Most diabetics unaware of their condition: HCFI

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People with risk factors such as a family history of diabetes must take precautions at an early age

New Delhi, 21st May 2019: A large-scale population-based study has found that only half the Indian adults in the most productive age group (15-49 years) are aware that they suffer from diabetes. Only one-fourth of those diagnosed and treated have their blood sugar under control. In light of the poor level of awareness, treatment and control, the need of the hour is to focus on primary prevention and screening efforts. This will help reduce the burden and impact of diabetes in India.

According to the WHO, there are about 62 million people living with diabetes in India, a number that is projected to increase to 70 million by 2025. The ‘lifestyle disease’ is a massive public health obstacle for the second most populated country in the world. Diabetes can increase the risk of life-threatening complications including kidney damage and heart disease.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “A high-calorie diet rich in processed and junk food, obesity, and inactivity are some of the reasons for the increased number of younger people with diabetes in the country. Not getting checked in a timely manner and not following the doctor’s protocol further complicates matters for them, putting them 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.”

The symptoms of Type 2 diabetes develop slowly, over time. Some of them include increased thirst and hunger, frequent urination, weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, slow healing of infections and wounds, and skin darkening in certain areas.

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 help a youngster lose weight (if that is the issue) or help them make better eating choices.”

Our ancient rituals and traditions have given us a way out of this conundrum. They advocate the principles of ‘variety’ and ‘moderation’, that is, ieat a variety of foods, and in moderation.

They recommend including all seven colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue/purple, white) and six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent) for a balanced diet.

HCFI’s Formula of 80 to live up to the age of 80 without lifestyle disorders.

  • Keep lower BP, LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol levels, resting heart rate, fasting sugar and abdominal girth levels all less than 80.
  • Walk 80 minutes a day, brisk walk for 80 min a week with a speed of 80 steps (at least) per minute
  • Eat less and not more than 80 gm or ml of caloric food each meal.
  • Observe cereal fast 80 days in a year.
  • Do not smoke or be ready to shell out Rs. 80,000/- for treatment.
  • Do not drink alcohol; if you do, do not consume more than 80 ml per day for men (50% for women) or 80 grams per week. Ten grams of alcohol is present in 30 ml or 1 oz of 80 proof liquor.
  • If you are a heart patient, consider 80 mg aspirin and 80 mg atorvastatin a day.
  • Keep kidney and lung functions more than 80%.
  • Avoid exposure to PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels < 90 mcg/m3.
  • Avoid exposure to >80 dB of noise.
  • Take vitamin D through sunlight 80 days in a year.
  • Do 80 cycles of pranayama (parasympathetic breathing) in a day with a speed of 4 per minute.
  • Spend 80 minutes with yourself every day (relaxation, meditation, helping others etc.).

Hypertension during pregnancy can be detrimental to mother and baby: HCFI

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Awareness must be raised on preventive measures during and after pregnancy

New Delhi, 17th May 2019: National studies show that prevalence of hypertension among the Indian urban middle-class men and women is 32% and 30%, respectively. Factors such as family history, age, gender, diabetes mellitus, kidney disease, obesity, alcohol consumption, smoking, physical inactivity, and stress increase the risk. Despite this, not many people are aware of the condition or do not take preventive measures at an early stage.

Research indicates that women with high blood pressure, especially during pregnancy, are at a two-fold risk of heart failure post-delivery. The need of the hour is to monitor women before discharge and after giving birth, through the postpartum period.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Hypertension during pregnancy can be detrimental to both the mother and the baby. Women with high blood pressure can develop resistance in their blood vessels. This hampers the flow of blood throughout the body including the placenta and uterus leading to problems with fetal growth. It can also cause premature detachment of the placenta from the uterus, disruption in the flow of oxygen to the placenta leading to delayed fetal growth, or in worst cases even stillbirth. If not closely monitored before, during, and after childbirth, it may become a major cause of heart problems including heart failure in such women. Some other fatal repercussions of high blood pressure include pre-term birth, seizures, or even death of the mother and the baby.”

Heart failure, or peripartum cardiomyopathy, can occur up to five months after giving birth. Some symptoms of this condition include tiredness, shortness of breath, swollen ankles, swollen neck veins and feeling of missed heartbeats or palpitations.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “It is imperative for women diagnosed with hypertension to remain hospitalized for some time. Although the damage caused by peripartum cardiomyopathy to the heart is irreversible, it can still function with the help of some medications and treatment. In severe cases, a heart transplant may be recommended. Women must take steps to bring blood pressure under control from the time they wish to conceive, through certain lifestyle changes.”

Drugs such as beta-blockers can help reduce blood pressure. Diuretics are another class of drugs that help lower blood pressure by removing excess water and salt from the body. Some other treatment options include coronary artery bypass surgery and implantable cardioverter defibrillators.

Some tips to control and prevent high blood pressure from HCFI

  • Monitor your blood pressure before, during, and after pregnancy. Consume less salt as a high intake can raise blood pressure.
  • Be physically active even during pregnancy. Sedentary women are likely to gain more weight than required, which can increase the risk of hypertension.
  • Make sure you are not taking medication that can raise blood pressure levels. If you already have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about the steps that need to be followed.
  • Get regular prenatal checkups.
  • Tobacco and alcohol are not safe during pregnancy and must be avoided.

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.

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