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Pollution can cause heart attack, reproductive disorder: Doctors

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Delhi Pollution Air Quality

New Delhi, Nov 1 : With pollution rising to severe levels in the national capital, doctors have warned of a number of ill-effects on the health of the people, ranging from heart attack to adverse impact on reproductive capabilities of men.

Doctors warned the people of Delhi against going outside without wearing anti-pollution masks and asked them to use air-purifiers even inside their houses to tackle the impact of pollution on human health.

“It is a serious concern that a Public Health Emergency (PHE) has been declared. Under PHE, people are supposed to stay indoor. Even inside their homes, people should use masks or air-purifiers. The high level of pollution may result in heart attack, paralysis or even sudden deaths which we have seen last year,” said K.K. Agarwal, President, Confederation of Medical Associations of Asia and Oceania.

“So my advice would be that stay indoor, use air purifiers and masks to further provide protection against pollution,” said Agarwal, a former head of the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

Apart from the deadly effects of pollution, the doctors also warned people against the dangerous impact of pollution on the reproductive abilities of the human body as they claim that PM10 particles could affect the quality of sperm among the males.

“PM10 particles have a tendency to increase the concentration of free radicals in the bloodstream which in turn affects the quality of sperm among males. Also, the presence of heavy metals like cadmium, mercury and lead has severe consequences on the life of sperm and the effect can be seen for over 90 days.

“Important factors like sperm motility and concentration are duly affected, which determines a pregnancy,” Arvind Vaid, Gynaecologist and IVF expert at Indira IVF Hospital, told IANS.

The Indian Medical Association said the number of patients suffering from pollution related ailments is increasing every day.

“With increasing pollution in and around Delhi, public health has taken a toll. With high levels of pollutants and the rise in levels of particulate matter (PM2.5 & PM10) in the last week, more and more number of patients are turning up with various health ailments,” IMA spokesperson Narender Saini said.

Considering the steep rise in the pollution levels, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) on Friday asked the governments of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to issue advisories asking the public to minimise exposure to the surroundings and take other measures to curb the challenging levels of pollution.

Delhi has announced closure of all schools till November 5 and other NCR cities may also follow suit.

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Complementary cancer therapies do more harm than good: Expert

Garlic, ginger and ginkgo pills, for example, can delay the healing of skin wounds when breast cancer spreads, she said.

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Complementary cancer therapies

New Delhi, Nov 14 : A medical expert has said that cancer patients should tell doctors treating them about the herbal products they may be taking since some ingredients could affect their treatment.

Maria Joao Cardoso, the head breast surgeon at the Champalimaud Cancer Centre in Lisbon, Portugal, said that there was no evidence that herbal therapies or creams worked.

If in doubt, it is best not to take anything, she added.

Garlic, ginger and ginkgo pills, for example, can delay the healing of skin wounds when breast cancer spreads, she said.

“Doctors need to be more proactive about asking their patients what else they are taking when they are being treated for cancer,” Cardoso told the BBC.

She said that it is particularly important that patients always check with their doctors first before trying complementary therapies for cancer that has spread to the skin. This happens in one in five cases of breast cancer, and less in other cancers.

The danger is that many products can interfere with the hormone therapy or chemotherapy treatments, and certain ones prolong the blood clotting process, which can lead to wounds taking longer time to heal and more scarring.

She said that herbal products like green chiretta, feverfew, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, hawthorn, horse chestnut and turmeric slow down clotting.

Cardoso said that it is not surprising that patients and their carers go searching for complementary or alternative treatments that might make a difference.

But she said people should know that “they could end up doing more harm than good”.

“The highest goal in medicine is important to remember: Do no harm,” she said.

As per the website of Cancer Research UK, some complementary therapies might stop conventional treatments working as well as they should.

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Interactive AI-powered app for diabetes launched in India

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eddii virtual health buddy app
Picture Credit : Daily Mail

New Delhi, Nov 11 : The eddii virtual health buddy app, launched on Monday in India in the run up to the World Diabetes Day, solves that problem by gamifying health tracking and management.

eddii is an AI-powered virtual character who guides users on a digital adventure. The whimsical cartoon leaf uses stories, jokes and games to encourage people to input data like carb counts, insulin usage, exercise notes and mood.

Advanced technology allows the chatbot to examine that data and identify patterns. For example, some people will discover that within hours of eating a certain food, their mood shifts.

“While there have been significant advancements in diabetes treatment that make it easier to control, lifestyle-choice tracking has been slow in many regards, focusing primarily on presenting data rather than engaging the user and teaching them how to take charge of their health,” said eddii Founder and CEO Farhaneh Ahmadi.

“The team of scientists, artists and engineers at eddii created a solution that allows people to take charge of their relationship with chronic illness,” Ahmadi said.

The eddii team chose India because many people in the country are currently struggling with diabetes.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly nine percent of adults in India have diabetes.

The eddii team worked with a psychologist to build techniques common in ‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’ into the app.

That means eddii can recognise unhealthy patterns and help you change them.

“This is so much more than a journal or tracking app, we are harnessing the power of machine learning to really make a difference in people’s lives,” Ahmadi said.

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What’s causing those burning eyes?

Living within the confines of a proverbial gas chamber, people have complained of watery eyes, burning sensation, discomfort, sore eyes, redness, swelling and an itching sensation, besides respiratory problems.

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Air Pollution
Air Pollution: Children at Most Risk

The toxic Delhi air has given itchy eyes to many in the National Capital Region. There is this burning sensation which the doctors say frequent washing of hands and avoiding rubbing of eyes might help.

What might be causing that burn? According to health experts, this is mainly due to the hazardous pollutants including nitric oxide, sulphur and nitrogen dioxide in the air, an outcome of construction work and carbon emission.

Living within the confines of a proverbial gas chamber, people have complained of watery eyes, burning sensation, discomfort, sore eyes, redness, swelling and an itching sensation, besides respiratory problems.

Delhi turned into an apocalyptic city the very day after Diwali, as lack of breeze trapped the pollutants from firecrackers and stubble burning in neighbouring states added to the woes.

According to Safar India, the overall air quality index (AQI) in Delhi has hit 381, much below the 600 plus levels in the last few days, when sun completely was shunted out by the heavy smog cover.

“While air pollution has taken a toll on the overall health of individuals, many people are experiencing burning sensation in the eyes too. This is being mainly caused by the presence of pollutants in the air consisting of nitric oxide, sulphur and nitrogen dioxide present in the air leading to irritation in the eyes,” said Ranjana Mithal, Senior Consultant Ophthalmology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals in New Delhi.

Mithal added that once, the pollution settles down, we will get relief from the burning sensation.

“Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is essential for aiding inadequate tear formation. It becomes all the more essential when external factors like smog increase your proneness to dry eyes. Eight to ten glasses of water should suffice,” Mithal suggested.

Refrain from stepping out during peak smog hours. It’s best to stay indoors during this time. Consume food rich in Vitamin A as it plays an important role, the doctor said.

Satya Karna, Associate Director, Department of Ophthalmology, Jaypee Hospital in Noida told IANS: “It is advisable not to go out without protection for the eyes such as sunglasses, keep washing eyes with clean, cool water and avoid wearing contact lenses. Put eye drops as per a doctor’s prescription, not drops bought over the counter, or given by chemists or ayurvedic.”

The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday and the Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Delhi government and the Centre over the alarming situation of pollution and deteriorating Air Quality Index (AQI) in the national capital.

Sonia Bhalla, Senior Consultant, Ophthalmology at Fortis Memorial Research Institute in Gurugram said that air pollution adversely affects the eyes.

“Eating Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish besides green leafy vegetables, carrots, spinach, almonds, walnuts, berries are extremely good for the eyes.

“Do not overexert your eyes by indulging in excessive screen time,” Bhalla said.

“Twice a day (after getting a recommendation from your ophthalmologist) use eye drops to flush out the irritants. If there is continuous discomfort go to your doctor immediately,” Bhalla concluded.

(Bharat Upadhyay can be reached at [email protected])

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