Weather variations can affect and alter body functions: HCFI

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

Drinking adequate water and consumption of food according to the weather are imperative

New Delhi, 16th May 2019: Recent statistics indicate that between 2030 and 2050, weather extremes are expected to cause around 250,000 additional annual deaths from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress. Extreme heat can make a person feel hot and sweaty and further cause dehydration and heat stroke particularly in people at risk. This includes young children, people over 65 years of age, and those with pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

The need of the hour is to raise awareness on importance of drinking adequate water and staying out of the heat as much as possible. This can help in preventing dehydration and other heat-related problems.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “The early summer season or grishma ritu is hot and dry, while the later part of summer, when rains are on the horizon, is hot and moist. Rains are not usual in early summer in North India. However, this year, early summer has been marked by an unusually increased frequency of dust and thunderstorms, and rains. In Vedas, this is termed vikruti (vitiation) of ritu (season), when the weather forgets its dharma and behaves abnormally. When this happens, all body circadian rhythms also behave abnormally, and body functions are exaggerated. In such weather conditions, wind-sensitive individuals with no evidence of target organ damage can have accelerated hypertension. They are also sensitive to changes in atmospheric pressure.”

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Vitiation of vata (movement) leads to high blood pressure, arrhythmia; pitta (metabolism) increases metabolism and more acidity, while vitiated kapha (structure) may disrupt sugar profile. Any change in environment affects the functions of the body, something that is well-known in Vedic sciences. For instance, the current weather profile in Delhi can lead to the development of accelerated hypertension.”

The significance of a ‘medical vrata’ needs to be underlined for everyone during summer. The simpler version of ‘vrata’ can be: not eating carbohydrates at all once in a week and replacing them with fruits and vegetables.

Some summer tips from HCFI

  • Avoid prolonged exposure to sun when the temperature is high. Use an umbrella if you need to go out. Wear light cotton clothes to avoid heat absorption.
  • Make sure that you are properly hydrated before you step out in the heat. The water requirement in summer is 500 ml more than that in winter. Summer drinks should be refreshing and cool such as panna, khas khas, rose and lemon water, bel sharbat and sattu sharbat.
  • Any drink with more than 10% sugar becomes a soft drink and should be avoided. Ideally, the percentage of sugar, jaggery or khand should be 3%, also present in oral rehydration drinks.
  • A sign of adequate hydration is passing urine at least once in 8 hours. If you develop heat cramps, drink plenty of lemon water with sugar and salt.

Both active and passive smoking are major risk factors for hypertension: HCFI

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High blood pressure can lead to several health complications and even premature death

New Delhi, 15th May 2019: Recent research has suggested that passive smoking at home or work is linked with a 13% increased risk of hypertension. Living with a smoker after age 20 may be associated with a 15% greater risk. Exposure to passive smoking can lead to hypertension over time with men and women equally affected.

High blood pressure accounts for almost 10 million deaths around the world. The need of the hour is to raise awareness on the fact that smoking is a leading risk factor for this condition and therefore, it is imperative to quit the habit at the earliest. There is a need to stay away from secondhand smoke, and not just reduce exposure, to prevent hypertension.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Smoking can raise blood pressure by as much as 10 mmHg especially in susceptible individuals. The effect is most prominent with the first cigarette of the day in habitual smokers. High blood pressure imposes an up-front burden in people who know they have it and who are working to control it. Apart from adding to health woes, it alters what you eat and how active you are, since lifestyle changes are important in keeping blood pressure under check. Some people need medication and may need to take one or more pills a day, which can prove costly. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to heart attack or stroke, aneurysm, heart failure, organ malfunction, vision loss, metabolic syndrome and memory problems.”

Hypertension is defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140/90 mmHg. It generally doesn’t cause any outward signs or symptoms but silently damages blood vessels, and other organs.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “It is recommend for everyone to get an annual checkup after the age of 30 even in the absence of a no family history of hypertension, diabetes or heart disease.

The old saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ holds true today more than ever. To live above the age of 80, one needs to maintain ideal health parameters and lead an ideal lifestyle. The HCFI Formula of 80 describes certain preventive measures that can be undertaken.

  • Keep your lower BP, fasting sugar, waist circumference, resting heart rate and low- density lipoprotein LDL or the ‘bad’ cholesterol levels all <80.
  • Walk 80 minutes a day; brisk walk 80 minutes a week with a speed of 80 (at least) steps per minute.
  • Keep kidney and lung function more than 80%.
  • Eat less; not more than 80 g/80 mL of caloric food in one meal. Do not eat refined carbohydrates 80 days in a year.
  • Take vitamin D through sunlight 80 days in a year.
  • Do not drink alcohol and if you drink, take less than 80 mL of whiskey (80 proof 40% alcohol) in a day or less than 80 g (240 mL) of whiskey in a week.
  • Do 80 cycles of Pranayama in a day with a speed of 4 breaths/minute.
  • Do not smoke or be ready for heart surgery costing Rs. 80,000/-. Donate blood 80 times in a lifetime.
  • Avoid exposure to >80 dB of noise pollution.

Half of Indians unaware of their hypertension status and have not received a diagnosis

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The condition is a silent killer and damages other organs over time

New Delhi, 14th May 2019: According to a recent study, only 3 out of 4 individuals in India with hypertension have ever had their blood pressure measured. Only about 45% had been diagnosed, and only 8% of those surveyed had their blood pressure under control. More than half the number of Indians aged 15 to 49 years with hypertension were not aware of their hypertension status. The awareness level was lowest in Chhattisgarh (22.1%) and highest in Puducherry (80.5%).[1]

Hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of death in India. It is defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140/90 mmHg. Hypertension generally doesn’t cause any outward signs or symptoms but silently damages blood vessels, and other organs. There is a need to create awareness about the fact that hypertension is not a disease but a sign that something is wrong in the body.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “The prevalence of hypertension in Indian adults has shown a drastic increase in the past three decades in urban as well as rural areas. It is important to get an annual checkup done after the age of 30 even if you have no family history of hypertension, are not diabetic or don’t have any other lifestyle-related disorder. For those in the high-risk category, a checkup is advised every month. Hypertension can be prevented provided a person makes necessary lifestyle changes right at the outset. It is also imperative to spread the message of prevention and encourage people across various age groups to check their blood pressure at regular intervals.”

Some signs and symptoms of hypertension include dizziness, shortness of breath, headaches, fatigue, and sometimes chest pain, palpitations, and nosebleeds.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “High blood pressure imposes an up-front burden in people who know they have it and who are working to control it. It adds to worries about health. It alters what you eat and how active you are, since a low-sodium diet and exercise are important ways to help keep blood pressure in check. Some people need medication and may need to take one or more pills a day, which can be a costly hassle.”

Some tips from HCFI.

  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight for your height
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Limit sodium intake to under 2,300 milligrams a day (one teaspoon of salt) and get plenty of potassium (at least 4,700 mg per day) from fruits and vegetables
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all
  • Reduce stress
  • Monitor your blood pressure regularly, and work with your doctor to keep it in a healthy range

[1] Research published in PLOS Medicine, and carried out by researchers at the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Heidelberg Institute of Global Health, the University of Birmingham and the University of Gottingen.

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