Half of Indians unaware of their hypertension status and have not received a diagnosis

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

The condition is a silent killer and damages other organs over time

New Delhi, 14th May 2019: According to a recent study, only 3 out of 4 individuals in India with hypertension have ever had their blood pressure measured. Only about 45% had been diagnosed, and only 8% of those surveyed had their blood pressure under control. More than half the number of Indians aged 15 to 49 years with hypertension were not aware of their hypertension status. The awareness level was lowest in Chhattisgarh (22.1%) and highest in Puducherry (80.5%).[1]

Hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of death in India. It is defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140/90 mmHg. Hypertension generally doesn’t cause any outward signs or symptoms but silently damages blood vessels, and other organs. There is a need to create awareness about the fact that hypertension is not a disease but a sign that something is wrong in the body.

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

[1] Research published in PLOS Medicine, and carried out by researchers at the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Heidelberg Institute of Global Health, the University of Birmingham and the University of Gottingen.

Environmental pollution: one of the major causes for increasing asthma prevalence in children, says HCFI

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

Proper management and correct use of inhalers are key to prevent attacks

New Delhi, 6th May 2019: According to the World Health Organization, about 80% of asthma deaths occur in the low and lower-middle-income countries. Of the estimated 1.5 to 2 crore asthma patients around the world, at least 1 in every 10 lives in India. A recent study also indicates that about 35% of preschoolers in the country exhibit asthma symptoms. While two-thirds outgrow the symptoms in later years, about 16.67% continue to suffer.

On World Asthma Day, the need of the hour is to raise awareness on the fact that environmental pollution is emerging as a big risk factor for the condition, especially among children. The theme for World Asthma Day this year is ‘STOP for Asthma’. STOP expands into Symptom evaluation, Test response, Observe and assess, and proceed to adjust treatment. It is imperative to educate patients on proper management and correct use of inhalers.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “It is important to understand the working of airways to understand asthma. The airways are tubes that carry air into and out of the lungs. In people with asthma, these airways are inflamed, which makes them swollen and very sensitive. Due to this, the airways react strongly to certain inhaled substances, which causes the muscles around them to tighten. As a result, the airways become narrow causing less air to flow into the lungs. The cells in the airways might make more mucus than usual. All these can result in asthma symptoms, which can occur each time the airways are inflamed. There is no specific reason for the development of asthma in children. However, there are several triggers such as dust, air pollution, and exposure to secondhand smoke. Pediatric asthma is one of the major reasons for absenteeism from school.”

Some symptoms of asthma in children include wheezing (whistling sound) when breathing, coughing, rapid and labored breathing, complaints of chest hurting, reduced energy, and feeling weak or tired.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Airway sensitivity is going up among people in both rural and urban areas due to sustained exposure to a combination of triggers. Asthma requires continuous medical care and those with moderate-to-severe asthma must take long-term medicines such as anti-inflammatory drugs. These should be taken every day to prevent symptoms and attacks. Short-term medicines such as inhaled short-acting beta2-agonists are also used for quick relief of asthma symptoms.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Prevent exposure to dust mites. These are tiny insects and one of the most common asthma triggers. They tend to live in beds, carpeting, upholstered furniture and soft toys. It is important to keep all these things dust free.
  • Restrict the child’s contact with pets especially if he/she is allergic.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and encourage good eating habits. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in their diet.
  • Avoid exposure to smoke. Expectant mothers should quit smoking altogether as this is one of the major risk factors for development of asthma in children.

·       Breastfeed your infant. This will increase immunity and help ward off potential complications.

Poor dental hygiene may be a warning sign for potential heart problems: HCFI

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

Smoking and drinking and irregular cleaning of teeth can cause infection

New Delhi, 4th May 2019: According to a recent study, common oral infection in childhood is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis in adulthood. The study particularly focused on periodontitis which is currently considered an independent risk factor for atherosclerotic vascular diseases. It is therefore imperative to prevent and treat oral infections during childhood.

Advanced gum disease, also called periodontitis, is caused by bacterial infection that damages the soft tissue and bone that supports the teeth. If left unchecked, the resulting inflammation can spread down below the gums and along the roots of the teeth, causing destruction of the periodontal ligament and the supporting bone. This ultimately leads to the loosening and potential loss of the teeth.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Oral hygiene is extremely essential. Dental health is often ignored by many people. Stress can have lasting effects on the teeth as on the overall system. Under stress, many people pick up the habit of smoking and consuming alcohol, which can have serious implications on dental health at a later stage. Periodontitis is a serious condition and if not managed on time can be detrimental to dental health. One should not ignore warning signs and visit a dentist as soon as possible. A dull tooth ache, which does not subside, bleeding gums, and sensitivity to certain eatables are signs that should not be ignored.”

There are more than 700 different species of bacteria colonized in a healthy mouth, most of which are completely harmless and live in harmony with their host. However, in the absence of oral hygiene and tooth cleaning, bacterial deposits build up next to the gums, forming a plaque, and the conditions become suitable for more dangerous bacteria to flourish.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “What many people are unaware of is that dental hygiene is also imperative for heart health. Poor oral health and tooth loss is associated with modest increases in future heart blockages and paralysis.”

Some tips from HCFI to care for the teeth

  • Brush your teeth twice daily. Brushing helps in preventing the build-up of plaque and bacteria which can cause tooth decay and periodontal diseases.
  • Floss every day as flossing helps clean the crevices where the brush can’t reach.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Avoid sugary and starchy foods as sugar in such foods reacts with the bacteria in saliva to form an acid that erodes the tooth enamel leading to tooth decay.
  • The tongue too harbors bacteria. Therefore, it is a good idea to invest in a tongue scraper and clean it each time you brush your teeth.
  • Consult a dentist if your gums are inflamed or if they bleed. Do not ignore any pain in the teeth and/or gums.
  • Get your teeth checked every six months. Dental cleaning and check-up twice a year is imperative.

« Previous Entries