Learn to differentiate between seasonal flu and swine flu

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Mortality can be reduced or averted through timely precautionary measures

New Delhi, 7 February 2019: India has recorded an alarming spike in swine flu (H1N1) this year, with 6,701 cases and 226 deaths confirmed till February 3, compared to 798 cases and 68 deaths during the corresponding period in 2018. The sharpest spike was in the week ending February 3, which reported close to a third (2,101) of the total cases. Rajasthan alone confirmed 507 cases and 49 deaths in one week, followed by Delhi with 456 cases, shows data from across India. There have been no deaths in Delhi thus far.

Seasonal influenza, including H1N1, infects 3 to 5 million people worldwide and kills between 290,000 and 650,000 of them each year, estimates the World Health Organisation. In most cases, it causes symptoms of headache, fever, runny nose, cough and muscle pain, with people remaining undiagnosed and recovering within a week after using non-prescription medicines for fever and pain.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Despite the news abound of an increase in the number of swine flu cases, it is imperative that people do not panic. If adequate preventive measures are taken at the right time, there are less chances of mortality. Patients who have fever with coryza, that is, inflammation of the mucous membrane, and breathlessness should be kept in isolation and investigated for influenza. It is important that everyone takes vaccine for ordinary influenza. It will not prevent swine flu but will reduce its severity. Flu is usually caused by influenza viruses A and B. The strains vary each year. One may often confuse flu with a common cold as the symptoms are very similar. It is imperative to get a shot of the flu vaccine every year to prevent any incidence particularly in children, pregnant women, and older citizens.”

As viruses adapt and change, so do those contained within the vaccines – what is included in them is based on international surveillance and scientists’ calculations about which virus types and strains will circulate in a given year.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Flu is primarily treated with rest and fluid intake to allow the body to fight the infection on its own. Paracetamol may help cure the symptoms but NSAIDs should be avoided. An annual vaccine can help prevent the flu and limit its complications.”

Here are some tips to prevent spreading of seasonal flu.

·     Those who are not sick should avoid close contact with people who are sick.

·     People with flu should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

·     Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

·     Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

·     Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Hypertension likely to affect one-third of the population by 2020

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Hypertension likely to affect one-third of the population by 2020

Inactivity and unhealthy food patterns can complicate the situation

New Delhi, 21st December 2018: Exercise might be as effective as blood pressure medications in lowering systolic blood pressure below 140 mm Hg, indicates a recent study. An exercise regimen could reduce the need for blood pressure lowering medications in the future. he systolic blood pressure is the pressure exerted by the heart while pumping blood out of the heart by contraction of the heart muscles. It represents the top value in a blood pressure reading.

Hypertension is defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140/90 mmHg. It is emerging as one of the major lifestyle disorders today. As per estimates, about one-third of the Indian population will suffer from the condition by 2020. Current studies put the prevalence of hypertension at 20% to 40% in urban areas and 12% to 17% in rural areas.

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

Exposure to environmental toxins can cause heart diseases in the longerterm

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Heart disease is emerging as the number one killer in India

New Delhi, 31 August 2018: Exposure to environmental toxic metals such as arsenic, lead, copper and cadmium are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease, as per recent research. Exposure to arsenic was found to be significantly associated with a 23% greater relative risk of coronary heart disease and a 30% greater relative risk of composite cardiovascular disease.

Estimates indicate that India will soon have the highest number of heart disease cases in the world. About 50% of all heart attacks in Indians occur under 50 years of age and 25% in Indians under 40 years of age. Population living in the cities is three times more prone to heart attacks than people living in villages.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Heart disease and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and stroke are steadily on the rise and will soon take epidemic proportions. The urban population is three times more likely to have heart attacks than those living in rural areas. The reason for this can be attributed to stress, aberrant lifestyle, and hectic schedules that leave very little or no time for physical activity. In recent times, healthy looking adults present with cases of cardiac arrest, stroke and hypertension or were at risk of developing any of these disease at any point in their lives.”

Almost 80% to 90% of premature deaths that occur due to these NCDs in the country are preventable through regular screening, timely medical intervention, and proper disease management. Women especially need extra attention as the symptoms they present maybe entirely different to that of men.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, “There is a very small percentage of participant with favorable factors for not getting heart problems. This reiterates the need to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle to have a healthy heart and this should begin early on in life. As doctors, it falls upon us to educate our patients and make them aware of ways to live a healthy lifestyle to reduce the burden of disease in older age. I teach my patients the Formula of 80 to live up to the age of 80 years.”

Heart disease will be one of the primary points of discussion at the 25th MTNL Perfect Health Mela to be held between 24th and 28th October 2018 at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium, New Delhi.

Formula of 80 to live up to 80

  • Keep lower blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) ‘bad’ cholesterol, fasting sugar, resting heart rate and abdominal girth all below 80.
  • Keep kidney and lung functions >80%.
  • Engage in recommended amounts of physical activity (minimum 80 min of moderately strenuous exercise per week). Walk 80 min a day, brisk walk 80 min/week with a speed of at least 80 steps per min.
  • Eat less and not >80 gm or mL of caloric food each meal.
  • Take 80 mg atorvastatin for prevention, when prescribed.
  • Keep noise levels below 80 dB.
  • Keep particulate matter PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels below 80 mcg per cubic meter.
  • Achieve 80% of target heart rate when doing heart conditioning exercise

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