Long-term use of topical steroid creams can be detrimental for the skin

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Over-the-counter purchase and use of creams must be avoided

New Delhi, 18th April 2018: Uninformed application of anti-fungal creams, and technologies like hair transplant have become serious public health issues. A particular area of concern is the use of fairness creams. Many of the beauty creams available over the counter or at beauty salons contain steroids. The need of the hour is to create awareness that their long-term use may lead to a condition called ‘topical steroid-damaged face’.

Overuse of creams also leads to something called ‘steroid addiction syndrome’ wherein a person finds it difficult to stop its use. Such blatant abuse of products damages natural complexion and makes the skin lose its usual thickness, eventually leading to skin ageing.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI),said, “Many people take recourse to creams available over the counter for fungal infections. This can cause more damage as there is a lack of awareness about their side effects. The fact that such creams give fast results is what makes them opt for it, with some people even using them for months or even years. A dermatologist, on the other hand, only prescribes them for a fixed duration beyond which it is advisable to not use these creams and medications, unless advised. Many creams should be brought under Schedule H drugs. There is also a need to impose some amount of censorship on advertisements which claim that the use of certain creams lightens the skin.”

Some typical features of topical steroid overuse and withdrawal include burning, stinging, and bright red skin. These may either occur within few days of use or over a period of few weeks.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “It is important to stop the use of topical steroids, only under the supervision of a doctor. Although there isn’t any one treatment, certain home remedies and medication can help in relieving the itching that may persist once the steroid is withdrawn. Some examples include ice and cool compresses, ointments and balms, and oatmeal baths.”

Some other tips from HCFI to relieve pain and itch for those with this condition.

  • Select a detergent that will not irritated the skin. It is also recommended to cycle your washing machine with vinegar or bleach to prevent bacteria from growing.
  • Wear clothes that are made of 100% cotton fabric.
  • Use soft towels and blankets that do not rub against the skin and irritate the rashes further.
  • Keep your skin cool and avoid hot environments till the allergy subsides.
  • Avoid food and environmental triggers that may cause the rashes to flare up.

Be aware of what you are consuming to avoid

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Smoking can greatly increase the risk of this condition

New Delhi, 13th April 2018: Certain iron supplements may influence the development of colon cancer as per a recent study. It concludes that both ferric citrate and ferric EDTA, found in supplements, cause an increase in cellular levels of amphiregulin, a biomarker for cancer, even in low doses.Most supplements are only marked as ‘iron’ or ‘iron mineral’. It is important to be aware of what one is consuming.

With respect to incidence and mortality rates, in the Indian scenario, colorectal cancer stands fourth in men and third in women. The fact that about 25% to 30% of Indians are vegetarian offers some protection against cancer.

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, “Your diet, weight, and level of physical activity can have a direct implication on your risk of developing colorectal cancer. History of adenomatous polyps (adenomas), especially if they are large, increase the risk of cancer. If you have had colorectal cancer, even though it has been completely removed, you are more likely to develop new cancers in other areas of the colon and rectum. The chances of this happening are greater if you had your first colorectal cancer when you were younger. Though the no. 1 cancer in women in urban areas is breast cancer and in rural areas is cancer of the cervix, the cancer of the rectum is on the rise as well.”

Some common symptoms of colon cancer include blood in stools, change in bowel habits, abdominal or rectal pain, constant or frequent urge to have bowel movements, weakness, and decreased appetite.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “The choice of treatment for colorectal cancer depends on the stage of the disease, that is, how large the tumor has grown, how deeply it has invaded the layers of the colon or rectum, and whether it has spread to other organs like liver, lungs or some other parts of the body.S urgery or chemotherapy may be recommended only when the disease has advanced. However, prevention is always better than cure. Those with known risk factors or a family history of this condition should definitely take preventive measures at the earliest.”

Some tips from HCFI to prevent colon cancer.

Certain lifestyle modification can help prevent or decrease the chances of getting colorectal cancer.

  • Consume healthy food and a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Avoid or limit intake of fat, processed meat
  • Quit smoking and drinking; avoid too much of caffeine and keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water.
  • Keep yourself active physically and exercise for at least 30 minutes every day.

Risk of cardiovascular complications are more in postmenopausal women

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Women should not ignore common symptoms, particularly palpitations

New Delhi, 12th April 2018: Menopause can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, according to a recent study. The transition to menopause in women is marked by other health effects as well, including hot flashes and depression to vascular aging, which is typically seen as artery stiffening and endothelial dysfunction. As the estrogen levels fluctuate and decline during this time, it becomes imperative to monitor vitals parameters in women.

More than one in three female adults has some form of cardiovascular disease.  An overall increase in heart attacks among women is seen about 10 years after menopause. Heart disease is the leading killer in women although it is traditionally thought to be a man’s problem.

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, “The hormone estrogen helps to protect different parts of a woman’s body, including the heart and blood vessels. A low level of estrogen before menopause is a significant risk factor for developing microvascular disease. Though women will often have some chest pain or discomfort, it may not be the most prominent symptom. Diffuse plaques build-up and diseased smaller arteries are two reasons why symptoms can be different in women. Some women who are going through menopause may be more aware of their heart beating (palpitations). In such cases, it is important to get a check up at the earliest to rule out any possibilities.”

In addition to chest pain, pressure or discomfort, signs and symptoms of heart attack in women include neck, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, sweating, light-headedness or dizziness and unusual fatigue.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “Women should take care of their heart through regular exercise and good nutrition and by eliminating unhealthy habits like smoking, which may contribute to early menopause, increase the risk of blood clots, decrease the flexibility of arteries and lower the levels of HDL cholesterol.”

HCFI tips for all women

  • Moderate intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes and for 60 to 90 minutes for weight management on most days of the week.
  • Avoidance and cessation of cigarette smoking and passive smoking
  • Keep waist circumference below 30 inches.
  • Take a heart-friendly diet. Include omega-3 fatty acids in diet.
  • Keep blood sugar, ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and blood pressure (BP) under control.
  • In women older than 65 years of age, daily aspirin may be considered in consultation with the doctor.
  • Women who smoke should avoid oral contraceptive pills.
  • Treat underlying depression.

For women at high risk

  • Aspirin 75 to 150 mg, as prevention
  • Control of high blood pressure.
  • No use of antioxidant vitamin supplement.
  • No use of folic acid support.
  • No Hormone Replacement Therapy.
  • Lowering of LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol to less than 80.

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