Physical activity essential to ward off potential diseases

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

Studies indicate that about 52% Indians are physically inactive

New Delhi, 30th October 2018: A recent study has indicated that sedentary lifestyle is worse for one’s health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease. While it is common knowledge that physical inactivity is a leading cause of disease and disability, the study emphasizes the extent to which it can impact health. There is an increased risk associated with poor cardiorespiratory fitness which is comparable to or even exceeded that of traditional clinical risk factors such as smoking, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Recently, another study published in The Lancet found that 4 out of 10 Indians were not sufficiently active. Some studies have even said that 52% of Indians are physically inactive.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Lack of exercise affects the human body right up to the cellular level. Modern and advanced technology has certainly made life easy and convenient for us – online shopping, online payments, accessing information, etc., all of which can be done from the comfort of our homes. But, has technology really made our life better? What it has also done is change our lifestyle pattern at the cost of health; we are less physically active now – sitting at a desk for a long time working on the computer, using social media on smartphones, watching TV or sitting in a meeting, all these activities promote sedentary behavior.”

‘Exercise’ is not synonymous with ‘physical activity’. The former is planned, structured and repetitive while any other physical activity that is done during leisure time, for transport to get to and from places, or as part of a person’s work, also has a health benefit (WHO Fact Sheet, February 2017).

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Walking is the best form of exercise, which requires no investment, no special training. Walking in natural environments such as parks also reduces mental stress and fatigue and improve mood via the release of the ‘feel good’ endorphins. This proximity to nature also helps in the inward spiritual journey and shifts one from the sympathetic to parasympathetic mode manifested by lowering of blood pressure and pulse rate.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Take the stairs as often as possible.
  • Get off the bus one stop early and walk the rest of the way.
  • Have “walk-meetings” instead of “sit-in” meetings.
  • Walk to the nearby shops instead of driving.
  • Stand up and walk while talking on the phone.
  • Walk down to speak to your colleague instead of using the intercom/phone.
  • Walk around your building for a break during the work day or during lunch.
  • Buy a pedometer.
  • Walk 80 minutes each day; brisk walk 80 minutes a week with a speed of 80 steps per minute.

Lack of physical activity can hasten diabetes symptoms

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

Healthy eating and the importance of exercise must be inculcated right at the outset

New Delhi, 07 August 2018: Just two weeks of physical inactivity can increase diabetes symptoms in vulnerable patients, reports a new study. The study found that during the periods of physical inactivity, there was a reduction in skeletal muscle mass, strength and rapid onset of insulin resistance, a common characteristic of Type 2 diabetes. Overweight older adults are at an increased risk.

India currently represents 49% of the world’s diabetes burden, with an estimated 72 million cases in 2017, a figure expected to almost double to 134 million by 2025.[1]Due to a lack of awareness of diabetes symptoms and risk factors compared to those in higher socio-economic groups, the poor have greater difficulty managing the disease.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Type 2 diabetes is typically brought on by poor eating habits, too much weight and too little exercise.A condition such as this causes reduced productivity, increased absenteeism in working population and gives more room for complications to arise.Not getting checked in a timely manner and not following the doctor’s protocol can further exacerbate matters, putting people at a risk of acquiring comorbid conditions at a relatively younger age. There is also a belief that because young people with Type 2 diabetes do not need insulin, it is not as sinister as it seems. However, this is a false notion. This condition requires immediate treatment and management.”

Diabetes affects the body’s ability to produce insulin or of cells to respond properly to insulin production is affected, further leading to an increase in blood sugar levels.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-chief of IJCP, said, “Small and gradual changes can be made in the family so that no one is left out. This will also be encouraging for youngsters with adults setting examples for a healthy lifestyle. Such changes can also help people in losing weight and make better eating choices. This is truer for those with a genetic susceptibility to the condition. Operating as a team, a family, is much more likely to be successful.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Exercise has various benefits including preventing weight gain, controlling blood sugar levels, and other conditions. A minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity every day is very beneficial.
  • A diet rich in whole grain, fruits, and vegetables is very good for the body. Fibrous food will ensure that you feel fuller for a longer period and prevent any cravings. Avoid processed and refined food as much as possible.
  • Too much alcohol leads to weight gain and can increase your blood pressure and triglyceride levels. Men should limit drinks to two per day and women to one per day. Smokers are twice as likely to develop diabetes as non-smokers and therefore, it is a good idea to quit this habit.
  • Understand your risk factors. Doing so can help you in taking preventive measures at the earliest and avoid complications.

Avoid heating food in plastic containers in a microwave

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Social Health Community Comments Off

Hazardous chemicals in plastic containers can leach out to the bloodstream upon heating

New Delhi, 09 May 2018: Food microwaved in plastic containers can put you at greater risk of infertility, diabetes, obesity, and cancer, as per recent studies. Heating plastic containers in the microwave releases 95% of all chemicals, which could lead to high blood pressure, affect fertility, and damage functioning of the brain. It is important, therefore, to try and minimize the use of plastic and pack food in glass containers.

The most hazardous chemicals in plastic containers are bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, and phthalate. When ingested, they get into the bloodstream and may lead to a series of problems like infertility, hormonal changes, changes in gender traits and even different types of cancers.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI), said, “When food is heated in plastic containers in a microwave, the heat transfers the chemicals in plastic very effectively into the food. Indirect consumption of these chemicals can wreak havoc on the system. BPA and phthalates are believed to be ‘endocrine disrupters’, substances that mimic human hormones, and not essentially healthy for the system. ‘Microwave-safe’ labelling on a container indicates that they won’t melt or break when heated. However, they do not guarantee safety for health.”

If microwaving food in plastics is unavoidable, then consider the recycling codes at the bottom of the container. These indicate the type of plastic used. It is better to avoid any that have the code 3 or 7.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “Endocrine disruptors are capable of interfering with the way our glands produce hormones that govern virtually everything our bodies do. This includes the way we reproduce, grow, sleep, heal, develop mentally and burn energy. They disrupt this system, and upon reaching the receptors, they either block or mimic the hormonal messages, triggering abnormal responses.”

HCFI tips for using the microwave.

If you’re concerned about plastic wraps or containers in the microwave, transfer food to glass or ceramic containers labeled for use in microwave ovens.
Don’t let plastic wrap touch food during microwaving because it may melt. Wax paper, kitchen parchment paper, white paper towels, or a domed container that fits over a plate or bowl are better alternatives.
Most takeout containers, water bottles, and plastic tubs or jars made to hold margarine, yogurt, whipped topping, and foods such as cream cheese, mayonnaise, and mustard are not microwave-safe.
Microwavable takeout dinner trays are formulated for one-time use only and will say so on the package.
Old, scratched, or cracked containers, or those that have been microwaved many times, may leach out more plasticizers.
Don’t microwave plastic storage bags or plastic bags from the grocery store.
Before microwaving food, be sure to vent the container: leave the lid ajar, or lift the edge of the cover.

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