While Covid-19 spared none, people with diabetes were among the hardest hit. The infectious disease not only raised the risk of severe disease progression and death among diabetics, affecting even the recovery, it also contributed towards the burden of diabetes in the country.
World Diabetes Day is observed annually on November 14 to raise awareness on the high blood sugar condition and related consequences.
India, known as the diabetes capital of the world, is home to one in six diabetics in the world. The country has also suffered significantly from Covid-19.
While on an average, diabetes reduces life expectancy by 4-10 years increasing the risk of death due to other comorbidities, which include heart attacks, kidney failures and infections, Covid infection fast forwarded that among people with diabetes.
Diabetes increased inflammatory response among Covid patients, spiking their blood sugar levels. It then complicated the course of Covid, resulting in excess morbidity and mortality, as well as posing severe challenges in the recovery of patients.
"During Covid patients were succumbing to it, not because of the original disease, but because despite all other efforts their glucose levels remained high. Thus recognising glucose as a vital sign very similar to blood pressure and pulse rate, respiratory rate, became more necessary during the pandemic," Jothydev Kesavadev from Jothydev's Diabetes Research Centres, Kerala, told IANS.
"Studies from all over the world show that the majority of the deaths from Covid were linked to high glucose values, and this includes both patients with no diabetes and with the new onset of high glucose," he added.
Further, the use of steroids, to control the serious manifestations of Covid-19, worsened the glucose levels in the patients.
High blood sugar levels, coupled with increased use of steroids, also led to other complications such as an unprecedented surge in cases of mucormycosis, commonly known as black fungus. It is a fungal infection, which occurs by inhalation of spores and can disseminate to various organs rapidly.
According to a recent study, published in Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research and Reviews, more than 86 per cent of mucormycosis or black fungus cases related to Covid in India, had uncontrolled glucose values.
"While the Covid cases are closely related to diabetes, mucormycosis is also very closely related to diabetes in Covid. Whenever the glucose is high, there is a deranged immune mechanism and in the presence of an infection it is persuaded rapidly," Kesavadev said.
Another study, published in the same journal showed that people with Type-2 diabetes who also suffered Covid-19 were more likely to experience severe fatigue than those who did not have the infectious disease, emerging as a major roadblock in the recovery of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2.
Moreover, among diabetes patients, those with increased fatigue level post Covid-19 also had increased postprandial blood glucose levels.
Covid also contributed to new onset of diabetes in many people, particularly the young. On one hand, Covid-induced lockdowns increased diabetes cases as people spent more time indoors, while eating more and exercising less.
On the other hand, Covid also contributed to nearly 25 per cent rise in diabetic patients in the country, according to an analysis of OPD data from a private hospital in Delhi.
Doctors found that among patients with confirmed Covid-19 infections, there was nearly 25 per cent of new onset of diabetic patients. Stress induced hyperglycemia -- high blood sugar -- was seen in 10 per cent of patients who had Covid-19 infection.
"The younger population is increasingly affected. We have seen that happening during Covid-19 epidemic. Increasing number of young people with more severe diabetes are now being seen," Dr Anoop Misra, Fortis-C-DOC Centre of Excellence for Diabetes, Metabolic Diseases and Endocrinology, New Delhi, told IANS.
As per a recent study, among the younger generation in India, below the age of 30 years, there is a rapid increase in the occurrence of diabetes over the last 10 years.
"For these, diabetes as a disease will result in complications after 10 to 15 years. Imagine a situation where more and more people are developing diabetes at the age of 25 years or 30 years, which means even during the productive age group, by the time they are 35 years or 40 years, they will start developing complications. if the disease is not treated properly," Kesavadev said.
"There is an urgent need to decrease the screening age of diabetes to 25 years, from the current 30 years, in India," Dr Misra said, adding that "there is increasing urgency to ensure that young people follow correct lifestyle practices including more exercise, correct food choices, and maintenance of weight to normal, or even leaner category".
While diabetes cannot be treated it can be controlled and reversed by adopting a healthy lifestyle, diet and having proper sleep, as well as exercising for at least half an hour every day, suggested the experts. (Rachel V Thomas)
Read More► Proteins in Covid Virus That Damage Blood Vessels Found
A team of Israeli researchers have identified five proteins in the SARS-CoV-2 virus that are responsible for severe vascular damage that could lead to heart attack or stroke.
While Covid-19 is largely known as respiratory disease, there has been a very high incidence of vascular disease and blood clotting, for example stroke and heart attack, among Covid patients.
Researchers from Tel Aviv University identified the five proteins from a total of 29 different proteins that make up the novel coronavirus. When the coronavirus enters the body, it begins to produce 29 proteins, the team said.
In the process of infection and the protein development, the "blood vessels turn from opaque tubes into kind of permeable nets or pieces of cloth, and in parallel there is an increase in blood clotting", said Dr Ben Maoz, Afrom the varsity's Department of Biomedical Engineering and Sagol School of Neuroscience.
The team thoroughly examined the effect of each of the 29 proteins expressed by the virus, and were successful in identifying the five specific proteins that cause the greatest damage to endothelial cells and hence to vascular stability and function.
"We tend to think of Covid as primarily a respiratory disease, but the truth is that coronavirus patients are up to three times more likely to have a stroke or heart attack. All the evidence shows that the virus severely damages the blood vessels or the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels. However, to this day the virus has been treated as one entity. We wanted to find out which proteins in the virus are responsible for this type of damage," Maoz said.
In the study, published in the journal eLife, the team used the RNA of each of the Covid-19 proteins and examined the reaction that occurred when the various RNA sequences were inserted into human blood vessel cells in the lab.
In addition, the team used a computational model which allowed them to assess and identify which coronavirus proteins have the greatest effect on other tissues, without having seen them 'in action' in the lab.
"Our research could help find targets for a drug that will be used to stop the virus's activity, or at least minimise damage to blood vessels," Maoz noted. (Agency)
Read More► Severe Covid Infection in Mothers Linked to Preterm Births
Parents, do you have any doubts regarding what to feed your newborn during the first year? Are you becoming anxious because of this? What should be the eating schedule for your baby?
The right kind of nutrition during the early years of life can help in the growth and development of the little one. Thus, exclusive feeding for over a year as per the doctor's advice remains key for your baby to stay healthy and keep various allergies, infections, and diseases away. Breastfeeding is vital for the baby and fulfils the baby's requirement of nutrition. At six months you need to also introduce the baby to solid foods.
Here's a list of do's and don'ts that you need to follow
Do not introduce your baby to solid foods immediately after the first few months. The little one may not be ready for it and you will have a tough time making the baby eat this food. You should give breast milk to your child and formula milk can be given after consulting the doctor. Just be patient and follow the suggestions given by the expert.
The mother must breastfeed the baby after every two hours, including at the night. You need to properly understand the hunger cues that the baby gives you. Do not force the baby to take feeds. He/she can get grumpy and annoyed. You need to note down how many times the baby is taking feeds in a day, and if he/she is feeding correctly.
Make sure that you inculcate healthy eating habits in your babies that can help him/her throughout life. Solid foods should be introduced after six months depending on the growth and development of the baby. Do not give nuts, raisins, peanuts, nuts, jelly cubes or big pieces of food that may get stuck in the mouth.
Give properly cooked or mashed potatoes, veggies, cheese, bananas, and peas. Do not introduce babies to finger foods as they are unhealthy. Make him/her eat whole fruits instead of chips or oily snacks.
Chocolate contains caffeine and sugar and should be avoided after all you don't want to give your baby caffeine, right? This is so because your baby's health matters to you the most. Hence, it will be essential for you to make sure your baby is eating healthy foods.
Before giving an egg, ask the expert as an egg can lead to allergies. Raw vegetables contain high levels of nitrate and should be avoided owing to the choking hazards.
In case you want to understand the diet in a better way than just consult an expert who will help you regarding how to feed the baby in the correct way. (Peeyoosh Rankhamb, Consultant, Paediatrics, Neonatology, Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar)
Read More►Does Walking After A Meal Aid Digestion?
Although India has, for a long time, battled the incidence of cancer, latest estimates pegs them to be rising at significantly higher rate. Once thought of as an old age disease, cancer is now a cause of concern also among the youth and children.
National Cancer Awareness Day is observed every year on November 7 in India, to increase awareness about cancer prevention and the need for its early detection.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), there will be an estimated 12 per cent rise in cancer cases in India in the next five years.
Longer life expectancy is a major contributor to the overall cancer incidence. As people grow old, their bodies have longer time to allow faults to build up and the body accumulates more of these faults in the genes, considerably increasing the risk of cancer.
"Larger proportion of older individuals is the first cause of increased cancer numbers. The higher the proportion of older age in the population, the higher is the chance of cancer," Wesley M Jose, Clinical Associate Professor, Medical Oncology, Amrita Hospital, Kochi, told IANS.
Further, males (52.4 per cent) are more prone to the risk of all cancer cases compared to females (47.4 per cent). Tobacco use is the major reason comprising 48.7 per cent of cancers among males and 16.5 per cent among females.
A recent report states that the number of cancers associated with tobacco use in 2025 would be 4,27,273 contributing to 27.2 per cent of India's total projected cancer cases. Initiation of tobacco, known to contain at least 69 cancer-causing agents, in the youth is a contributory factor to the increased burden of cancers associated with tobacco use in India.
"Tobacco cessation will reduce the cancer burden by about 25 per cent. The major contributing factor being tobacco and ghutka consumption that directly accounts for 27 per cent of cancers in India," Murad E. Lala, Oncologist at P.D. Hinduja Hospital & MRC, Mahim, Mumbai, told IANS.
"We all know that oral and lung cancer that affects our male population to the maximum can be prevented by curbing smoking and tobacco consumption. We need to start thinking of some unhealthy foods similar to what we think about tobacco unnecessary, addictive, and harmful," said Anil Heroor, Director-Advanced OncoSurgery Unit, Fortis Hospitals Mumbai.
Apart from tobacco, alcohol, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and environmental factors also contribute to the increase in cancers.
"The overall living circumstances of the Indian population have improved and that have also led to a larger sedentary workforce, which has access to a high-calorie diet. These factors indirectly have affected the rise in numbers," Jose said.
"Nearly six types of cancers are linked to obesity and are slowly on the rise among people under 50. These are cancers of the colon or rectal, pancreas, kidney, gallbladder, uterine (also called endometrial cancer), and multiple myeloma. These Cancers are often not discovered in younger people until the disease is advanced and harder to treat," Heroor said.
Childhood cancer is also seeing an increasing trend, mainly of leukemia and lymphomas. Childhood (0-14 years) cancers constitute 7.9 per cent of all cancers, according to ICMR.
"The common types of cancers in children are leukemias, lymphomas, CNS tumours, retinoblastomas and Wilm's tumours. While most of the childhood cancers are curable if detected early and treated appropriately, children in India have limited access to tertiary centres that treat childhood cancers. This delay in treatment causes the survival rate to drop," Jose said.
The cancer burden in the country can be reduced by strengthening the government health systems, making universal health coverage, health education, treatment compliance, and early detection centres at the community level.
Besides, vaccination for virus-related cancer like liver and cervix, and improved physical activity, stricter tobacco and alcohol laws can also help, the experts suggested. (IANS)
Read More► Women Can Have A Heart Problem & Not Even Realise It
Sleep is an essential function that helps in recharging our bodies and minds. Moreover, healthy sleep also helps the body in remaining fit and it staves off any diseases. When we do not get enough sleep, our brain does not function properly and it can impair our abilities to concentrate, think clearly and process memories. An adequate amount of sleep that an adult requires ranges from seven to nine hours.
However, work schedules, day-to-day stressors, a disruptive bedroom environment and medical conditions can prevent us from receiving adequate and peaceful sleep. Hence, a healthy diet and good lifestyle habits can ensure a good amount of sleep each night. However, for some people chronic lack of sleep may be a sign of a sleep disorder.
Sleep reflects one's state of mind and overall health in general. A good sleep is one which is age appropriate in duration, qualitatively divided into various sleep stages of adequate periods and which eventually makes a person feel refreshed in the morning and through the day. Although there is a wide variation in the amount of total sleep required by healthy adults to maintain a good daytime function, it is widely accepted that a good, consolidated 8 hours of uninterrupted night-time sleep is essential for majority of adults.
An adequate amount of sleep duration is extremely important to maintain good mental and physical health. A sleep deprived person often experiences decline in cognitive function, poor memory, inability to concentrate on tasks at hand and easy irritability with frequent mood swings. Even if the sleep duration is adequate, an interrupted and disrupted sleep with poor sleep quality devoid of deep sleep is also associated with excessive daytime sleepiness with declining cognitive function.
Lack of good sleep, both in terms of duration and quality, can adversely affect the physical wellbeing with such individuals being more prone to develop both infectious as well as lifestyle related diseases. With the millennial generation adopting a 24-hour lifestyle without any defined periods of sleep, increase in the total screen time during COVID-19 lockdowns due to exponential increase in online classes and meetings, and poor sleep hygiene, have all resulted in a variety of sleep disorders.
Ultimately, this very important aspect of keeping people healthy is not only being ignored but also leading to abuse of sleeping pills, alcohol and smoking. With rising stress levels and a constant pressure to meet deadlines, it is extremely important to maintain a work life balance and give oneself adequate opportunity and time to have a good night sleep. If anyone experiences any kind of sleep related issues, these should be brought to the immediate notice of the sleep physicians and expert opinion must be taken for timely diagnosis and management.
All in all, sleep is good and necessary. For adults, getting at least seven hours of sleep ensures proper daytime functioning which involves being alert for the day and being able to concentrate and not moody and tired through the day. Creating a night time routine that ensures that your mind and body are relaxed can be helpful in ensuring a good sleep for all individuals.(By Ayush Gupta)
Read More► Turn to The Humble Coconut for Skin Care
After a sombre year, people all over the world are finally ushering in the festive season with more joy and hope. For many, it will also be the first time they see their extended families and loved ones in over a year. Family gatherings obviously come with feasting, food and drink, however, if you are breastfeeding your baby, then there are some foods that you might want to steer clear of.
The key to a good breastfeeding diet is simply to be on a nutritious and healthy meal plan. After the rigorous process of watching what they eat, new mothers can finally relax and eat almost everything they had to give up for nine months. But this must be done in careful moderation because a newborn baby's diet is still entirely dependent on their mother's milk. Hence, it is important to make sure that mothers eat meals that are rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin D.
The list of foods to avoid during pregnancy is long, but thankfully breastfeeding moms can eat almost anything as long it is in moderation. The following foods should be consumed in small amounts if a woman is breastfeeding.
All food items with alcohol and caffeine content should be kept to a bare minimum. Alcohol especially is tricky, because even after having waited for 2-3 hours after the consumption of a drink, a baby can be exposed to it through breast milk, and this could potentially harm an infant's development, growth, and sleep patterns. And as for caffeine, while it is much safer than alcohol, it is recommended that nursing mothers limit their intake to about 300 milligrams per day.
Chocolate can be included back in the diet, as long as it is consumed in small quantities. This is because chocolate does contain theobromine, which is a stimulant and there is a small possibility of it leading to a breastfed infant being restless and fussy. Since any nutrient from the food the mother consumes gets transformed into breast milk, care should be taken to consume avoidable food items in very small amounts.
Stress producing foods or high calorific foods should be avoided: Carbonated beverages, Caffeine, packaged fruit juices with excess sugar, Peppermint or gums, salad dressings with high sodium should be completely avoided. Processed foods are quick and easy to prepare especially when you have a baby.
However, these foods contain preservatives and additives that are toxic for the baby which should be avoided. An expecting mother is suggested to get proper rest and keep stress at bay. While postpartum stress affects many new mothers, experts suggest that managing stress and anxiety is crucial to the well-being of both the mother and her infant. Stress may lead to reduced lactation and breastfeeding issues.
Avoid binge-eating during this time, despite the erratic hours that new parents are bound to experience. Carbonated drinks and junk food cravings should be substituted with healthier food options like nuts and fruits.(Rohit Shelatkar, VP at Vitabiotics, Fitness & Nutrition Expert)
Read More► Negative Calorie Food