Friday, January 25, 2013

Children’s health, growth and immunization: Our role in preventing preventable diseases

Unless we look after our women and children in a programmed manner in the field of health, we cannot have a happy world around us. Children are still killed or disabled each year by diseases that could have been prevented by immunization. The World Health Organization (WHO) is doing its best to eradicate/eliminate a variety of infectious diseases, but involvement of every citizen of the world is must for compliance of various programs of the WHO. The measles, mumps and rubella triple vaccine (MMR) should be included in the EPI (Expanded Preventable Immunization) program of every country. We should not ignore the facts that measles and mumps can cause considerable morbidity and mortality which could be prevented with optimum immunization. Optimum immunization means full course of vaccination schedule without missing any booster dose.

Apart from vaccination child nutrition and general health must be taken care of. The child health reminds me the efforts of Mr. James P Grant, the Director of United Nations' Children's Fund (UNICEF, 1984), who in 1984 brought out a Report on the State of World's Children, and forwarded a mnemonic GOBI-FFF to remember the techniques which could reduce sadness of the world. In GOBI-FFF, "G" stands for growth monitoring, "O" stands for oral rehydration therapy, "B" stands for breastfeeding, and "I" stands for immunization. The three Fs (FFF) stand for 'family spacing', food supplements and female education. The methods represented by GOBI-FFF are the simplest methods which could help us in tiding over the state of health of children and preventing diseases and saving lives. Consequent upon the compliance of GOBI-FFF, lives of millions of children are saved every year and the health and growth of millions more is protected. Still there is need to protect the children from episodes of common childhood diseases like measles, respiratory infections and diarrhoeal infections.

Various infections also interfere with physiological and psychological development of children. The malnutrition and infections perpetuate each other and may lead to suboptimum brain development. The GOBI methods are not so expensive. Community health workers can be assigned the responsibility of growth monitoring through periodic recording of weight and height of a child. The oral rehydration salts (ORS) should be supplied at cost price to prevent the dehydration caused by diarrhoea. The breastfeeding should be encouraged since it provides ideal nourishment to the child and saves from the infectious hazards of bottle feeding. Immunization against tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertusis (whooping cough) tetanus, polio, measles, mums and rubella protects the child against these serious as well as disabling diseases. Attention should also be given to the health education of mothers. Awareness about the child's health in mothers would definitely make all the healthcare and immunization programs successful. It is well established fact that proper spacing between child births decreases the risks to the heath of the mother and the infant. Food supplements should regularly be supplied to the mothers during pregnancy and vaccination against tetanus should be done. We must put in our best efforts to prevent the preventable diseases since prevention is better than cure.

Role of Fruits & Vegetables in Averting Strokes

Cardio-vascular disease (CVD) causes stroke in majority of patients with chronic hypertension. Fruits and vegetables have a variety of natural ingredients/nutrients, which act as protecting factors against strokes. Raised blood pressure along with tobacco smoking is a major risk factor in patients with CVD. It is well documented that fresh fruits and vegetables have a considerably high potassium content and low sodium content. Fresh fruits are very rich source of vitamin-C also. It is evident that fresh fruits and vegetables influence the sodium-potassium ratio and thus help in lowering the blood pressure in hypertensive people. It is advisable that hypertensive patients should restrict the salt (sodium chloride) intake only then intake of fresh fruits and vegetables would be helpful.
Many countries have reported a decline in stroke rates and mortality with a change in the eating habits of their people. One should stay normotensive (normal blood pressure) for prolonged survival. Avoid smoking and eat fresh fruits & vegetables to keep a check on your blood pressure to avoid strokes and heart attacks. Live Healthy, Live Long.

Bioenergy Conservation and Diabetes mellitus

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is related to common metabolic disorders and is expressed by hyperglycemia (i.e. elevated level of glucose in blood). There are a variety of DM and are caused by complex interactions of genetics and environmental factors. In fact DM is a sort of lifestyle associated metabolic disorder. Sedentary lifestyle, over indulgence in alcohol and excessive consumption of fatty fast-food laced with preservatives are the cause of excessive conservation of bioenergy in human body. One should be calorie conscious and take balanced diet to avoid getting obese and over weight. Obesity is an invitation to metabolic disorders.
Non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) is also known as diabetes-II (or Type-II Diabetes, where as Diabetes-I is insulin dependant) and is characterized by variable degree of insulin resistance and pancreatic beta cell dysfunction. Loss of metabolic control is probably associated with neuroendocrine control system that effect hepatic glucose output. Computerization and automation in industrial units is the cause of bioenergy conservation in workers, leading to metabolic disorders like diabetes mellitus. Low energy expenditure due to leisure-way lifestyle and reduced sensitivity to peripheral insulin further complicate the case. Vascular complications associated with DM lead to morbidity and mortality in patients with diabetes mellitus. Energy expenditure needs to be increased in diabetics by way of exercise; brisk walking and cycling.  Optimum energy expenditure in diabetics can act as adjunct to reduce the level of hyperglycemia.