Timely preventive health checkups a must to avoid kidney diseases

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People with existing risk factors or health complications should be careful

New Delhi, 14 September 2018: As per a recent study, people with acute critical illness and no prior kidney disease have an increased risk of kidney complications and related mortality. Those who had experienced acute kidney illness were at an increased risk of renal complications, developing chronic kidney disease and then end-stage kidney disease, with septicemia and septic shock being the strongest risk factors. It is imperative to get kidney functions checked in a timely manner, especially in those with some pre-existing health conditions.

Chronic kidney disease or CKD is characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over time and may eventually lead to kidney failure, causing patients to undergo dialysis or a kidney transplant. The signs and symptoms are not noticeable until the disease is fairly well advanced and the condition has become severe. By this time, most of the damage is irreversible.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Kidneys help in filtering out the excess waste and fluid material from the blood. They can eliminate most of the waste materials that our body produces. However, when the blood flow to the kidneys is affected, they cannot work properly. This can happen due to some damage or disease. Problems can occur even when the urine outflow is obstructed. At an advanced stage of CKD, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes, and wastes can build up in the body. Those with underlying conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, abnormal kidney structure, and a family history of the disease are at more risk. Additionally, those who smoke and are obese can also be potential candidates for CKD over the longer term.”

Some symptoms of kidney disease include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue and weakness, sleep problems, decreased mental sharpness, muscle twitches and cramps, edema, persistent itching, chest pain, shortness of breath, and hypertension that is difficult to control. However, these can be confused with other ailments.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “If you have certain risk factors such as high BP or diabetes, it is important to be screened for kidney disease. That usually involves simple laboratory tests: a urine test to look for kidney damage, and a blood test to measure how well the kidneys are working. The urine test checks for a protein called albumin, which is not routinely detected when your kidneys are healthy. The blood test checks your GFR or the glomerular filtration rate, which is an estimate of filtering ability of your kidney. A GFR below 60 is a sign of chronic kidney disease. A GFR below 15 is described as kidney failure.”

Some Golden Rules to avoid or delay reaching the point of reaching kidney failure

  • Keep fit and active, as it helps reduce your blood pressure.
  • Monitor your blood pressure: It is also the most common cause of kidney damage. The normal blood pressure level is less than 120/80. A BP reading above 130/80 is high BP. Discuss the risks with your doctor and monitor your blood pressure level regularly. High blood pressure is especially likely to cause kidney damage when associated with other factors like diabetes, high cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Keep your blood sugar levels controls as about half of people who have diabetes develop kidney damage.
  • Eat healthy and keep your weight in check as this can help prevent diabetes, heart disease and other conditions associated with chronic kidney disease.
  • Reduce your salt intake. The recommended sodium intake is 5-6 g of salt per day (around a teaspoon).
  • Maintain a healthy fluid intake: Traditional wisdom has long suggested drinking 1.5 to 2 liters (3 to 4 pints) of water per day. Consuming plenty of fluid helps the kidneys clear sodium, urea and toxins from the body which, in turn, results in a “significantly lower risk” of developing chronic kidney disease.  But do not advocate “aggressive fluid loading”, which can cause side effects.
  • Do not smoke as it slows the flow of blood to the kidneys. Smoking also increases the risk of kidney cancer by about 50%.
  • Do not take over-the-counter pills on a regular basis: Drugs like ibuprofen are known to cause kidney damage, if taken regularly.

Antibiotic resistance rapidly spreading around the world

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These resistant bacteria can lead to severe infections and mortality in the long term

New Delhi, 04 September 2018: A superbug resistant to all known antibiotics is spreading undetected through hospital wards across the world, according to scientists. The bacteria, known as Staphylococcus epidermidis, is related to the better-known and more-deadly MRSA. Found naturally on human skin, it most commonly infects the elderly or patients who have had prosthetic materials implanted, such as catheters and joint replacements. The bacteria can cause “severe” infections or even death over time.

Many of the most powerful antibiotics are extremely expensive and even toxic, and the team behind the study said that the practice of using multiple drugs at once to prevent resistance may not be working. The World Health Organization (WHO) has long warned of antibiotic overuse sparking new strains of killer, drug-resistant bacteria.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Antibiotics are different from all other classes of drugs in a very important way: the more a person uses them, the less effective they can become. For a country like India, where over-prescription and misuse of antibiotics is rampant, it is only a matter of time before the resistant bacteria win. Several of these medicines can be obtained without a prescription. What further complicates the problem is inequalities in access to medicine and poor sanitation services. And when farmers use antibiotics to speed the growth of chickens and other livestock, drug-resistant germs find new ways to enter the environment.”

In 2017, the WHO classified antibiotics into three groups to address these challenges. The body also issued guidance for how each class of drugs should be used to treat 21 of the most common infections.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, “Doctors as well as patients should be aware of and advocate judicious use of antibiotics. Over-prescription and self-prescription, both, need to be checked. One of the biggest reasons for the misuse of antibiotics is buying them over-the-counter without consultation with a doctor. Before prescribing antibiotics, always ask yourself: Is it necessary? What is the most effective antibiotic? What is the most affordable antibiotic? What is the most effective dose? What is the most effective duration for which the antibiotic should be administered?”

The 25th MTNL Perfect Health Mela 2018 will be a platform to discuss some of these topics apart from other health-related subjects. The event will be held from the 24th to 28th of October at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium, New Delhi.

Some HCFI tips to combat antibiotic resistance.

  • Practice rational use of drugs antibiotics
  • Use when needed and according to guidelines
  • Avoid broad spectrum antibiotics without appropriate diagnosis
  • Prevent infections with the use of vaccination and by improving basic hygiene including hand hygiene and infection control techniques and sanitation in health care settings as well as in the community
  • Farmers and food industry must stop using antibiotics routinely to promote growth and prevent disease in healthy animals to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance.

Stroke can increase the likelihood of developing dementia

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About 15 million people around the world suffer from stroke annually New Delhi, 01 September 2018: People who have suffered a stroke are more likely to develop dementia, as per a recent study by the University of Exeter Medical School. The link between stroke and dementia was found to persist even after considering other dementia risk factors such as blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A history of stroke increases dementia risk by about 70%, and recent strokes more than double the risk. The WHO estimates indicate that globally there are about 15 million people who suffer from stroke annually. There are also 50 million people suffering from dementia. The number is expected to almost double every 20 years, reaching 131 million by 2050. Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India said, “Stroke or a cerebrovascular accident (CVA) results from a sudden blood loss to the brain or bleeding within the brain resulting in the impairment of neurological function. Obesity, smoking, hypertension, alcohol consumption, diabetes and family history are considered some of the common factors leading to a stroke. If t he answer to any of the following questions below is a yes, there’s a high probability that the person is having a stroke. Act FAST: Face — Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop? Arms — Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Speech — Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred? Does he or she fail to repeat the sentence correctly? and Time — If the answer to any of these questions is yes, time is important. Get to the hospital fast. Brain cells are dying.” Some warning signs of a stroke include weakness in an arm, hand, or leg; numbness on one side of the body; sudden loss of vision, particularly in one eye; sudden difficulty speaking; inability to comprehend; dizziness or loss of balance; and sudden, lasting, and excruciating headache. Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Stroke is one of major public health concerns worldwide, with the burden in India increasing at an alarming rate over the past few decades. There is an urgent need to address this condition and this can only be done through more effective public education among all demographic groups.” The 25th MTNL Perfect Health Mela to be held between 24th and 28th October 2018 at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium, New Delhi will provide people with an opportunity to know more about how to prevent a stroke, among other things. Some tips from HCFI to prevent a stroke

  • Control high blood pressure
  • Do moderate exercise 5 times a week
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet high in fruit vegetables and low in sodium
  • Reduce your cholesterol.
  • Maintain a healthy BMI or waist to hip ratio
  • Stop smoking and avoid second hand exposure
  • Reduce alcohol intake: for men two drinks a day and for women, one a day
  • Identify and treat atrial fibrillation
  • Reduce your risk from diabetes by controlling your blood sugar
  • Get educated about stroke

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