Many young and middle-aged people today are dying of sudden heart attacks. Studies show that cardiovascular diseases (CVD) strike Indians a decade earlier compared to their Western counterparts.
Why is this happening? How can we prevent it? Are we just focused on post-heart attack action? Or should we be focused more on prevention?
Luke Coutinho, Holistic Lifestyle Coach Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine shares an input that could prevent heart attacks at a young age:
Cholesterol is not the culprit, inflammation is: Many people believe that high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are the sole culprits behind their heart attacks. The main reasons behind most heart attacks are inflammation and oxidative damage in the heart, blood vessels, endothelial lining, arteries, and more. While maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is important, we cannot blame heart attacks on cholesterol levels alone.
What then can you do to keep inflammation in check and your heart strong? Adopt simple lifestyle changes.
Switch From Ordinary Substandard Cooking Oils to Cold-Pressed Oils: Refined oils are highly inflammatory and a threat to your heart. Using refined oils just to save some money isn't a wise idea. Choose the right quality and quantity of oil to boost your heart health. It might cost you a few extra bucks, but remember, your health is not a cost but an investment.
Switch From A Sedentary Lifestyle to An Active One: Even if you don't engage in a full-fledged workout, just stay active. Walking and yoga are the most effective exercises. Choose fun workouts that you enjoy -- dancing, aerobics, Zumba, swimming, whatever it is, but keep that body moving. People who live a sedentary lifestyle are at high risk of heart attacks. Having said that, over-working out with little or no rest or recovery period is equally harmful. So, figure out the adequate level of activity your body needs and stick to it.
Don't Take Matters to Your Heart: Before renting out your heart space and mind space to a person, event or experience, ask yourself if it is worth it. While stress is inevitable, what sets a happy person apart from a stressed person is their capacity to diffuse and navigate stress and see things in a positive light. You can continue attending stress management classes and workshops, and while all of them can help you feel better for some time, the real change happens when you start changing your perspective towards life and how you relate to stress.
Learn to accept and let go. Build your self-worth, create a beautiful inner world, reflect inwards, and allow these teachings to slip into your daily living.
Fix Your Sleep Routine: There is nothing cool about pulling an all-nighter to work or socialize more. Your body only cares about survival. Remember, your sleep is your heart's free drug. The chronic deprivation of it can increase your risk of a heart attack. Your heart is a muscle that needs recovery. Lack of sleep increases your insulin resistance and makes you more prone to type-2 diabetes and a gamut of metabolic conditions. So, adopt a fixed sleeping schedule and sleep deep.
We cannot wait for more misfortunate incidents to realize the importance of lifestyle and start prioritizing it. We must wake up and work towards prevention. Many of us may go through heart disease later in life, no matter how well we exercise or eat clean. So, identify risk factors and work towards tackling them. Even if one of your risk factors is genetic predisposition and there is nothing you can do about it, you can still alter your lifestyle. Our intelligent human body was designed to fix and heal itself. The least we can do is invest in it and help it do its job effectively. Lifestyle can help you bridge this gap.
Read More► Does Using Oil on Your Hair Cause It Fall?
New Delhi, Aug 20 (IANS) A survey highlighted that Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have a 16.19 per cent prevalence of key NCDs which is higher than the national average of 11.62 per cent.These states particularly have a higher prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCD) like hypertension, digestive diseases, diabetes, and neurological diseases as compared to the National Average Prevalence Rate of these diseases. This is similar to the overall national trend where hypertension, digestive disease, and diabetes emerge as the top three NCDs followed by respiratory diseases, brain disorders, heart diseases, kidney disorders, and cancer in the order of prevalence. The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), the apex trade association of the country, as part of its 'Illness to Wellness' campaign, on Friday unveiled Andhra Pradesh (now Andhra Pradesh and Telangana) specific findings of India's largest primary healthcare survey report on the rising burden of non-communicable diseases in the country. This was followed by a virtual panel discussion on "Non-Communicable Diseases: The New Health Challenges for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh". The survey report titled 'Non-Communicable Diseases in India' covered 2,33,672 people and 673 public health offices in 21 states to analyse the rising cases of NCDs in the country and the social profile of suffering households. Delving on the risk factors associated with NCDs, the report highlighted that significantly higher stress levels in the region than the national average are leading to heart, diabetes, and digestive disorders in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It stated that 63 per cent of respondents in the region face high stress. The report further underlined that the region has higher physical activities, which is reflected in lower BMI. However, the likely positive impact of the same on reducing the vulnerability to obesity related NCDs is significantly reduced by other factors like choice of food including salt and chillies intake and lifestyle choices. The study also found that high workplace pollution in the region is a major contributing factor to diseases related to neurology, heart, and lung. This is mainly due to high mining, stone quarrying, and construction activities in the region. Home air pollution was also found to be significantly contributing to hypertension and neurological disorders in the region. The problem of workplace air pollution was recognised by 82 per cent of the respondents while 76 per cent accepted that they face home air pollution. The region shows lower vegetable and fruit consumption coupled with high meat consumption than the national average. As per the study findings, 90 per cent of the respondents from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana consume non-vegetarian food with 68 per cent consuming red meat. This has implications on NCDs affecting the digestive system, heart, and hypertension. Incidentally, tobacco consumption was found to be below the national average in both the states, and thus their impact on the prevalence of NCDs relating to hypertension, heart diseases, and diabetes in the state is likely to be insignificant in line with the national findings. The study observed that while the national prevalence rate of hypertension is 3.60 per cent , its prevalence in the state of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana is 8.54 per cent . This is followed by digestive diseases and diabetes that have a prevalence rate of 5.65 per cent and 4.69 per cent respectively in both the states. Digestive diseases have a national average prevalence rate of 3.05 per cent while it is 2.85 per cent for diabetes. The prevalence rate of brain disorders and kidney diseases in each of these states stands at 2.52 per cent and 0.66 per cent respectively. This is again higher than the national average prevalence rate of 1.3 per cent for brain diseases and 0.4 per cent for kidney diseases. The prevalence of heart diseases, cancer, digestive diseases, and respiratory diseases were found to be lower in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana when compared to the national average prevalence rate for these diseases. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a sharper focus on health care. Patterns emerging from Covid management across the country indicate that people with co-morbidities of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have a higher mortality rate than those who do not. This has grave implications for the country not only because of mortality and years of healthy lives lost but also because of India's health infrastructure. Dr. C. H. Vasanth Kumar, Senior Consultant Physician, Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad, Current President Elect, Research Society for Study of Diabetes in India (RSSDI), said, "NCDs are a real threat to human life as it affects everyone irrespective of age, the financial status or background. Prevention and early detection are key to arresting the rising cases of NCDs. Towards this, parents, society, and government must come together for a decisive win against the disease which is gripping the world including India." Dr K. S. Soma Sekhar Rao, Consultant Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist, Department of Medical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Apollo Health City, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad added, "Health education and forums like this can certainly go a long way in improving awareness about NCDs among the masses. An unhealthy gut is the mother of all diseases, and we must take good care of our gut from a very young age for a long and healthy life." Rajesh Kesari, Founder and Director, Total Care Control, said, "NCDs have become a major health challenge in each country of the world including India. The amount of people suffering from NCDs in our country is simply huge and a lot of lives have already been lost to these diseases. --IANS san/dpb
Lucknow, Aug 6 (IANS) For all those who have been avoiding eating mangoes due to health issues, including diabetes, here is some good news.The Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, (CISH) Lucknow has developed healthier varieties of mangoes with bio-active compounds that have high medicinal benefits, including anti-cancerous properties.Shailendra Rajan, director CISH, said, "Indeed, it is a major breakthrough for us. Mango is the most favoured fruit and of the many hybrid varieties of mango, the researchers found CISH-developed 'Arunika' was rich in the bio-active compounds including mangiferin and lupeol content."He further said, "The red-blushed Arunika has great medicinal properties. The bio-active compounds present in this variety lower blood glucose levels by preventing glucose absorption in the intestine, whereas the Mangiferin helps to protect against breast and colon cancer."Another variety of medicinal mango, developed by CISH is "Saheb Pasand", which he said, was the sweetest variety of mango that was high in lupeol content. The compound is known for a wide range of pharmacological activities against a variety of disease conditions including inflammation, arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, renal disease, hepatic toxicity, microbial infections and cancer.He said the institute was ready with the variety, however, the test of the pulp was still on in order to compare these hybrid mangoes with other available varieties of mango in terms of medicinal content.Rajan said that in the near future, cultivation of these special varieties of mango would yield better income to the farmers and also health benefits to the consumers.--IANSamita/dpb
New Delhi, Aug 5 (IANS) There is a link between improving air quality and a reduction in the risk of dementia, a new research in the US has shown.Using data from two large, long-running study projects in the Puget Sound region -- one that began in the late 1970s measuring air pollution and another on risk factors for dementia that began in 1994 -- University of Washington (UW) researchers identified a link between air pollution and dementia.In the UW-led study, a small increase in the levels of fine particle pollution (PM2.5 or particulate matter 2.5 micrometers or smaller) averaged over a decade at specific addresses in the Seattle area was associated with a greater risk of dementia for people living at those addresses."We found that an increase of one microgram per cubic meter of exposure corresponded to a 16 per cent greater hazard of all-cause dementia. There was a similar association for Alzheimer's-type dementia," said lead author Rachel Shaffer, who conducted the research as a doctoral student in the UW Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences.The study, published on August 4 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, looked at more than 4,000 Seattle-area residents enrolled in the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) Study run by Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in collaboration with UW.Of those residents, the researchers identified more than 1,000 people who had been diagnosed with dementia at some point since the ACT Study began in 1994."The ACT Study is committed to advancing dementia research by sharing its data and resources, and we're grateful to the ACT volunteers who have devoted years of their lives to supporting our efforts, including their enthusiastic participation in this important research on air pollution," said Eric Larson, ACT's founding principal investigator and a senior investigator at KPWHRI.Once a patient with dementia was identified, researchers compared the average pollution exposure of each participant leading up to the age at which the dementia patient was diagnosed.For instance, if a person was diagnosed with dementia at 72 years old, the researchers compared the pollution exposure of other participants over the decade prior to when each one reached 72.In these analyses, the researchers also had to account for the different years in which these individuals were enrolled in the study, since air pollution has dropped dramatically in the decades since the ACT study began.In their final analysis, the researchers found that just a one microgram per cubic meter difference between residences was associated with 16 per cent higher incidence of dementia.To put that difference into perspective, Shaffer said, in 2019 there was approximately one microgram per cubic meter difference in PM2.5 pollution between Pike Street Market in downtown Seattle and the residential areas around Discovery Park."We know dementia develops over a long period of time. It takes years -- even decades -- for these pathologies to develop in the brain, and so we needed to look at exposures that covered that extended period," Shaffer said.And, because of long-running efforts by many UW faculty and others to build detailed databases of air pollution in our region, "we had the ability to estimate exposures for 40 years in this region. That is unprecedented in this research area and a unique aspect of our study."In addition to extensive air pollution and dementia data for the region, other study strengths included lengthy address histories and high-quality procedures for dementia diagnoses for the ACT Study participants."Having reliable address histories lets us obtain more precise air pollution estimates for study participants," said senior author Lianne Sheppard, a UW professor of environmental and occupational health sciences and of biostatistics."These high-quality exposures combined with ACT's regular participant follow-up and standardized diagnostic procedures contribute to this study's potential policy impact."--IANSvg/dpb
The butterfly-shaped thyroid gland located at the base of the neck plays a major role in the metabolism, growth and development of the body. It also regulates multiple functions, including energy levels, weight, heart rate and mood. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones to meet the needs of the body.
Despite the high prevalence, thyroid disorders, along with other non-communicable diseases, remain neglected. A study conducted across eight cities in India suggests that nearly one-third of people living with hypothyroidism experience the disorder but are unaware of it due to a lack of diagnosis.
Highlighting the need for timely diagnosis of thyroid-related conditions, Manoj Chadha, Senior Consultant Endocrinologist, HOPE & CARE Hospital, Vashi, Navi Mumbai said, "In Mumbai alone, we have seen 2.86 per cent cases of hypothyroidism go undiagnosed. Adults who are aged 35 years and above, pregnant, and middle-aged women, in particular, are at high risk and may suffer additional complications if a thyroid disorder is left untreated. Undetected hypothyroidism results in increased vulnerability to comorbidities such as diabetes and hypertension."
He continued, "The pathophysiological association between Type2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and thyroid dysfunction is believed to be the result of an interplay between various biochemical, genetic, and hormonal malfunctions. Poorly managed T2DM can lead to insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia and increased risk of hypoglycaemic episodes in diabetics.11 As a result, it increases the cardiovascular risk in T2DM. This can only be reduced with frequent screening to ensure timely diagnosis, which in turn will drive treatment and disease management for hypothyroidism at an early stage."
Here are 4 reasons why women should be aware of thyroid disorders-
Women are three times more likely to develop hypothyroidism than men- Moreover, hypothyroidism is especially common among women especially during child-bearing age (although women of all ages are at risk). Women with high-risk factors for hypothyroidism should particularly be encouraged to undergo screening.
These factors include- Residing in an area with moderate-severe iodine insufficiency, obesity, history of thyroid dysfunction or presence of goitre in the individual or a first-degree relative, history of recurrent miscarriages or pre-term delivery, infertility, or autoimmune diseases (Type 1 diabetes, Addison's disease, Coeliac disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis).
Elusive signs & symptoms- Don't suffer silently: Women tend to ignore their health and visit a doctor only when extremely ill or experiencing severe symptoms. Hypothyroidism symptoms, which tend to be subtle and non-specific, go under the radar. These include fatigue, excessive weight gain, constipation, dry skin, cold intolerance, lethargy, muscle cramps and puffy eyelids, which overlap with those of other disease areas or blend in with the rigours of everyday life. It is thus essential to get yourself screened, instead of waiting for multiple symptoms to persist. Take action proactively to alleviate any symptoms and avoid further complications.
The added risk of health complications- The potential consequences of thyroid disorders include more than just hair loss and weight fluctuations. If left untreated, thyroid disorders can prompt a number of health complications, from elevated cholesterol levels and depression to irregular menstrual cycles and a higher risk of infertility or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Thyroid disorders can also amplify or worsen symptoms of menopause. In more serious cases, they may even lead to cardiovascular or neurological complications, as well as diabetes.
Timely treatment to safeguard maternal and child health- Hypothyroidism can have worrying implications for pregnant women, if not adequately managed. Hypothyroidism during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of anaemia, miscarriage, postpartum bleeding, pre-eclampsia, and placental abruption.
The thyroid hormone is also critical for the development of the fetal brain and nervous system, especially during the first trimester when the foetus depends on the mother's supply of the hormone. Thyroid disorders may also increase the risk of pre-term birth and low birth weight. Being aware and undergoing screening before and during pregnancy is important for both maternal and child health.
Women with hypothyroidism detected during pregnancy can speak to their endocrinologist to understand how to best manage their condition.
Commenting on the need to tackle thyroid disorders, Srirupa Das, Medical Director, Abbott said, "Abbott is committed to raising awareness on thyroid disorders in India. By educating people at higher risk, especially women, about the nature, prevalence and symptoms of the condition, we aim to encourage increased screening, which facilitates timely diagnosis and treatment. We are committed to continuing 'Making India Thyroid Aware' to empower people to pursue better health."
Read More► Leading Causes Of Lifestyle Disorders
A new study has shown that eating millets reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and helps manage blood glucose levels in people with diabetes.
The study indicates the potential to design appropriate meals with millets for diabetic and pre-diabetic people as well as for non-diabetic people as a preventive approach.
Drawing on research from 11 countries, the study published in Frontiers in Nutrition shows that diabetic people who consumed millets as part of their daily diet saw their blood glucose levels drop 12-15% (fasting and post-meal), and blood glucose levels went from diabetic to pre-diabetes levels.
The HbA1c (blood glucose bound to hemoglobin) levels lowered on average 17% for pre-diabetic individuals, and the levels went from prediabetic to normal status. These findings affirm that eating millets can lead to a better glycemic response.
The authors reviewed 80 published studies of which 65 were eligible for a meta-analysis involving about 1,000 human subjects, making this analysis the largest systematic review on the topic till date, said International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).
"No one knew there were so many scientific studies undertaken on millets' effect on diabetes. These benefits were often contested, and this systematic review of the studies published in scientific journals has proven that millets keep blood glucose levels in check, reducing the risk of diabetes, and has shown just how well these smart foods do it," said Dr. S Anitha, the study's lead author and a senior nutrition scientist at International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).
"Diabetes contributed to very high disease burden from 1990-2016 in India. Diabetes-related health expenditure was over $7 million. There is no easy solution, and it requires a lifestyle change, and diet is a very important part of this. This study provides one part of the solution useful for individuals and governments. How we use this and implement it into programs needs careful planning," said Hemalatha, Director, National Institute of Nutrition (NIN).
Raj Bhandari, one of the study's authors and a representative on the Indian National Technical Board of Nutrition, noted that additional attention to our health has been accelerated due to Covid-19 and diabetics are even more vulnerable to the virus. "Our diets play a critical role and if we could bring millets back as a major part of our diet, we would not only help in controlling diabetes, but we would also be adding important nutrients to our plate."
According to the International Diabetes Association, diabetes is increasing in all regions of the world. India, China and the US have the highest numbers of people with diabetes. Africa has the largest forecasted increase of 143% from 2019 to 2045, the Middle East and North Africa 96% and South East Asia 74%. The authors urge the diversification of staples with millets to keep diabetes in check, especially across Asia and Africa.
Strengthening the case for returning millets as staples, the study found that millets have a low average glycemic index (GI) of 52.7, about 30% lower glycemic index (GI) than milled rice and refined wheat, and about 14-37 GI points lower compared to maize. All 11 types of millets studied were either low (<55) or medium gi (55-69), gi being an indicator of how much and how soon a food increases blood sugar level. the review concluded that even after boiling, baking and steaming (most common ways of cooking grains) millets had lower gi than rice, wheat and maize.
"Millets are traditional foods consumed in India. Use of locally available millets as dietary diversification coupled with good lifestyle modifications would help reduce not only Type II diabetes but also gestational diabetes.," said study co-author Professor Kowsalya Subramaniam, (Food and Science Nutrition), Registrar at Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science and Higher Education for Women (deemed to be university) in Tamil Nadu.
"The global health crisis of undernutrition and over-nutrition coexisting is a sign that our food systems need fixing. Greater diversity both on-farm and on-plate is the key to transforming food systems. On-farm diversity is a risk mitigating strategy for farmers in the face of climate change while on-plate diversity helps counter lifestyle diseases such as diabetes. Millets are part of the solution to mitigate the challenges associated with malnutrition, human health, natural resource degradation, and climate change. Trans-disciplinary research involving multiple stakeholders is required to create resilient, sustainable and nutritious food systems," said Dr. Jacqueline Hughes, Director General ICRISAT.
This study is first in a series of studies that has been worked on for the last four years as a part of the Smart Food initiative led by ICRISAT that will be progressively released in 2021. Included are systematic reviews with meta-analyses of the impacts of millets on: diabetes, anaemia and iron requirements, cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases and calcium deficiencies as well as a review on zinc levels.
As part of this, ICRISAT and the Institute for Food Nutrition and Health at the University of Reading have formed a strategic partnership to research and promote the Smart Food vision of making our diets healthier, more sustainable on the environment and good for those who produce it," explained Joanna Kane-Potaka, a co-author from ICRISAT and Executive Director of the Smart Food initiative. (agency)
Read More ► From Weight Loss to Strong Bones, Health Benefits of Millets