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

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India Comments Off

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

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

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.

Treat dental infections and badly aligned teeth to prevent oral cancer: HCFI

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

Non-smokers with poor oral hygiene have an equal risk of acquiring the condition

New Delhi, 11th May 2019: Statistics indicate that dental causative factors for mouth cancers are seen in about 4% to 5% oral cancer cases. While tobacco chewing and smoking remain the main cause of oral cancers, bad dental hygiene with sharp or broken teeth that irritate the internal area of the mouth are among the causes of mouth cancers in people who do not smoke or chew tobacco. The continuous chronic irritation of the skin inside the mouth or the tongue caused by such teeth may trigger cancer.

Estimates indicate that lip and oral cancer cases in India have more than doubled in the last six years. It is imperative to attend to bad dental hygiene, broken, sharp or irregularly aligned teeth immediately to prevent the condition.

Speaking about Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Use of tobacco can cause oral precancerous lesions such as oral submucous fibrosis, which can put the user at risk of developing oral cancer. Apart from this it can also predispose the user to other infections in the mouth. In India, the use of smokeless tobacco (SLT) remains the dominant cause of tobacco-attributable diseases, including cancer of the oral cavity (mouth), esophagus (food pipe) and pancreas. SLT not only causes adverse health effects but also accounts for a huge economic burden.”

Some other risk factors for oral cancer include a weakened immune system, a family history of oral or other types of cancer, being male, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, prolonged sun exposure, age, poor oral hygiene, poor diet or nutrition, etc.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Use of SLT mixed with areca nut is a common practice in India and as stated in the beginning, betel quid and gutka, the two most commonly used forms of SLT have areca nut as a common ingredient. Areca nut itself is classified as a class one carcinogenic, that is, having cancer-causing properties, besides other adverse health effects.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Do not use tobacco. If you are a user, take immediate steps to quit.
  • Consume alcohol in moderation
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun – use lip balms with SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Eat a healthy diet, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, while avoiding or limiting the intake of junk and processed food.
  • Try short-acting nicotine replacement therapy as things such as lozenges, nicotine gums, etc.
  • Identify the trigger situation, which makes you smoke. Have a plan in place to avoid these or get through them alternatively.
  • Chew on sugarless gum or hard candy, or munch raw carrots, celery, nuts or sunflower seeds instead of tobacco.
  • Get physically active. Short bursts of physical activity such as running up and down the stairs a few times can make a tobacco craving go away.

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