Your diet can determine your mental state: HCFI

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

It is imperative to keep the gut microbiome healthy with foods that aid metabolism and digestion

New Delhi, 8th May 2019: A new study has indicated that people who suffer from depression are also likely to face gastrointestinal distress. It says that both the conditions are triggered by the same glitch in neuron chemistry-low serotonin. Up to a third of people with depression have chronic constipation. Few studies also report that people with depression, rate their accompanying bowel difficulties as one of the biggest factors reducing their quality of life.

As per a recent report by the World Health Organization, India is the world’s most depressed country with every 6th Indian suffering from mental illness. The need of the hour is to raise awareness on the importance of a healthy diet in alleviating the symptoms of depression.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “The stomach can be called as the ‘second brain’. The gut is teeming with about 300 to 600 species of different bacteria that perform a whole host of beneficial functions. These include boosting the immune system, aiding in metabolism and digestion, and helping in neurotransmission and signaling in the brain. Any significant alterations in the type or number of these bacterial colonies may lead to ‘inflammation of the body, a process that can contribute to many diseases such as depression. While whole, high fibre foods improve the health of these bacterial colonies, processed, high sugar foods alter these colonies. Thus, an ideal diet plan for managing depression should be woven around healthy fats (the omega-3s) and foods that aid a healthy microbiome or gut flora.”

The anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids have benefits that extend not only to the body but also parts of the brain linked to depression. In the same way, a healthy gut flora can help improve mood swings, increase our overall sense of well-being by directly impacting the immune system.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Quantum physics explains that the mechanism of depression and anxiety can be an imbalance between understanding the way particle duality functions. Balancing this can further help in treating depression and other such mental disorders. The parasympathetic nervous system plays a vital role in maintaining both mental and physical health by helping the body to calm down from stress reactions that elevate blood pressure, dilate the pupils, and divert energy from other body processes to fighting or fleeing.”

HCFI tips to practice a parasympathetic lifestyle

  • Include foods that support your system Consume a diet based on whole foods. This includes green leafy vegetables, quality protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates.
  • Hydrate the body adequately staying hydrated will help the lymphatic system flush out toxins and remove the metabolic waste out of the body. This is essential to detoxify, nourish, and regenerate tissue.
  • Include some physical activity Exercise is positive physiological stress for the body. Yoga, for example, is known to accrue great benefits to both the mind and body.
  • Practice mindfulness this includes a combination of practices, habits, thoughts, and behaviours to help you get through your daily life. Mindfulness means intentionally and actively seeking to lower the body’s response to stress.

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.

Influenza virus is a shape shifter and more precautions are needed

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

Flu is not similar to cold and can be a serious illness

New Delhi, 10th April 2019: Food additive tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ)-found in many common products from frozen meat to crackers and fried foods-suppresses the immune response the body mounts when fighting the flu, a recent study has suggested. In addition to increasing the severity of flu symptoms, the study found evidence that tBHQ exposure could reduce the effectiveness of the flu vaccine through its effects on T cells, a vital component of the immune system.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently launched a strategy to protect people worldwide over the next decade against the threat of influenza, warning that new pandemics are ‘inevitable’. WHO’s new strategy, for 2019 through 2030, aims to prevent seasonal influenza, control the virus’s spread from animals to humans and prepare for the next pandemic, WHO said.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “During flu illness, our body is under a lot of stress and inflammation is up. Further, the oxygen levels and blood pressure can drop which lead to an increased risk of blood clots in the vessels that serve the heart. All of these can cause heart attack. Vaccination is the best way to reduce the risk of getting flu. Being vaccinated gives you protection against flu by building immunity to the virus and preventing transmission of the virus to other people. The initial symptoms of flu include headaches, chills, and a cough. Other signs such as fever, loss of appetite, and muscle aches follow late. Apart from this, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are rare in adults but more common in children.”

Influenza or ‘the flu’ is a highly contagious disease caused by infection from influenza type A or B (or rarely C) virus. These viruses infect the upper airways and lungs. Flu is not similar to a common cold and can be a serious illness. It is particularly of harm to the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “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. 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.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
  • Cover your 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.

« Previous Entries