Increased exposure to perchlorate in pregnant women can hamper fetal brain development

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

Imperative to reduce exposure and increase consumption of iodine rich food

New Delhi, 09 December 2017: As per a recent study, expecting mothers, who are exposed to elevated levels of a common environmental pollutant, perchlorate, had lower levels of a thyroid hormone crucial for normal fetal brain development. It is important to minimize exposure to this chemical in pregnant women to prevent potential neurodevelopmental abnormalities in children. Perchlorate is a common environmental pollutant found in water, milk, some foods and everyday chemicals, including fertilizers and air bags.

Perchlorate is known to reduce absorption of iodine from the blood into the thyroid, where iodine is needed to make the thyroid hormone, T4. Since T4 is essential for normal fetal brain development, this suggests that perchlorate exposure could decrease maternal thyroid hormone levels, which may lead to brain development defects in babies.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement, said, “Manufactured perchlorate is used as an industrial chemical and can be found in rocket propellant, explosives, fireworks and road flares. Natural perchlorate is found in some drinking water and some foods. In addition, trace amounts of perchlorate may be used as a component in some food packaging. During the 1st trimester, a developing fetus is completely dependent on its mother for thyroid hormone. During the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, the fetus receives approximately 30% of its thyroid hormone from the mother. Any deficiency has an adverse effect on the fetus.Drinking water with 5 ppb perchlorate can reduce maternal thyroid to a level that causes abnormal fetal brain development.”

Newborns must produce thyroid hormone on their own because breast milk provides almost none. Infants also use up their thyroid hormone quickly and have very little in reserve. These factors make infants especially vulnerable to disruptions.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, said, “Iodine is a building block of thyroid hormone. Low iodine levels, and/or the gland’s inability to absorb iodine can prevent the thyroid from producing enough thyroid hormone, resulting in an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism. Babies of mothers who have hypothyroidism are at increased risk of cognitive and developmental problems, or, in more severe cases, cretinism and birth defects.”

The following are some good sources of iodine.

  • Most dairy products are iodine enriched. Two varieties of cheese that are rich in this mineral include Cheddar and Mozzarella.
  • Iodine is found in seafood. One of the richest sources is a seaweed called kelp.
  • Eggyolk is one of the safest and simplest sources of iodine.
  • Milk Studies indicate that every 250ml of milk has about 150 micrograms of iodine.
  • A single cup of yoghurt can meet half of the daily iodine requirement giving close to 70 micrograms of iodine. It is also good for the stomach and rich in calcium and protein.
  • Apart from the above food items, some others that are good sources of iodine include fruits like bananas, strawberries; vegetables such as green leafy vegetables, onions, and sweet potatoes; and grains, nuts and legumes like peanuts, barley, etc.

Type 2 diabetes can be more severe in younger people

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

This condition increases the risk of comorbid conditions by two to three times

New Delhi, 07 December 2017: A new study has indicated that Type-2 diabetes is more aggressive in younger people than in adults. The research has also indicated that the risk of complications in younger people with type-2 diabetes is two to three times higher than type-1 diabetes. It is alarming to note that one in every four (25.3%) people under 25 with diabetes in India has adult-onset type-2 diabetes. This condition should ideally strike only older adults with a family history of diabetes, obesity, unhealthy diets and inactivity.

Younger people with Type 2 diabetes do not need to be on insulin. However, they are at a greater risk of developing life-threatening complications such as kidney damage and heart problems than those who are dependent on insulin. The data indicates that about 56.1% of the registered young diabetics have been hospitalized at least once for acute diabetes-related complications. Additionally, 1 in 7 of them had at least one complication or “co-morbid” condition.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement, 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.”

A young person with Type 2 diabetes may have no symptoms. If there are some, these may be usually mild and in most cases, develop gradually and include thirst and frequent urination.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, 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, thereby lowering the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. This is truer for those with a genetic susceptibility to the condition. Operating as a team, a family, is much more likely to be successful.”

Here are some tips to manage Type 2 diabetes in young adults.

  • Maintain a healthy weight by exercising every day and consuming a healthy diet.
  • Get your blood glucose levels monitored at regular intervals.
  • Do not consume refined sugar in any form as this can get absorbed into the blood stream more easily and cause further complications.
  • Reduce stress through activities such as meditation and yoga.

Tobacco use and smoking can be discouraged with a more positive approach

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

These habits can cause, among other things, heart diseases and eventually death

New Delhi, 06 December 2017: Tobacco use among children and teenagers claims about one million lives in India, indicate statistics. There is also a huge economic burden among people due to tobacco use. One of the major causes for continued tobacco consumption in India is the fact that it is a part of the country’s social culture. However, a recent study has also indicated that there have been many benefits due to the large pictorial warnings on product packs, higher taxes and an intensive awareness campaign against tobacco consumption.

Tobacco use is associated with many adverse health effects and is a major preventable cause of morbidity and mortality. As per the CDC, smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times, for stroke by 2 to 4 times, lung cancer by about 25 times. In addition, it reduces quality of life, and increases health care utilization and cost.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement, said, “India has a ‘National Tobacco Control Programme’ in place to make the public aware about the harmful effects of tobacco use, control tobacco consumption and minimize the deaths. ‘Smoking kills’ has been the message that has been conveyed in the campaigns on tobacco control with the expectation that highlighting the potentially life-threatening health consequences would deter people from smoking or using tobacco products. It’s time to alter the tone of such public health campaigns, from negative to positive. Quite often, we may rebuke a patient for failing in his efforts to quit smoking and say, ‘If you do not quit, you may die’. A statement worded as this may inadvertently sound discouraging to the patient. While it is important that people know the dangers of smoking or using tobacco products, a positive communication approach may have a more fruitful impact than a critical approach.

Kids start to smoke before they’re old enough to think about the risks; after starting they rapidly become addicted to smoking and then regret it later.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, said, “The chances that a patient would adhere to the lifestyle modifications are higher if communicated in an empathetic and supportive manner. IMA is committed to working closely with all National Health Programs alongside the government. As individual doctors, we too can contribute to the success of National Tobacco Control Program. Counsel your patients who smoke about quitting smoking but with a difference… Turn a negative situation to a more positive action.”

Some tips to help such people cope with and quit the habit are as follows.

  • Avoid violent communication. Do not condemn, criticize and complaint, the 3Cs of violent communication.
  • Use a nonviolent communication approach to help and support your patient in his efforts to give up smoking.
  • Tell your patient, who is trying to quit smoking, or other tobacco products, “Thank you for not smoking”.
  • Appreciate the hard work put in and their perseverance. This way the patient knows that he has your support and will have trust and faith in you.

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