Non-communicable diseases a major burden in rural and urban areas alike

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

Alcohol and tobacco consumption and unhealthy lifestyles form the root cause

New Delhi, 29 January 2019: According to recent reports by the WHO, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) continue to be the top killers in the South-East Asia Region, claiming 8.5 million lives each year. The categories include cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases, as well as diabetes and cancer. These are collectively responsible for over 70% of all deaths worldwide, or 41 million people. These include 15 million people dying prematurely, aged between 30 and 69.

The WHO indicated tobacco use, unhealthy diet, insufficient physical activity and harmful use of alcohol as the modifiable risk factors for these diseases. The NCDs disproportionately affect the poor, impoverish families, and place a growing burden on health care systems. Containing the NCDs has been listed by the WHO as its health goal for this year along with reducing mortality related to air pollution and climate change, global influenza pandemic etc.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “NCDs are not only a health problem but also a development challenge in a country like India. Apart from forcing people into poverty, they also have a large impact on undercutting productivity. While non-communicable diseases have traditionally been thought of as affecting only the urban population, research indicates that there has been an increase in their prevalence in the tribal areas as well. This is largely due to an early epidemiologic transition. There is a lack of access to affordable and quality public health systems in these areas, which further exacerbates the situation. The need of the hour, therefore, is to strengthen the public health system in these areas and integrate the tribal medical system with modern systems of medicine for providing best possible care.”

According to the National Health Systems Resource Centre, there is an overall deficit of 20% sub-centres, 30% PHCs and 22% CHCs in ten major states with tribal populations.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The need of the hour is an urgently integrated action on health care to make it universally accessible and affordable at the same time. This will not only help address the health needs but also have a positive effect on poverty and growth levels. A strategy that makes citizens more competitive and act as an asset to the country’s growth is what is required at this juncture.”

Some tips from HCFI

·       Develop healthy habits including eating, sleeping, and exercising right.

·       Do not overdo anything. From drinking to using the cell phone, everything must be in moderation.

·       Follow ancient wisdom. Do Yoga and Meditation for your mental and spiritual wellbeing and maintain equilibrium. Allow your body to heal itself.

·       Get periodic check-ups done. Early detection of most health problems can help in correcting lifestyles to slow the degeneration process and lead a longer and healthier life.

·       Both active and passive smoking are harmful for the body.

·       Manage your blood cholesterol, blood pressure as well as blood sugar.

·       Maintain optimum body weight. Limit your salt intake.

Lifestyle changes can not only prevent cancer but also reduce medical bills over time

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine 2 Comments

Both affordability and quality of services hold importance

New Delhi, 23 January 2019: A new study now finds that cancer survivors carry a higher burden related to medical debt payments and bills compared with individuals without a cancer history. The greatest hardships are found in younger survivors. Medical financial hardship can encompass three domains: material (such as problems paying medical bills); psychological (for example, worrying about paying medical bills); and behavioral (which might include forgoing or delaying care because of cost).

When a patient seeks health care, he/she looks for availability, quality and affordability. Safety, desired outcome of treatment and respect are becoming more and more important to the patients today. Quality is always preferred but it may not always be feasible because quality care may increase the cost of treatment.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Although cancer has become an epidemic with a steep rise in its incidence, the irony is that cancer medicines are very expensive and beyond the reach of a common man. Thus, price control is very necessary to provide people with affordable cancer medicines. The government should also take adequate steps to ensure early diagnosis of cancer because it is a proven fact that early diagnosis can save many lives. There are four major types of clinical preventive care: immunizations, screening, behavioral counseling (lifestyle changes), and chemoprevention. This nomenclature is applied differently by some other disciplines.”

Cancer is the name given to a collection of related diseases that are caused when a group of abnormal cells begins to grow uncontrollably, often forming a tumor. Tumors can either be benign or malignant.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Under the light of these increasing prices, should we focus on affordability or should we focus on quality? Every hospital or health care establishment must try to improve and maximize quality within the resources that are available to them and with the best use of those resources. Poor quality service indicates poor utilization of resources. Both quality and affordability need to be balanced, especially in a country like ours, which has one of the highest out of expenditures on health in the world.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Pay attention to symptoms and get yourself checked regularly.
  • Using any type of tobacco puts a person at an increased risk of cancer. Avoiding or stopping the consumption of tobacco is one of the foremost steps in cancer prevention.
  • Filter tap water properly as this can reduce your exposure to possible carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals.
  • Get vaccinated on time and as per schedule. For example, the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine helps prevent most cervical cancers and several other kinds of cancer.
  • Drinking plenty of water and other liquids can help in reducing the risk of bladder cancer by diluting the concentration of cancer-causing agents in urine and helping to flush them through the bladder faster.
  • Most importantly, make lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants which can help ward off diseases.

Health sutras can inculcate healthy living habits in children

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

Lifestyle changes should begin in childhood itself

New Delhi, 8th December 2018: In an effort towards inculcating the importance of healthy living among school children, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) delivered an insightful talk on the 7th of December 2018 at the Universal Public School. He was invited as the Chief Guest at the Annual Day celebrations and spoke on the importance of health sutras for children.

Actor Inderpal Singh was also one of the special guests at the annual day celebrations at Universal Public School. Dr Aggarwal emphasized on how schools can be the hotbed for change – healthy change. Habits inculcated at this tender age can shape children into better individuals, both in body and mind.

Speaking at the annual day, Dr Aggarwal, said, “Sutra is a Sanskrit word, which literally means string or thread. But in the literary context, sutra is a concise i.e. using few words and meaningful expression of a truth. All vedic knowledge is in the form of Sutras. To put it simply, a sutra is a sentence or a statement, which has a complete meaning by itself. Every word in a sutra is non-deletable, every word is a chapter by itself. Schools are not just centers that impart formal education, but also influence the overall development of a child. To enjoy good health during adulthood, healthy lifestyle including hygiene habits must be inculcated during childhood. These will last all their lives. Moreover, children are naturally inquisitive and keen learners. So, they are both beneficiaries of any health-related activity and agents of change in their family. Health sutras must therefore be followed right from a young age.”

Sutras can be effectively used in health communication for dissemination of health messages as they are easy to remember. Credible health sutras convey scientific information in a simple language, making it easy for the patient as well as the public to understand and adopt in their daily life.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, said, “I often use sutras and formulas as a module to educate the general public about important health issues. These can create a big change in children and help them grow up to be healthier adults.”

Some health sutras

  • Any food of plant in origin does not contain cholesterol.
  • Any fat that is liquid at room temperature is saturated fat.
  • Any fat that is solid at room temperature is unsaturated fat.
  • One percent increases in cholesterol increases the chances of heart attack by 2%.
  • One percent increase in good HDL cholesterol decreases the chances of heart attack by 3%.
  • High BP, blood sugar and blood cholesterol can remain silent for up to a decade.
  • Longer the waist line, shorter the lifeline.
  • Even one whiff of cigarette, active or passive, is not health-friendly.

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