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How Regularly Should You Check Your Blood Pressure; Top 10 Reasons Why You Should

The Kashmir Monitor

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Hypertension or high blood pressure is one of the most common health conditions that people in India suffer from. World Hypertension Day 2018 is organised by World Hypertension League with the theme “Know your numbers”, which focuses on making people more aware about high blood pressure. High blood pressure is lifestyle disease, which is caused by living a poor lifestyle, eating unhealthy and salty foods in excess and lack of exercise to name a few. This World Hypertension Day, we speak to Dr. Vivek K. Nambiar to know the nitty-gritties of high blood pressure, why is the incidence of the disease so high in India, the major causative factors of high blood pressure and much more.

This World Hypertension Day, Dr Vivek gives the following reasons for checking your blood pressure regularly:

1. High blood pressure or hypertension is the top life-taking lifestyle disease. It is very important to know about this disease because it is a silent killer. Hypertension does not give any symptoms.

 

2. Conditions like obesity and high blood sugar will all be characterised by a few common symptoms like feeling tired and fatigued all the time, frequent urination, infections and lethargy. However, there are no symptoms of the condition.

3. The only way to be aware of your blood pressure levels is by getting it measured regularly. All adults should get their blood pressure regularly. Cardiologist Dr Sameer Gupta says, “A person who is not suffering from hypertension and is above the age of 20, should get blood pressure checked once in 2 years if his/her blood pressure is found to be on normal levels. If you have pre-hypertension or someone whose blood pressure is usually on the higher end of normal levels, get your blood pressure checked every year. Hypertension patients who are on medicines should check their blood pressure a couple of times in a month to keep a check on fluctuations.”

4. This is not just for old people, but also for adults and young people. Blood pressure problems are becoming more common among the young because of change in lifestyle, eating habits, exercise habits and not getting adequate sleep.

5. If the condition is recognised at a very late stage, it can cause acute restlessness, stroke, damage to kidneys and vision. Hypertension can thus lead to damage of one or more organs if a person leaves it untreated for too long.

6. Hypertension is very common in India because of genetic tendencies for the condition here. Our dietary habits, which include excess salt consumption, make us more prone to risks of hypertension. Also, sedentary lifestyle habits in rural areas make the condition a very common problem in India. Excess intake of alcohol and regular smoking can make people more prone to risks of hypertension.

7. If you get hypertension at a young age, the complications can increase as you age with the condition. It can affect your heart and increase risks of heart disease. Kidney is affected very badly because of high blood pressure. In fact, hypertension is the most common cause of kidney failure.

8. The goal of observing World Hypertension Day is to make public more aware of the fact that they need to get their blood pressure checked regularly. The day is meant to make people understand about the silent nature of hypertension. This is why, the theme of World Hypertension Day 2018 is to find out the readings of your blood pressure.

9. The idea is to take maximum number of people to smaller clinics or medical camps where they can measure their blood pressure effectively. We need to find more and more people with hypertension and guide them regarding treatment of the disease.

10. Hypertension is one of the most underdiagnosed entities with no symptoms.

(Dr Sameer Gupta is Interventional Cardiologist at Metro Hospital, Noida and MP Heart Clinic, Greater Kailash)

(Dr. Vivek K. Nambiar is Head of Division of Stroke, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi)


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Health

Hepatitis A Causes and Symptoms

The Kashmir Monitor

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Generally speaking, hepatitis A is more common in parts of the planet that are developing. It’s for the fact that sanitation and food handling practices are by and large poor. However, medical experts say that living in developed countries can also put you at risk of having hepatitis A, but it’s really a rare occurrence.

Just like what’s mentioned earlier, hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus or HAV. It can be spread around by someone who has hepatitis A because he or she is a carrier of the virus behind it. It is said that a person with hepatitis A is most infectious about 2 weeks before he or she begins to experience signs and symptoms.

Here are some of the ways that hepatitis A is spread around:

 

Consumption of food that is prepared by a person who has hepatitis A. This is most especially true if he or she has not properly washed his or her hands.

Drinking of water that is contaminated with the hepatitis A virus.

Intake of raw or undercooked seafood obtained from contaminated water.

Close contact with someone who has hepatitis A. This includes having sexual intercourse with an infected person, especially when the rectal or anal area has been touched with the fingers, mouth or tongue.

Using illegal drugs, especially when paraphernalia contaminated with the hepatitis A virus are used.

Symptoms

Medical experts say that it may take a while before the various signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis A show up. They say that someone may experience them about 4 weeks after getting infected. It’s even possible for someone with hepatitis A to not experience any sign and symptom at all.

Some of the initial signs and symptoms of hepatitis A include:

Tiredness and malaise
Achy muscles and joints
Pain in the upper right section of the abdomen
Loss of appetite
Mild fever
Headaches
Sore throat
Diarrhea or constipation
Hives or raised rash that’s itchy

These initial signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis A can last anywhere from a few days only to a couple of weeks. Afterwards, as the infection of the liver progresses, the following may be experienced by the individual:

Jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin as well as the whites of the eyes (sclera)

Pale colored stools
Dark colored urine
Skin itching

Tenderness and swelling of the upper right section of the abdomen

Although it rarely happens, hepatitis A can cause liver failure. When such develops, the person who is infected may experience severe vomiting, frequent bruising, bleeding of the nose and gums, drowsiness and confusion.

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Health

Busting myths around blood donation

The Kashmir Monitor

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As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, ideally, one per cent of the total population should regularly donate blood to meet the requirements, which is anywhere between 1% and 3% of country’s population that would require blood in a year.

Contrary to the myth about blood donations making a person weak or anaemic, the body replenishes the lost blood in a matter of a few days, say experts.

“A healthy bone marrow makes a constant supply of red cells, plasma and platelets, so there is no question of becoming weak, much less anaemic. It is a myth and should not deter people from donating blood,” says Dr RK Singal, chairman, internal medicine department, BLK super-speciality Hospital.

 

The donors can give either whole blood or specific blood components, as there is sophisticated equipment available these days that extract relevant components from blood and the rest of the blood can be transfused back to the donor.

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, ideally, one per cent of the total population should regularly donate blood to meet the requirements, which is anywhere between 1% and 3% of country’s population that would require blood in a year.

About 65% of India’s population is young and if this section donates blood regularly, chances of the country facing blood shortage will be remote. Hence, there is all the more reason for people, especially youngsters, to come forward and be regular blood donors.

How to prepare

Have enough fruit juice and water in the night and morning before you donate

Have a full meal 3 hours before donation; never on an empty stomach

Have some rest for about 10-15 minutes after donation

Have some snacks or a juice with high sugar content after donation

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Health

Erectile dysfunction’s connection with lifestyle

The Kashmir Monitor

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By Dr Anjani Kumar Agrawal

healthy-lifestyle-can-reverse-effects-of-hypertensionAll over the world, but perhaps more so in India, men are embarrassed to admit that they may have a problem getting or keeping an erection — a condition known as erectile dysfunction (ED).

All over the world, but perhaps more so in India, men are embarrassed to admit that they may have a problem getting or keeping an erection — a condition known as erectile dysfunction (ED). From my research, I have found a strong link between ED and stress. Other major causes include smoking, drinking, diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. My advice to these patients is — do not get even more stressed over this situation. Instead, focus on taking the right medication and making some changes to your lifestyle, so you can once again enjoy a satisfactory sexual life.

 

DIAGNOSIS OF ED

We normally diagnose ED and its underlying causes by asking the patient a few questions about his medical and sexual history. This is sometimes done by sharing a questionnaire with the patient. The questions that we ask are designed to help us understand the cause of ED in the particular patient.

We also do a physical exam, ask for certain blood tests to rule out other medical conditions responsible for erectile dysfunction, and recommend imaging tests (if required) to determine whether the person is physically able to have an erection or not.

SHORT-TERM SOLUTION, LONG-TERM CURE

Underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia (high cholesterol levels) can cause ED. In these cases, ED can be reversed once the patient starts treatment.

In my experience, many men suffer from ED because of work stress, family pressure and anxiety. So, changes in lifestyle with regular exercise, yoga, abstaining from alcohol and smoking, and proper counselling help in treating ED. Along with this, medicines for ED are usually prescribed for about 3 to 6 months by which time lifestyle changes start to take effect and the patient is physically and mentally healthier, which helps resolve the problem.

An estimated 16% to 25% of men experience ED at some point in their lives. I would urge them not to be embarrassed about it. Seek medical help from a urologist or andrologist; get the necessary advice/medication; and go on to enjoy a healthy, fulfilling sexual life.

The author of this article is Dr Anjani Kumar Agrawal, head, andrology, department of urology sciences, Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket

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