Saturday November 25, 2017

Too much salt intake could be causing major heart diseases and more

A recent study shows that the Indian diet has a dangerous amount of salt intake that contributes to the raising rate of major heart problems

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Representational image, courtesy: pixabay

February 28, 2017: Be it summer or winter, we Indians are bigtime fans of salty food. Snack time without munching on chatpata fries, samosas, chaats and other namkeens is out of our imaginations. Even though most of us are aware of the fact that too much salt is not good for our health, we often convince ourselves to turn a blind eye, or ignore health concerns to keep a check amidst all the celebrations and get-togethers. Just a little pinch of salt can transform an average dish into a lip-smacking treat. The reality is salt as an ingredient is not completely detrimental for our health. Natural forms of salt contain large amounts of various important minerals that can prove to be beneficial for us. But the refined variety, which is known as table salt and that’s what we use in our homes to cook our meals, is devoid of any goodness. So, consuming large quantities of refined table salt can escalate blood pressure and other ailments.

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According to a recent observation, we Indians love salt a little too much. The study which was conducted by an Australian firm has shown that an average Indian consumes about 119% more salt than the WHO recommendation. WHO guidelines suggest that salt intake of an individual should be limited to 2gm per day. The average intake by Indians was recorded to be 10.98 gms, more than 5 times the limit. This is alarming given the rising rate of Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs)in India in the recent year. Records show that between 2010 and 2013, around 23% of all deaths in India were caused by such Cardiovascular diseases.

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The study, conducted by George Institute of Global Health (GIGH), was published in The Journal of Hypertension. Doctors have always put importance on the discussions regarding the excess intake of Salt. Too much salt in your body can result in a High Blood Pressure, which in turn can become the cause of several other heart-related health hazards.

The World Health Organisation believes that high sodium consumption (more than 2 gm of sodium which is equivalent to 5 gm salt per day) and insufficient potassium intake (less than 3.5 gm per day) are the reasons behind high blood pressure and are more likely to increase the risk of stroke and heart disease.
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Dr Sanjay Kalra, Consultant Endocrinologist, Bharti Hospital, Karnal, and Vice President, South Asian Federation of Endocrine Societies, informed, “Processed and fast foods have become the norm since they are easier to make and carry, and consume. Consumption of pulses, fruits and vegetables has reduced.” A processed food diet is full of harmful fats, sugar, carbohydrates and excess salt leading to conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular illness.

He also mentioned, “High blood pressure can also lead to kidney failure by causing extra strain on the arteries.” The study has also noted that every measure of salt intake made in India except one has provided an estimate above the WHO-recommended maximum consumption level of 5 gm/day. The best estimate obtained by this meta-analysis suggests that average salt consumption in India is twice the recommended maximum level. Another relevant study, published in the British Medical Journal, has pointed out that the burden of several lifestyle disorders such as hypertension and heart disease can be reduced by a government-supported national policy on reducing sodium intake by 10 per cent over 10 years.

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According to Dr K K Aggarwal, National President, Indian Medical Association (IMA), “While sodium is needed by the body in certain amounts, an excess of it is very harmful. Excess salt is directly related to blood pressure. Increase in salt consumption raises the sodium level, thereby increasing blood pressure.” “It can also escalate the risk of major cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease, heart diseases, and strokes.

So it’s about time everyone should start keeping a strict watch on our salt intake.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang

 

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WHO launches a new global effort to end TB by 2030

The announcement was made in the Global Ministerial Conference in Moscow.

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Dr. Simon Angelo (L) examines Iman Steven suffering from tuberculosis, held by her mother (R) at the hospital of Doctors Without Borders (MSF), June 15, 2016, at the Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Malakal, South Sudan. VOA

Delegates from 114 countries have agreed to take urgent action to end tuberculosis (TB) by 2030, the WHO said.

The announcement on Friday came as the delegates gathered in Moscow for the first WHO global ministerial conference on ending tuberculosis, Xinhua news agency reported.

The delegates promised to achieve strengthen health systems and improve access to the people regarding TB prevention and care so that no one is left behind.

They also agreed to mobilize sufficient and sustainable financing through increased domestic and international investments to close gaps in implementation and research.

Resources are expected to advance research and development of new tools to diagnose, treat and prevent TB, and to build accountability through a framework to track and review progress on ending TB.

“Today marks a critical landmark in the fight to end TB,” said World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“It signals a long overdue global commitment to stop the death and suffering caused by this ancient killer.”

Though global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 53 million lives since 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by 37 per cent, progress in many countries has stalled, global targets are off-track and persistent gaps remain in TB care and prevention, according to the WHO.

As a result, TB still kills more people than any other infectious disease. Due to its antimicrobial resistance, TB is also the leading killer of people with HIV.

Representatives at the meeting, which was attended by over 1,000 participants, also promised to minimize the risk and spread of drug resistance and do more to engage people and communities affected by or at risk of TB. (IANS)

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Goodbye Holy Smoke, Vatican City bans Sale of Cigarettes

The Vatican, a tiny walled city-state surrounded by Rome, is one of the few states to ban smoking.

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The faithful gather in front of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. VOA

Vatican City, November 10, 2017 : Pope Francis has ordered a ban on the sale of cigarettes inside the Vatican from next year because of health concerns, a spokesman said on Thursday.

“The motive is very simple: the Holy See cannot be cooperating with a practice that is clearly harming the health of people,” spokesman Greg Burke said in a statement.

He cited World World Health Organization (WHO) statistics that smoking causes more than seven million deaths worldwide every year.

Cigarettes have been sold at a discounted price to Vatican employees and pensioners.

Vatican employees are allowed to buy five cartons of cigarettes a month. Many Italians ask their non-smoking friends who work in the Vatican to buy cigarettes for them because they cost much less than in Italy, where they are subject to heavy taxes.

Burke acknowledged that the sale of cigarettes has been a source of revenue for the Holy See, adding, “However, no profit can be legitimate if it is costing people their lives.”

The spokesman said the sale of large cigars would continue at least for the time being because the smoke is not inhaled.

The Vatican, a tiny walled city-state surrounded by Rome, is one of the few states to ban smoking. Bhutan, where smoking is deemed bad for one’s karma, banned the sale of tobacco in 2005. (VOA)

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Neurologists say rising air pollution can cause stroke among adults

The WHO states that 4.3 million people a year in India die from the exposure to household air pollution, which is among the highest in the world.

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Research bodies estimate that the number of fragments of dead cells in the bloodstream increase with higher levels of pollution. Pixabay

New Delhi, October 29, 2017 : As pollution levels deteriorate in the National Capital Region, health experts have warned that continuous exposure to polluted air has the potential to cause a stroke among adults.

Alhough it was earlier believed that pollution only increased the risk of heart problems, it also possesses the capability to damage inner linings of veins and arteries.

“In the current scenario, the situation is getting worse. Many young patients in the 30-40 age group suffer from stroke. We get around 2-3 patients almost every month. The number of young stroke patients has almost doubled as compared to last few years. Studies suggest major risk factors include soaring air pollution,” said Praveen Gupta, Director Neurology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram.

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Research bodies estimate that the number of fragments of dead cells in the bloodstream increased with higher levels of pollution. Polluted environment promote stroke incidences more pervasively and at an earlier stage than previously thought.

Nearly 15 million people annually suffer a stroke worldwide, of which around six million die and five million are left with permanent disabilities such as loss of sight and speech, paralysis and confusion.

On the occasion of World Stroke Day, October 29, the experts emphasised that indoor air pollution caused by combustion of solid fuels is equally contributing to the stroke burden in the society.

On an average, the internal air pollution in Indian rural homes exceeds the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms by 20 times.

“Women inhaling the household fumes are at a 40 per cent higher risk of getting a stroke. The reason being the carbon monoxide and particulate matter from burning solid fuels tend to reduce the levels of HDL (high density lipoprotein). This in turn prevents the removal of LDL (low density lipoprotein) from the body leading to hardening of the arteries,” said Jaideep Bansal, head neurologist at Saroj Super Speciality Hospital.

He added that the rise in the levels of LDL, or harmful fat, thereby raises the risk of a clot, blocking blood supply to the brain and causing stroke.

More than 90 per cent of the global stroke burden is linked to modifiable risk factors, of which internal air pollution tops the list. Other preventable factors include hypertension, a diet low in fresh fruits and whole grain, outdoor air pollution, high BMI and smoking.

The WHO states that 4.3 million people a year in India die from the exposure to household air pollution, which is among the highest in the world.

According to surveys, over 30 crore people in India use the traditional stoves or open fires to cook or heat their homes with solid fuels (coal, wood, charcoal, crop waste).

Poor ventilation and such inefficient practices, especially in rural India, mean the smoke and ambient air in households exceeds the acceptable levels of fine particles by at least 100-fold.

According to neurologists, recognisable symptoms, known often as a ‘mini stroke’ will occur prior to getting a stroke attack which is often known as a mini-stroke.

“Though it lasts only for a minute but certainly indicates the onset of a major stroke attack within 48-72 hours. Delay in treatment can lead to loss of 2 million neurons each minute. This happens due to the fact that the blood flow to certain part of the brain is blocked by the clot formed due to inhalation of compound like carbon monoxide and particulate matter,” said Atul Prasad, Director and Senior Neurology Consultant at BLK Super Specialty Hospital. (IANS)