How Air Pollution affects our health
I am Dr. Rajiva Gupta, senior consultant in Internal Medicine and Diabetology. I have my own clinic at Upjaar Wellness, at Ashok Vihar Phase II, New Delhi. Today, we will discuss pollution. We all know, we keep on reading it on the news, in the media that pollution is creating a havoc in many parts of the country, Delhi is the worst affected by this.
Now, what is pollution? Pollution is the introduction of contaminants in our environment, be it air, water or soil. As far as human beings are concerned, they are most affected by the contamination in the air because this is the problem which all of us are encountering so frequently and it is at its peak. So, air pollution consists of solid particles in gases and many pollutants are carcinogens. Apart from these dire consequences, air pollution is also having a great effect on the lungs, the bronchial and heart which affects the quality of life, the productivity of life in the individual as well as its health consequences. People who are most affected by pollution are the elderly as I said in the beginning, elderly and the children.
Elderly people those who are already having diseases like cardiac diseases and lung disease, their pre-existing conditions get aggravated. Patients develop shortness of breath; many times they land up into hospitals. Patients who are having bronchitis or asthma, their conditions get aggravated, their usage of medicine gets increased and the quality of life suffers. In certain cases, they become critically ill and get admitted in Intensive Care Units. Till now, it was understood that the pollution only affects the lungs but recently we have come to know that it also affects the heart and the mechanism is not clearly known but then patients who suffer pollution or are exposed to pollution they have problems related to their heart such as heart failure, heart attack, etc., and they land up in hospital. So, we see that pollution has got a far reaching influence both on the quality of life; the seriousness of illnesses, and sometimes it may even cause mortality, not directly but indirectly.
How can pollution be prevented? Pollution prevention is a pretty tough task because it involves changes in the policy level, at the administrative level. On an individual basis, one can use masks so the best masks are called the N95 masks which are expensive but they claim to reduce the inhalation of pollutants. The use of air purifiers, again they have got a, they have a lot of controversy about how they are effective or not but certainly the weight of evidence suggests that to some extent they do help in getting down the prevalence and incidence of pollution related respiratory problems. So, therefore, people are advised not to go out for walks in the early mornings because that puts them at a greater risk of exposure to pollution and try to exercise at home. Usages of masks, installation of purifiers at home and at work places are the steps which could minimize the level of pollution.
If you have any other further queries, you can consult me at lybrate.com.
Here are Reasons, Effects, Precautions of Hypertension.
Hypertension is a growing problem in the entire world and especially in the developing countries like India. Last surveys have found that hypertension is prevalent in almost 30% of adult population of India. Why is hypertension or high blood pressure increasing? The reasons are multi-factorial essentially because of bad lifestyle which includes obesity, diets like processed foods or restaurant food which is very high in salt, increase in mental stress and lack of physical activity. In addition to that, as the population ages, so does the prevalence of hypertension increases.
Why is hypertension so important to control? The reason is that researches found that hypertension is one of the most important modifiable factors for heart disease and strokes. Therefore, if a patient has got hypertension and if the blood pressure is controlled adequately, then the chances of developing a stroke or heart attack or heart failure or kidney failure or blindness get reduced markedly. However once the patient does not control the blood pressure and these complications occur, then it becomes a lifelong medical problem and adds to the quality of life- survival as well as the financial burden on the patient and his family. So blood pressure needs to be controlled meticulously.
Now, how to go about it? We, as physicians, always measure blood pressure of every patient who comes to our clinic irrespective of his symptoms and we are able to identify which are the patients who are likely to develop hypertension. If a patient comes to the clinic and his blood pressure is somewhere around 130 to 135, then we ask the patient to get a recheck done to see if the pressure is persistently elevated. At this point, I would like to mention that overall the agreed definition of hypertension is persistent blood pressure more than 140 upper blood pressure which is called the systolic blood pressure and more than 90 which is the diastolic blood pressure.
Secondly, if we find that the patient is having blood pressure more than this level then we give him counseling about lifestyle modification like control of diet, exercise, to get his other parameters checked like cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels and we discuss with the patient about the importance of blood pressure and treatment for blood pressure medication. Once we control blood pressure, we find that the patient’s quality of life improves and the prevalence of complications is also reduced markedly. Blood pressure control has been found to be one of the most cost effective modalities of treatment. Cost effectiveness means the cost of treatment of blood pressure is than when the complications occur.
As I had mentioned earlier, that once the complications because of hypertension occur then it leads markedly to financial burden on the patient’s family. Therefore, blood pressure is important to recognize. Ideally what is to be done is to prevent the occurrence of blood pressure by adopting a healthy lifestyle. If blood pressure has already occurred, then we should consult the doctor to treat it adequately in addition to modification of lifestyle which has already been addressed to. In this way, it will go a long way in reducing the burden of hypertension on the entire society.
In case, any of our viewers or listeners are interested in seeking any query on hypertension or seeking treatment of blood pressure, you can log on to the lybrate.com homepage and look for Dr. Rajiva Gupta.read more
Hello. I’m Dr Rajiva Gupta. I’m a senior consultant in internal medicine at Ashok Vihar and Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Park. My special areas of interest are diabetes and care of the elderly.
Now talking about care for the elderly, the branch of medicine that deals with the care of the elders is called Geriatrics anthology. The elderly patients present peculiar problems. They present not just discreet conditions, but with discreet syndromes. A syndrome is a constellation of symptoms and signs. In common, they are called the geriatric syndromes. The common geriatric syndromes are false, impaired cognition, deficiencies in a hearing, difficulty in vision, delirium. These syndromes are important because we have to investigate several different causes. For example, if the patient falls, it is not necessary that he may be having weakness in his legs. It is highly possible that the patient will be suffering from an acute infection or from some electrolyte imbalance or from CVA or cardiovascular problem. The patient is having disorientation, he is not oriented, he may have necessarily, he may be having, that he is having infection of the brain, he could as well be having electrolyte imbalance or any infection or a cardio-vascular problem. It means that the syndromes present, similar syndromes present with different types of illness in the elderly. The reason is that the physiological reserves of the elderly are just on the borderline and any acute insult that results in these syndromes. The approach to geriatric patients is slightly different from the way we approach people of other age.
So there are two components, one is the Curative component and another is comfort, or the palliative. That depends much on the functional ability of the patient. So if you have got an elderly person, above 80 years, he does regular exercise, enjoys his life, goes out for walks, the treatment of any condition in such a patient would be on the lines the management is done for a younger or a middle aged patient. Whereas, on the other end, if the patient is 70 years or 75 years, and he suffers from a problem, he is immobile, confined to bed, he is not able to take care of his own daily needs. For such patient, the aim would be to have a comfort care. So, the treatment of the elderly has to be individualized and surprisingly, there are not many guidelines which are available for treatment of elderly in different, for different medical conditions. SO the treatment for each individual has to be individualized, considering his individual circumstances. For example, if we take a very common problem like sugar, and we call that, there is a parameter called the Glycosylated hemoglobin, so we say that glycosylated hemoglobin for a normal should be less than 7% or less than 6.5 %. Bit for the elderly, because they may be having other illnesses, they may be having kidney disease or may be living alone in the house, they may not be able to take care, so in such patients, we will not go in for a very strict control, we’ll go in for a modest control, where the range may be say, around 8 or 8.5.
As physicians, we need to be aware that the number of elderly people is increasing, we need to be aware about their special needs, we have to give time once they come to our clinic and we have to define their problems and treat them accordingly.
I will be most willing and happy to answer to any questions, which can be approached through the lybrate website or they can seek consultation by telephone or physical consultation.read more
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However, with an annual shot of influenza vaccine, you can stay immune to the infection, and more the number of people getting vaccinated, lesser the number of contagious infections.
How does the influenza vaccine work?
Influenza vaccine leads to the production of antibodies in the body within two weeks after taking the vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against the infection from the viruses which are present in the vaccine. The seasonal influenza vaccine shields the body from the flu viruses that are most rampant during various seasons.
Viruses that you are protected from
The traditional flu vaccine which is more commonly referred to as trivalent vaccine is meant to protect against three types of flu viruses. These are:
- Two type A strains
- Influenza B virus
There are also flu vaccines available which protect against four types of viruses known as the quadrivalent viruses. They protect from the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine along with an extra influenza B virus.
Types of flu vaccines
The doctors recommend using injectable influenza vaccines that include an inactivated influenza vaccine, as well as a recombinant influenza vaccine. As discussed earlier, there are two types of vaccines available.
The trivalent vaccine:
This vaccine includes standard dose shots. These are manufactured using the virus that is grown in eggs. Most of the flu shots are given in the muscle in the arm.
- The high dose trivalent shot is generally given to people aged over 65 years
- The recombinant trivalent shot is given to people that are 18 years and older.
The quadrivalent influenza vaccine:
Quadrivalent influenza shots are approved for people of varying age groups. This includes older people and infants as young as 6 months. Sometimes, an intradermal influenza shot is injected into a muscle. This shot makes use of a much finer needle as compared to the regular shot needles.
The nasal spray vaccination:
The nasal spray flu vaccination, commonly referred to as LAIV, is a type of attenuated vaccine that has live, weakened virus. An alternative to the needle shots, the nasal spray can be administered to anyone between ages 2 and 49 and are not pregnant. Both the nasal spray and the needle shots provide immunity to the seasonal flu infections and have proven to be very effective.
The symptoms of seasonal flu infections range from a cough and runny nose to fevers and chills. It can cause moderate to severe discomfort to the patient, and the infection is contagious.
Hence, to prevent yourself from getting sick and spreading to others, getting vaccinated with Influenza vaccine every year is crucial.
The key to a moderately healthy life is often vested in the kind of lifestyle you lead. Certain alterations in your daily routine can bring marked changes in your overall health. The amount of sleep a person gets on a daily basis decides his or her temperament, productivity, and most importantly, the person’s health. If you thought sleep was only a means to relax, you were very wrong.
Getting in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, is one of the most important strategies for sleeping better. If you keep a regular sleep-wake schedule you’ll feel much more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times, even if you only alter your sleep schedule by an hour or two. A few effective ways can be followed to help the case of sleep deprivation.
- Exercising regularly can have far reaching effects on your sleep patterns- Lack of physical exertion could be the reason behind light or irregular sleep patterns. To remedy the situation, you need to exercise regularly. Heavy cardiovascular exercises are not always necessary; you could do a set of free- hand exercises each day for a stretch of twenty minutes to keep healthy. This helps you to get good sleep at night.
- Eat healthy to sleep well- The kind of diet you follow can also affect your sleep. If your intake of caffeine, nicotine or alcohol is too high, you are sure to face problems in sleeping. It is necessary for you to eat a light dinner; being overly full or being on an empty stomach can ruin your sleep too. Avoid greasy foods, especially at night, as acidity spoils your intentions of getting a peaceful sleep.
- Make sure your night’s sleep is associated with one particular ritual- It is best to accustom your body with a ritual that you particularly carry out before going to bed. For instance, you could take a shower in warm water or massage your head with hot oil before retiring for the day. Such a ritual signals your brain cells that they are required to get some sleep now.
- Keep away from electronic gadgets before going to bed- The bright light of television sets, laptop screens or even cell phones can interfere with your sleep routine. Spending a lot of time on electronic gadgets at night excites your brain neurons, preventing them from any kind of relaxation.
- Cut down on sleep during the day- While twenty to thirty minute long power naps during daytime can help restore drained out energy, longer naps are actually harmful. If you sleep for long stretches in the day, you will invariably fail to get sufficient sleep at night. Hence, remind yourself to not fall prey to the temptations of a comfortable bed during daytime.
Haemophilia is a type of disorder in which blood does not clots easily or in a normal way. Haemophilia A is one of the common types of disease which causes due to deficiency of blood clotting factor VIII. Haemophilia B is another type which is caused due to the deficiency of blood clotting factor IX. Haemophilia is a lifetime condition which has no exact cure but can be managed by treatment. Haemophilia is a hereditary disorder which is mostly seen in men but is also observed in women sometimes if they carry the gene.
Symptoms of Haemophilia
Symptoms of haemophilia can vary depending on the severity of the disease. In most of the cases, bleeding is the common symptom of haemophilia. Sometimes, haemophilia causes internal bleeding which if left untreated can cause joint pains. There are some other general symptoms seen in people suffering from haemophilia. They are listed here.
- Bleeding through the nose
- Bleeding seen in faeces or urine
- Continuous bleeding when removal of tooth, surgery and when injured
- Unprompted bleeding
- Bleeding seen in joints which lead to swelling and pain
- Bleeding seen in urinary and gastrointestinal tracts
In some cases, internal bleeding happens in the brain which may come into notice during an injury. Such type of internal bleeding can be detected by the following symptoms.
- A severe headache
- Neck pain
- Severe stiffness in the body
- Abrupt weakness
- Problems in walking
Treatment for Haemophilia
The standard treatment of haemophilia involves mainly in replacement of missing clotting factor. As haemophilia is caused due to deficiency of factor VIII, the treatment involves the injection of factor VIII concentrates into the body which can be identified depending on the severity of bleeding, the site of bleeding and the age of the patient. Depending on the seriousness of the disease, factor VIII concentrates are given to the patient before going for surgery or dental extractions. This can help in preventing the bleeding.
As haemophilia is a hereditary disease, it is advisable to concentrate on prevention rather than cure of the disease. In order to prevent the disease, it is wise to undergo a genetic counselling.