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Combating the unhealthy five

Every Monday morning you attribute your bleary self to post-weekend laziness, but may not realise the domino effect at work. With less sleep, exercise and the greens you invite health problems

Published: 27th May 2012 10:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd June 2012 10:34 PM   |  A+A-

Every Monday morning you attribute your bleary self to post-weekend laziness, but may not realise the domino effect at work. With less sleep, exercise and the greens you invite health problems that are more than just grogginess. Even though our lifestyles force us to think ‘out-of-the-box’, our bodies still work in the same conventional way. You might trick your brain into believing that your present lifestyle will do wonders for you, but your body eventually gives up.

Many of us do not realise that deficiency of sleep, healthy food and timely exercise can trickle down to several other maladies such as obesity, chronic heart ailments, cancer and diabetes, to name a few. On the other hand, those of us who do know, ignore it till we can squeeze every ounce of energy out of our bodies.

Dr Sanjay Mittal, director, clinical cardiology and research, Medanta Medicity, Gurgaon, says “India is grappling with two kinds of diseases — communicable and non-communicable.” Mittal attributes it to reasons such as stress, lack of a healthy lifestyle and exercise. The urban population is increasingly suffering from diabetes, hypertension, chronic heart ailments and cancer. The other problem could be communicable diseases. Due to lack of sanitary provisions or clean water supply, many suffer from problems such as dengue and other water-borne diseases. As many as 45 million coronary artery disease cases have been diagnosed in India in 2010 alone and the figure is expected to go up to 60 million by 2015, besides a large number of rheumatic and congenital heart disease cases.

Another problem that we perhaps know, but over look is childhood and adult obesity. Some of the common symptoms include loud and chronic (ongoing) snoring. Pauses may occur in the snoring or you may have daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, memory, learning, or concentration problems or feel irritable or depressed, or have mood swings. You also may have rapid, shallow breathing. During a physical exam, your doctor might hear abnormal heart sounds while listening to your heart with a stethoscope. He or she also might notice that the opening to your throat is small and your neck is larger than normal.

Dr Ajay Sachdev, gastro surgeon, Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon, says “This is a major concern and we are all busy ignoring it. Given our love for junk food, we let fatty infiltration into our body which leads to liver damage. There have been several cases of liver transplant in young children. A recent study conducted in the metropolitan revealed that students from elite schools had almost 60 per cent fatty infiltration.”  The problem of obesity often leads to other ailments and is one of the most crucial problems in our country. Dr Ramen Goel, obesity surgeon, Nova Medical Centre, Mumbai, explains, “Obesity is the mother of all diseases and it is increasing by the day. This is not only a cosmetic issue but also leads to all other lifestyle related problems. It is more chronic because we do not have preventive measures such as food labelling and reduction of advertisement of junk food in our country. Plus these measures will materialise in eight to 10 years.” He says that on an average he operates around 150 children from across the country. “We see children coming from the North Eastern states and some from down south to get operated upon. Such patients are usually already suffering from problems such as diabetes or heart ailments,” he says.

While obesity is a major concern, diabetes has acquired the number one position. According to the International Diabetic Federation, India leads the world in the number of people suffering from diabetes and by 2030, nearly nine per cent of the country’s population is likely to be affected from the disease. Dr Chnadrika Kambam, consultant, internal medicine, Columbia Asia, Bangalore, explains the trend, “Diabetes is a major concern to look out for this year. Caused due to genetic transmission or lousy eating habits, it could lead to fatal problems. For instance in south India, people are primarily rice eaters and take in a large quantity of carbohydrates which can also sometimes lead to this problem.” Type-1 diabetes can occur at any age. However, it is most often diagnosed in children, adolescents and young adults. The early symptoms are thirst, hunger, constant fatigue, blurry eyesight, losing feeling or tingling sensation in feet, loss in weight and frequent urination. She says only by following a disciplined diet and exercising for about an hour and a half can we try to stay away from fatal health problems.

Several metropolitan cities are now witnessing a boom in clinical testing. Anubhav Anusha, founder and managing director, Nutragene, a genetic testing for preventive healthcare company says, “This year has seen many people come for testing Type-II diabetes, lung cancer, heart diseases, brain related problems such as Alzheimer and Parkinson and pre-natal screening. We have so far tested 100 people for diabetes, oncology and heart diseases. These seem to be on the top of the chart this year.”

Doctors say this year will see increased cases of diabetes, obesity and hypertension. They will be among the five major health concerns, other two being cancer and cardiac diseases.



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