Wishing all our readers a happy and healthy Holi!

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Throw water over your inner demons and bring colors to your life on this day

New Delhi, 20 March 2019: The Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) wishes all its readers a very happy and harm-free Holi. On this day, let us all pledge to remove any impurities in our mind, share happiness with others, and forget all our individual differences. We should also take a pledge to not harm anyone in the process of playing Holi and be safe while also respecting others.

The practice of burning Holi a day before the festival symbolizes burning all your negative thoughts or emotions embedded in the mind and neutralize all the poison arising due to the negative feelings. As soon as the negativity is removed from the mind there is opening of the spiritual vision or the knowledge of the consciousness. Once this is done, only the positive thoughts remain, which is celebrated as sharing and loving each other, the next day.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “There are 5 obstacles to self-realization. Spreading love reduces anger as well as desires, detaches one from various attachments, reduces greed, and brings humility in a person. By burning one’s ego and other negative qualities, one also burns the ill feeling amongst each other and makes everybody a friend. During Holi, the practice therefore, is to visit and meet not only your friends but also those people to whom you are not friendly. The festival is an opportunity to spread brotherhood and happiness in the society. WHO defines health as not only the absence of disease but also a state of physical, mental, spiritual, social, and environmental wellbeing. Holi is thus a classic example or a custom to create ‘social health’ among people in the society. The habit of throwing water on each other also has a deep spiritual meaning – that of removing mental dirt leading to spiritual cleanliness.”

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The whole meaning is not to play Holi superficially or meet each other at a superficial level but to get rid of the negativity at the level of the mind as well. There is no point in celebrating Holi and meeting people unless you remove your negative thoughts about them from the mind. When you lovingly smear ‘gulal’ (coloured powder) on others, they reciprocate with doubled love and affection. Similarly, always think of good things about people. Express your positive thoughts about these friends loudly – not only in front of them but also in their absence. Don’t you think your heart will throb with pleasure when they reciprocate?”

Some tips for a safe Holi from HCFI

  • Use dental caps to protect teeth from staining.
  • Use sunglasses to keep eyes safe from the harmful chemicals of the colours.
  • Wear old and ragged clothes that may be discarded. Wear full-sleeved T-shirts or shirts and leggings that fully cover the legs. Wear socks. Brightly coloured and dark coloured clothes should be preferred. Use a hat, cap to protect the hair from being coloured with hard-to rinse dyes/colours.
  • Keep your eyes and lips tightly closed, when colour is being applied on you. Apply a thick layer of any oil on your body and hair till they glisten to make the skin slippery.  This will help wash off colours easily later on.
  • While washing off the colour, use lukewarm water and keep eyes and lips tightly closed.
  • If you venture out on the streets, avoid mob frenzy. Do not bump into the frenzied group of mob if you take to streets. Cross the road to the sidewalk across. Or, simply stay at a safe distance.
  • Discourage children to play Holi with eggs, mud or gutter water. Avoid use of abir as it has flakes of mica.
  • Stop children from forcibly applying colour on a hesitant neighbor. Don’t walk alone on the streets on the day of Holi.
  • Use only natural colour and water. Keep a big bucket of clean water handy for your children, so that they do not resort to gutter water and other unclean sources.

Women more prone to heart diseases and associated mortality

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Apart from lifestyle changes, it is imperative to consult a specialist in case of any warning signs

New Delhi, 7 March 2019: The Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) wishes all its women readers a very happy International Women’s Day. On this day, there is a need to spread awareness on the fact that heart diseases are the number one killer in women. They are often diagnosed late in women and statistics indicate that heart diseases cause 1 in 3 deaths each year in this segment of the population.

Women over 20 years of age without an established heart disease should undergo periodic cardiovascular risk assessment every three to five years. This will help identify any underlying heart condition or risk factors to help take action on time. The choice of a specific risk model for heart disease risk assessment should be individualized based on patient-specific characteristics (age, gender, ethnicity).

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women. More women die of heart disease than all the seven cancers known to occur in women. Unfortunately, the level of awareness of heart disease is much lower compared to cancer. Hence, women are not diagnosed or treated as aggressively as men. Some heart disease risk factors are unique to women, including postmenopausal status, prior hysterectomy, oral contraceptive use and pregnancy and its complications. Warning signs of a heart attack in women differ from those in men. Although the most common symptom of heart attack is chest pain or discomfort, women are more likely to have pain in the jaw, neck or back (between the shoulder blades), unexplained weakness or fatigue or they may present with symptoms like shortness of breath, cough, dizziness or nausea. This often results in misdiagnosis and delay in treatment.”

Heart disease in women has a worse prognosis. Women tend to develop heart disease about a decade later in life than men, but their outcomes are often worse than in men.

Adding further, Dr Vanita Arora, Director and Head of Cardiac Electrophysiology Lab and Arrhythmia Services, Max Hospital, New Delhi, said, “Women do not consult a doctor when they have a heart problem. Tachycardia is not treated in women and usually passed off as anxiety. It is important to note that electrical disorders of the heart are highly common in women. They often experience an increase in heart rate called palpitation (a condition compared with the galloping of a horse). An increase in the heart rate of more than 130 or 140 is dangerous and requires immediate attention.”

Some tips from HCFI

For all Women

  • Moderate intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes and for 60 to 90 minutes for weight management on most days of the week.
  • Avoidance and cessation of cigarette smoking and passive smoking
  • Keep waist circumference below 30 inches.
  • Take a heart-friendly diet. Include omega-3 fatty acids in diet.
  • Keep blood sugar, ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and blood pressure (BP) under control.
  • In women older than 65 years of age, daily aspirin may be considered in consultation with the doctor.
  • Women who smoke should avoid oral contraceptive pills.
  • Treat underlying depression.

Women at high risk

  • Aspirin 75 to 150 mg, as prevention
  • Control of high blood pressure
  • No use of antioxidant vitamin supplement
  • No use of folic acid support
  • No Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Lowering of LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol to less than 80

Stubble burning causes both loss of life and work revenue

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Air pollution needs to be combated with efforts at all levels

New Delhi, 5 March 2019: The burning of agricultural residue — a contributor to north India’s winter pollution — increases the risk of respiratory illnesses threefold for those who experience it. It may also be responsible for an annual $3 billion (approximately Rs 2 trillion) loss in terms of days of work lost in states affected by crop burning, according to a study by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

The research has found that living in an area where crop burning is practiced was a leading risk factor for respiratory disease in northern India. Whereas the total burden of diseases from air pollution declined between 1990 and 2016 due to efforts to reduce the burning of solid fuel for household use, outdoor air pollution increased by 16.6%.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Whenever we talk of air pollution, suspended particulate matter or PM as it is commonly referred to, is generally taken as representative of the level of pollution. In all there are eight air quality parameters, which are taken into consideration when the Air Quality Index (AQI) is calculated: Suspended particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), sulfur dioxide (SO2), ozone (O3), nitrogen oxides (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), ammonia (NH3) and lead (Pb). Particulate matter consists of a complex mixture of solid and liquid particles of organic and inorganic substances suspended in the air. It is mainly made up of sulfates, nitrates, ammonia, sodium chloride, black carbon, mineral dust and water and allergens (fragments of pollen or mold spores). When outdoor levels of particulate matter are high, their levels also increase indoors.”

According to the WHO, nine out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants and around 7 million people die every year from exposure to fine particles in polluted air.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The larger PM 10 particles can irritate the eyes, nose and throat. PM10 mainly affects the respiratory system and may precipitate an acute asthma attack and acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis or may cause other respiratory problems such as cough, wheeze. The fine and ultra-fine particles also affect the heart so they may trigger an acute cardiovascular event such as heart attack or stroke or atrial fibrillation as they increase the resting blood pressure due to sympathetic overactivity and cause endothelial dysfunction and thickening of the blood. PM 2.5 and PM 0.1 particles also have a greater association with increased mortality due to heart disease.”

Some tips from HCFI

·       Exercise well as it will help your lungs to function to their full potential. Do exercises that will make you breath fast to ensure healthy lungs.

·       Avoid smoking as it reduces lung function and is a major factor leading to COPD.

·       Eat healthy and food that is rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as fish and nuts for healthy lungs.

·       Avoid exposure to air pollution as it can damage the lungs and make it more prone to infections and diseases. Ensure that you dust furniture frequently and make your home a smoke-free zone.

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