Increase in the incidence of gout among young Indians in their 30s and 40s

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

Imperative to avoid triggers such as junk food and alcohol

New Delhi, 15 May 2018: According to a study, the incidence of gout has been increasing worldwide over the past 50 years. In India, the disease is affecting a growing number of younger people as well. Although it can affect people of any age, there are an increasing number of people in their 30s and 40s being diagnosed with this condition. There is a need to create awareness on the fact that prevention is the best way to avoid gout.

Gout is an inflammatory form of arthritis which occurs due to a build-up of uric acid crystals—an excess of which is called hyperuricemia—in the blood. It is possible to have elevated levels of uric acid (higher than 6 mg/dl, which is the norm) without developing gout, but when this excessive uric acid is deposited in a single joint, it results in gout pain.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Gout can affect any joint. However, some common sites of uric acid build up include the big toe, the finger joints, the ankles or the knees. This results in intense and chronic pain. Uric acid is a waste product that should be excreted by the kidneys failing which it can lead to a build-up in the bloodstream. Although in few cases, gout is genetic, it can also result from a diet high in protein, frequent alcohol consumption and regular intake of fast foods. These habits can also increase a person’s risk of developing this condition, especially if they are predisposed to it. Often, pain related to gout occurs without warning and can escalate substantially over time.”

The characteristic signs of gout include sudden onset of joint pain and swelling, heat in the affected area, and joint redness.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “Cherry intake during a two-day period is associated with a 35% lower risk for gout attacks and that cherry extract intake with a 45% lower risk. Risk for gout attacks was reduced by 75% when cherry intake was combined with allopurinol use. Cherries may decrease serum uric acid levels by increasing glomerular filtration or reducing tubular reabsorption. The fruit and its extract contain high levels of anthocyanins, which possess anti-inflammatory properties.”

Some tips from HCFI.

Keep uric acid levels below 6 mg/dl to prevent any other health issues.
Drink plenty of water to excrete excess uric acid to avoid kidney stones from forming
Keep a strict tab on blood sugar levels.
Cut out sugar and sugary drinks, canned and tinned foods, Indian sweets, and junk food that contain trans fats and cholesterol.
Increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain-based foods.

Wishing a Happy International Nurses Day to all in the profession

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

Need to provide better opportunities and career progression for nurses in India

New Delhi, 12th May 2018: The Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) wishes all those in the nursing profession a very happy International Nurses Day. May 12th is celebrated as International Nurses Day every year on the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale – one of the world’s most famous nurses. The theme for this year is Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Health is a Human Right.

Several aspects of medical care require trained individuals such as nurses. But, despite being a noble profession, nursing seems to be dying in India. This is perhaps due to a perceived lack of career advancement in the profession. As a result, the country currently faces a shortage of nearly 4 million nurses.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “The theme this year is apt as Florence Nightingale was a leader in the profession and is regarded as the founder of modern nursing. Through her committed and compassionate approach she exemplified patient care for nurses. Not just on one day, but it is important to celebrate and recognize the hard work and contribution nurses make to health sectors all around the world. Nurses are often the first healthcare professional to come into contact with patients. They play a significant role in increasing life expectancy and reducing child and maternal mortality in both urban as well as rural India. The complexity of medical and healthcare practices today demands that nurses are fully involved in the planning, implementation, research and evaluation that goes into the successful delivery of patient care.”

As per the MCI code of ethics, physicians should recognize and promote the practice of nursing as a profession and work in tandem with nurses whenever there is a need.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, “The National Health Policy, 2017 envisages innovation in nursing and other similar professions. With Indian nurses taking on greater local, national and international roles, there is also a need to ensure that they are able to get adequate professional development opportunities. Human resource policies in our country also need to be modified accordingly with increased involvement of nurses in policy development.”

HCFI Facts about nursing

• The 1st nursing school was established in India in 250 B.C.
•Nursing has been consistently named as one of the most trusting professions.
• There are over 100 nursing specialties to choose from such as Advanced Practice nursing, Clinical nursing, Community health nursing, Surgical nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner, Geriatric nursing and Maternal-Child nursing.
• General nursing practices are universal all over the world.
• Nurses walk 4 miles (6.5 km) a day on an average.
• Nursing students make up more than half of all health profession students.

Alcohol consumption can increase the risk of atrial fibrillation

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

Lifestyle changes made at a younger age can improve heart health

New Delhi, 2nd May 2018: A new study has warned that smoking and alcohol consumption increase the lifetime risk of a rapid and irregular heart rate, called atrial fibrillation. This can further lead to a stroke, dementia, heart failure, and other complications. It is important for people to be aware of atrial fibrillation especially because it is emerging as a global epidemic and poses considerable socioeconomic burden.

Under normal conditions, the heart contracts and relaxes to a regular beat. In atrial fibrillation, the upper chambers of the heart (the atria) beat irregularly (quiver) instead of beating effectively to move blood into the ventricles.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India, said, “The process starting from receipt of blood in the atria till the end of pumping blood out of the ventricles is very well orchestrated and bought about by the electrical circuits encompassing the heart. Any lack of coordination in these events can lead to rhythm disturbances of the heart, and atrial fibrillation is one such rhythm disturbance. The risk is more in those who consume alcohol in plenty. In this condition, the atrial chambers contract irregularly at a rate of 400 to 600 times per minute. There is an impaired filling of the ventricles and stasis of blood in the cardiac chamber mainly in the left atria leading to clot formation. This clot can dislodge from the cardiac chamber and migrate to peripheral organs mainly the brain causing stroke.”

Some symptoms of atrial fibrillation include racing or pounding heart, excessive anxiety, sense of breathlessness, fatigue, lightheadedness, and syncope.

Over 40% of people who drink consume ≥5 standard drinks on a single occasion (binge drinking). “Holiday heart syndrome” is a common emergency department presentation, with AF precipitated by alcohol in 35% to 62% of cases.

Three large meta-analyses have demonstrated that moderate habitual consumption increases the incidence of AF in a dose-dependent manner  with men and women equally affected. Alcohol consumption has been defined as: light (<7 standard drinks/week); moderate (7 to 21 standard drinks/week); and heavy (>21 standard drinks/week), where 1 standard drink is approximately 12 g of alcohol or 40 ml whisky.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “As with other conditions, the best way to manage your heart health is to make sure you see your doctor regularly and reduce the risks. Lifestyle changes made at a younger age can go a long way in preventing any damage to the heart. It is imperative to inculcate such habits right from the childhood. Elders can set an appropriate example by eating, drinking, and living healthy.”

Some tips from HCFI.

  • Quit smoking and drinking as they are two major factors in causing damage to the heart.
  • Manage your cholesterol levels as any imbalance in this can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
  • Keep a check on vitals such as blood pressure and blood sugar. Any fluctuations in these can directly impact the heart in the longer term.
  • Ensure that you get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a variety of healthy food including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

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