Sugar-sweetened drinks increase risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome

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A review of epidemiological studies published online November 2 2017 in the Journal of the Endocrine Society has added to the growing evidence of the association of sugar sweetened beverages with chronic lifestyle disorders such as type 2 diabetes hypertension and heart disease. The review which examined the association of sugar sweetened beverages with type 2 diabetes metabolic syndrome and hypertension found that regularly drinking sugar sweetened beverages such as soda and juice contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Most of the studies included in the review found that consumption of sugar sweetened beverages also increased the risk of metabolic syndrome which in turn increased the risk of developing heart disease stroke and diabetes. The review included 36 studies on the cardiometabolic effects of sugar sweetened beverage consumption from the last 10 years. Most of the analyzed studies for metabolic syndrome included individuals who drank more than five sugar sweetened beverages a week while consuming as few as two servings of sugar sweetened beverages a week increased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Drinking at least one sugar sweetened beverage a day was associated with high blood pressure. These findings yet again highlight the need to educate the general public the young in particular about the adverse health effects of sugar sweetened beverages who frequently consume foods and drinks high in added sugars. It is very important therefore to raise awareness among the public about the lifestyle diseases prevalent in our country which are now occurring at a younger age and the lifestyle measure by which these disease can be prevented. Source Endocrine Society News Release November 2 2017

Optimum Noise levels for class room teaching

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Everyday exposure to noise over time has an impact upon our ability to hear and on the degree of hearing loss that develops. Continuous exposure to sounds above 85 db can cause progressive hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss is the most common and obvious outcome of noise pollution. It is also an important occupational health concern due to high workplace noise levels. However, noise pollution has also been associated with other health problems such as stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, increases heart rate, heart disease. It may manifest as disturbed sleep/ insomnia, headache, fatigue, irritability, loss of concentration and decreased work efficiency.

Noise levels are also an increasing concern in class rooms. The source of noise can be external such as street traffic, playground noise, airplanes, etc. The source of noise can be indoor, such as hallway noises, noise from other rooms etc. or noise within the classroom itself such as conversation, noise from fans, lights, paper, etc. Noise in a class room is not conducive to learning. Background noise in classroomsinterferes with auditory communication and adversely affects speech perception and speech recognition. It interferes with language and reading development and hampers academic performance. Attention and memory are also adversely affected.

Speech intelligibility or understanding is determined by the signal to noise ratio, which should be at least 15dB i.e. the teacher should speak at least 15 db louder than the noise in the classroom for the student to optimally comprehend what he/she is hearing. For clear speech perception the background noise levels should not exceed 35 dB in schools as recommended by the WHO. The reverberation time in the classroom should be about 0.6 sec. Reverberation time is the length of time required for sound to decay 60 db from its initial level in a room. A longer reverberation time together with background noise increases noise levels and makes speech perception even more difficult.

Hospitals are noisy and high stress work environment places.

Because of high background noise, such as in emergency dept. and OTs, the conversation has to be conducted at higher dbs for clear speech communication (normal conversation is between 60-70 db).

Noise can interfere with oral communication leading to mediation errors as a result of orders that are misunderstood.

A noisy environment affects performance of any complex task in a hospital as it reduces concentration. It has been shown that “mental activities requiring a lot of working memory, such as paying attention to a variety of different cues or performing a complex analysis, are especially noise-sensitive”. Failure to hear a warning signal or alarm over the general background noise in an ICU may have potentially catastrophic outcome.

Noise affects effectiveness of health care. Hence, hospitals too should have similar noise levels as educational institutes.

Schools and hospitals are “silence zones”. Silence zone is an area comprising not less than 100 m around hospitals, educational institutions, courts, religious places or any other area as per the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.

Every effort should be made to reduce noise levels in hospitals for optimum delivery of health care.

Air pollution increases risk of heart disease by lowering the good cholesterol

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Air pollution is a reality today and has been a subject of much discussion recently. Several studies have demonstrated the association of poor air quality with diseases such as respiratory and heart diseases, global warming making it a major public health problem of concern.

Yet another new study reported in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology has highlighted the increased risk of cardiovascular diseases due to traffic-related air pollution and proposed an explanation for the relationship between air pollution and cardiovascular disease.

The study says that traffic-related air pollution may increase risk of developing heart diseases via its effects on the good high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C).

The study involving more than 6000 middle-aged and older adults in the United States found that people who live in areas with high levels of air pollution, especially traffic-related air pollution, have lower levels of the good HDL-C. Over a period of one year, those with higher exposure to black carbon, emitted from vehicles, had considerably lower levels of HDL-C compared to those with lower exposure to black carbon. Higher particulate matter exposure over three months was associated with a lower HDL particle number. Compared to men, women had much lower levels of HDL-C.

Keep your total cholesterol lower than 160mg/dL. HDL is good cholesterol, keep it more than 40mg/dL. LDL is bad cholesterol and should be kept as low as possible; keep it lower than 80 mg/dL. A 1% rise in bad cholesterol increases the chances of heart attack by 2% and 1% reduction in good HDL-C reduces the chances of heart attack by 3%.

(Source: AHA news release, April 13, 2017)

Dr KK Aggarwal
National President IMA & HCFI

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