Connect with us

Health

World Heart Day: Here’s how to keep your heart healthy as you age

Published

on

WORLD HEART DAY

New Delhi, Sep 29: While advancing age increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD), living a healthy life from your youth may help prevent the disease, which is touted as the number one killer in both men and women globally as well as in India, experts suggest.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), CVDs (coronary heart disease, stroke, and hypertension) contribute to 45 percent of all non-communicable disease-related deaths followed by chronic respiratory disease (22 percent), cancers (12 percent) and diabetes (three percent).

Image result for WORLD HEART DAY'
Nearly 80 percent of premature heart attacks and strokes are preventable, but the preventive measures should begin early.

Related image

                                                                     heart attack

“Preventive measures like avoiding smoking, taking healthy diet, regular exercise, maintaining an ideal weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels should begin from a very young age,” Tapan Ghose, Director and Head, Department of Cardiology, at Fortis Flt Lt Rajan Dhall Hospital, told IANS.

Heart disease is mainly caused by the build-up of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on the artery walls — known as atherosclerosis. This build-up begins from a young age and leads to blockage where the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the requirement of the body’s tissues. This results in various disorders of the heart and blood vessels.

Typical symptoms include “chest pain or angina which comes during exercise and is relieved by rest, breathlessness, palpitations, sweating, epigastric pain which patients usually attribute to acidity”, Ghose added.

Some people also have a feeling of upper abdomen fullness, bloating and sour eructations (or belches) which are dismissed as being caused by acidity but are risk factors.

Earlier this year a study, published in the journal JACC: Heart Failure, revealed that preventing the development of hypertension, obesity and diabetes in mid-life — between the age of 45 and 55 years — can result in an 86 percent lower risk of heart failure throughout the remainder of life.

Prevention of these three risk factors by ages 45 and 55 years may substantially prolong heart failure-free survival, decrease heart failure-related morbidity and reduce the public health impact of heart failure.

Men at age 45 years without any of the three risk factors lived an average of 10.6 years longer free of heart failure, while women at age 45 without any of the three risk factors lived an average of 14.9 years longer without heart failure, the research showed.

Although these traditional risk factors are same in both elderly men and women, the symptoms of heart disease appear to be different in them.

“While men have more incidence of heart attack as their first symptom, women have more atypical symptoms like feeling tired, lack of energy, easy fatigability. Depression can also be a symptom of heart disease in women,” explained Mukesh Goel, Senior Consultant (Cardiology) at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals.

Women also tend to have a slightly delayed onset of heart disease compared to men.

“They also have some unique risk factors like relatively high testosterone levels prior to menopause, increasing hypertension during menopause, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis,” Ghose noted.

A proper diet that is rich in low or saturated transfats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and healthy oils, like mustard oil may help decrease the risk of heart disease in old age.

Due to its ideal ratio of fatty acids and natural antioxidants, mustard oil is among the healthiest edible oils.

“Mustard oil contains glucosinolate that fights microbes and has powerful antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory powers; hence it is a lot more than just a cooking medium,” said Umesh Verma, spokesperson of P Mark Mustard Oil.

“A study by the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that switching to mustard oil as a cooking medium reduced the risks of coronary artery disease by more than 70 percent,” said Vivek Puri, Managing Director of Puri Oil Mills.

Moreover, reducing tobacco use, engaging in physical activity for at least 30 minutes every day of the week, eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, and limiting salt intake to less than one teaspoon a day, can help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

According to American Heart Association recommendations, at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity five days a week, or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity three days a week, or a combination of the two may boost cardiovascular health.

Apart from these primary prevention measures, proper screening in both men and women at regular intervals is imperative.

“Men at 35 years of age and women at 40 years should get their base level health check. Any deranged parameters should be treated with lifestyle changes and appropriate medicines at the earliest,” Goel stressed.

IANS

Health

Decoded: How Omega-3 fatty acid helps inhibit cancer’s spread

Published

on

fish oil-WEFORNEWS

New York, July 16: While eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, certain nuts and seeds, have been known to prevent heart diseases and arthritis, a new research, led by one of Indian-origin, showed that omega-3 fatty byproducts may also have anti-cancer effects.

The new study, led by Aditi Das from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, US, showed that when the human body metabolises omega-3 fatty acids, it produces a class of molecules called endocannabinoid epoxides, or EDP-EAs. These have anti-inflammatory properties and can inhibit cancer’s growth and spread.

The EDP-EAs have similar properties to cannabinoids found in marijuana — but without the psychotropic effects — and they target the same receptor in the body that cannabis does.

“We have a built-in endocannabinoid system which is anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing. Now we see it is also anti-cancer, stopping the cells from proliferating or migrating,” said study leader Aditi Das from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“These molecules could address multiple problems: cancer, inflammation and pain,” Das added.

For the study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, the team studied the effect of the molecule in mice with tumours of osteosarcoma — a bone cancer that is not only painful but also difficult to treat.

The results showed that the endocannabinoids slowed the growth of tumours and blood vessels, inhibited the cancer cells from migrating and caused cancer cell death.

The higher concentrations of EDP-EAs did kill cancer cells, but not as effectively as other chemotherapeutic drugs on the market. But, the compounds slowed tumour growth by inhibiting new blood vessels from forming to supply the tumour with nutrients. They also prevented interactions between the cells, and most significantly, they appeared to stop cancerous cells from migrating.

While dietary consumption of omega-3 fatty acids can lead to EDP-EAs, for those with cancer, something concentrated and fast acting is needed, Das said.

“That’s where the endocannabinoid epoxide derivatives come into play – you could make a concentrated dose of the exact compound that’s most effective against the cancer. You could also mix this with other drugs such as chemotherapies,” she added.

IANS
Continue Reading

Health

Regulation of healthcare needed to check corruption: Salman Khurshid

Published

on

Salman Khurshid

New Delhi, July 12 : Congress leader Salman Khurshid on Thursday said a strong regulatory system is needed to check widespread corruption in the Indian healthcare sector where 25 per cent of the money spent on health is lost due to fraud.

“What you need really is a profound regulatory system. Regulation is itself something that can go wrong but if we have a good clear regulatory system it will help,” he said at the launch of book “Healers or Predators? Healthcare Corruption in India”.

Khurshid said private hospitals who get land from the government are obliged to provide 30 per cent of their beds to the poor for free but these obligations are hardly met. Patients with no real ailment and hence no expenditure are admitted to account for the 30 per cent.

The former Union Law Minister also said even the judges are not familiar with what constitutes a medical malpractice.

“We could have a death because of cardiac attack as the patient was put through tests that were not advisable and all that the hospital says is pay and we will release the body. How many cases have you heard where sanctions have been imposed on such malpractice?”

The book, which highlights corruption in India’s healthcare and medical system, is a compilation of various reports written by medical doctors on the various crises plaguing the sector and edited by Samiran Nundy, Keshav Desiraju and Sanjay Nagral.

BMJ Group Non-executive Director David Berger, who first highlighted deep-rooted but widely accepted corruption in Indian healthcare, said he was struck by the lack of trust between doctors and patients that destroys the healing relationship.

BMJ, a subsidiary of the British Medical Association, is a provider of journals, clinical decision support, events and medical education.

“The solutions are upstream, not downstream. Ranting about individual doctors being corrupt is no use. As a start, the Medical Council of India (MCI) needs to be reformed or replaced by an effective system of professional regulation where doctors are held to account,” Berger said.

Gastrointestinal surgeon and writer Nundy said there is wide asymmetry of information — doctors know everything and the patients know nothing. Patients look at doctors as god or near god and it is terrible to betray that trust, he said.

He said the Indian health system is the second most corrupt sector after police, as per a report by Transparency International. As part of solution, the country needs to first accept the National Medical Commission Bill, he said.

Other panelists at the book launch expressed deep concern over the Modi government’s flagship healthcare protection scheme, popularly called Modicare, because of the lack of basic regulation of the private sector, which accounts for 70 per cent of the country’s hospitals. The government will be heavily dependent on the private sector for the success of Ayushman Bharat.

However, NITI Ayog Member Health Vinod Paul, who believes self-regulation is essential, believes in the power of technology and analytics to raise a red flag at the possible points of corruption, and then “match it with a deterrent in terms of penalties and prosecution”.

“I think in a transparent, information technology driven system using analytics and artificial intelligence gives us an additional, very powerful tool which the developed nations have used to avert cases of corruption,” he said.

Continue Reading

Blog

India heading for comprehensive healthcare crisis: Amartya Sen

The Medical Council of India (MCI), which aims to provide quality medical care to all Indians through promotion and maintenance of excellence in medical education, Sen blames the organisation for not only failing to perform its duties but also for its designated role of looking after medical colleges.

Published

on

Amartya Sen

India spends just a little over one per cent of its GDP on healthcare and this is leading the country into “a comprehensive healthcare crisis”, according to Nobel laureate and noted economist Amartya Sen, who has called for greater allocation on healthcare in India and highlighted what he calls “three general failures” in the country’s healthcare segment.

“The fact that India allocates only a little over 1 per cent of its gross domestic product on public healthcare contrasts sharply, for example, with nearly three times as much by China. We reap as we sow, and cannot expect to get what other countries achieve by allocating much more resources — as a proportion of their respective levels of the gross national product– to healthcare,” Sen writes in his elaborate foreword to “Healers or Predators? Healthcare Corruption in India”, which will be launched here on Thursday.

Sen, a recipient of the Bharat Ratna in 1999, further claims that the entire organisation of Indian healthcare has become “deeply flawed”, leading the country into “a comprehensive healthcare crisis”.

“Despite being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, India ranks among the poorest achievers of good health. The shortfall of India’s health achievements compared with those of, say, China or Thailand is large and has been growing larger. Even within South Asia, Bangladesh and Nepal have overtaken India in health accomplishment, including in life expectancy.

“If India’s bad record in healthcare is not much discussed in the Indian press, this neglect does not indicate the presence of a tolerable level of healthcare in India, but reflects instead the narrow reach of the Indian news media, with its traditional neglect of elementary education and healthcare,” writes the 84-year-old economist.

Sen has extensively written on welfare economics and social justice and in the given book, he also highlights the plight of patients suffering at the hands of “private caregivers”.

He says private clinics “will not budge” without “the promise of payment”. Noting that even though some public services are offered freely, Sen highlights that many critically important services are denied unless the patient can cough up demanded sums, which can be “unaffordable” for many underprivileged Indians.

Taking a dig at the Medical Council of India (MCI), which aims to provide quality medical care to all Indians through promotion and maintenance of excellence in medical education, Sen blames the organisation for not only failing to perform its duties but also for its designated role of looking after medical colleges.

“In particular, in the use of the power — and responsibility — to set up new private medical colleges, there seems to be clear evidence of fairly straightforward corruption,” he claims.

He ends the over 1,500-word foreword to this “splendid, if depressing, book” with what he calls “three general failures” in India’s healthcare segment — “the amazing neglect of primary healthcare compared with health interventions needed at later stages”; “India’s hasty and premature reliance on private healthcare, which goes hand in hand with neglect of public healthcare”; and the deficiancy of “informed public discussion on healthcare” in the country.

Published by Oxford University Press, “Healers or Predators? Healthcare Corruption in India” has been edited by by Samiran Nundy, Keshav Desiraju and Sanjay Nagral.

“This hard-hitting volume”, according to the publisher, “shows a mirror to the society and, more specifically, to those associated with the health sector — on how healers, in many cases, are shifting shape to becoming predators”.

(Saket Suman can be contacted at [email protected])

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular