pregnant women or those planning to conceive should get themselves checked to ensure that their thyroid functions are normal.”

Here are some tips for those living with thyroid disorders.

  • Hypothyroidism is linked to weight gain. Thus, a person with this condition can find it difficult to lose weight. Consume a diet rich in fibre and low in fat to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Although it may be difficult to get moving in those with a sluggish thyroid, it is a good idea to push yourself to do some physical activity.
  • Stress is known to exacerbate thyroid disorders. Do something to reduce those stress levels. It could be yoga, meditation, dance, or anything.

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