Hemophilia Twinning Program: Advancing Care On World Hemophilia Day
17 Apr 2024
10 mins
Hemophilia Twinning Program: Advancing Care On World Hemophilia DayTurn on the red light!   Since 1989, patient organizations worldwide have celebrated World Hemophilia Day on April 17 to improve awareness and understanding of hemophilia and other bleeding disorders. April 17 was chosen in honor of World Federation of hemophilia founder Frank Schnabel's birthday. Hemophilia is a rare disease and one in 10,000 people is born with it.  On this World hemophilia Day 2024, let's know the key aspects of hemophilia.    WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF WORLD HEMOPHILIA DAY?   The World Federation of hemophilia (WFH) established World Hemophilia Day on April 17, 1989, to commemorate the birthday of the WFH's founder, Frank Schnabel. Hemophilia was identified in the 10th century when individuals began to notice a disproportionate number of male deaths from seemingly minor injuries. At the time, this illness was known as abulcasis. However, due to technological limitations, this could not be treated. An anticoagulant was routinely used to treat an illness prevalent among royal families at the time; however, the anticoagulant thins the blood and worsens the ailment. In 1803, Philadelphia's Dr. John Conrad Otto began researching "bleeders," eventually determining that the disease was passed down from mothers to sons. Hemophilia was identified as a type A or B hereditary condition in 1937. However, effective treatment had yet to be established at that time. The theme of the event this year is "Equitable access for all: recognizing all bleeding disorders."    OBJECTIVE OF WORLD HEMOPHILIA DAY   The goal of World Hemophilia Day is, * To accomplish the WFH (World Federation of Hemophilia) objective of "Treatment for All," emphasize the need to conduct coordinated and concerted activities. * Draw attention to the critical concerns and shine a light on hemophilia and bleeding diseases.   WHAT IS HEMOPHILIA?   Normally when we have a wound or injury, our blood cells, called platelets, and substances called clotting factors mix to make the blood sticky and form a clot, making the bleeding stop at the wounded site. Hemophilia is a rare inherited disease [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/health-care/rare-disease-day-february] that affects your blood's ability to clot.  People with hemophilia lack certain clotting factors, resulting in extensive bleeding from a wound or cut. Bleeding can also occur inside the body, particularly in the muscles and joints like knees, elbows, and hips.  There are mainly two types of hemophilia: * Hemophilia A – It is a common type caused due to lack of clotting factor VIII. It is also known as classic hemophilia. * Hemophilia B – It is caused due to lack of factor IX and also known as Christmas disease.   WHAT IS THE CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS OF HEMOPHILIA?   It is usually inherited, meaning the person is born with this disorder. Hemophilia is caused by changes in the clotting factor genes on the x chromosome. Everybody has two sex chromosomes, one from each parent. A girl child inherits the x chromosome from the mother and the x chromosome from the father. The boy child inherits the mother's x chromosome and the father's y chromosome.  If a woman carries the faulty gene (for hemophilia) on her x chromosomes, she can pass it on to her children. If a boy child is born to this mother, there is a half chance he is born with hemophilia. If a girl child inherits the affected gene, she becomes the carrier of the affected gene and can pass it on to her children without having hemophilia herself.  Males are more likely to have hemophilia than females, and the greatest risk factor is a family history of hemophilia. Acquired hemophilia is acquired after birth when the body starts to make antibodies that destroy clotting factors though it is very rare.    WHAT IS THE SYMPTOMS OF HEMOPHILIA?   Symptoms of hemophilia depend on how many clotting factors are present in the individual. If the deficiency is less (a person has 5 to 50% of the normal amount of clotting factors), the person may bleed only after trauma or an operation. If the deficiency is high (a person has less than 1% of clotting factor levels), the person can easily bleed for no apparent reason.  The symptoms include, * Prolonged bleeding from cuts after a dental procedure or after surgery * Many deep bruises * Bleeding after vaccinations * Blood in the stool or urine * Swelling, pain, or tightness in the joints * Nosebleeds that are frequent and hard-to-stop * Unexplained irritability in infants * Bleeding into the brain (rarely happens)   HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED & TREATED?   Diagnosis: Children with severe hemophilia are usually diagnosed within the 1st year of life. Mild hemophilia may be discovered generally after a dental or surgical procedure or an injury. Clotting factor tests are performed to confirm the diagnosis and reveal how severe the hemophilia is. For people with a family history of this disorder and planning to get pregnant, genetic and genomic testing can help identify the risk of passing hemophilia to a child. There are also certain tests called amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS), which can diagnose hemophilia in the baby during pregnancy. But these tests may carry certain risks that your healthcare provider will discuss before testing.  Treatment: The main therapy for hemophilia [https://www.mrmed.in/condition/blood-disorder] is replacing the missing clotting factors by injecting them into the veins. The replacement clotting factors can be made from donated human blood or in the laboratory (recombinant forms). In mild and moderate cases, the patients require this treatment usually while having surgery.  In patients with severe hemophilia, replacement therapy can be done on bleeding episodes or as prophylaxis (given once or twice per week to prevent bleeding if the patient has frequent bleeding episodes). Other hemophilia therapies include desmopressin, emicizumab, tranexamic acid, and fibrin sealants.    HEMOPHILIA TWINNING PROGRAM: BRIDGING THE GAP IN CARE   The World Federation of Hemophilia has created a short-term program to collaborate with medical professionals, patients, and young leaders from developing countries for two to four years. Everyone from hemophilia treatment centers, patient organizations, and youth groups is encouraged to participate in this program to improve the treatment and care for people affected by hemophilia in developing countries. The WFH twinning program has established around 265 partnerships over more than 30 years across 119 countries, involving 97 hemophilia organizations, 162 treatment centers, and 5 youth groups. The program has improved diagnosis and treatment plans, increased the knowledge of healthcare professionals caring for patients with bleeding disorders, enhanced outreach initiatives, facilitated resource sharing, increased government support, and strengthened patient organizations.   CLOSURE POINT   You are not alone in fighting against hemophilia!   Despite these obstacles, the hemophilia community has demonstrated extraordinary persistence and flexibility. Healthcare providers have devised novel solutions to ensure continuity of care, patients have discovered new methods to stay connected and support one another, and advocacy activities to increase awareness and promote access to treatment have persisted. Moving forward, we must continue to prioritize the needs of hemophilia patients and move towards long-term, inclusive, and patient-centered care. Investing in research to discover new treatments and therapies, pushing for regulations that promote access to care and resources, raising education and awareness to eliminate stigma and improve understanding of this rare bleeding illness are all part of this effort.
Ishwarya R
lung cancer vaccine lungvax
16 Apr 2024
10 mins
Could LungVax be the Game-Changer in Preventing Lung Cancer?UK scientists at the University of Oxford have raised funding of 1.7 million euros from Cancer Research UK [https://www.ndtv.com/science/uk-researchers-developing-worlds-first-lung-cancer-vaccine-5288066] and the CRIS Cancer Foundation to develop a lung cancer vaccine on March 22, 2024.   The team is planning to develop a lung cancer vaccine named “LungVax,” which will be the world’s first vaccine to prevent almost all types of lung cancer in high-risk populations. Let us explore the breakthrough potential of this future vaccine, as well as its working mechanism, benefits, and outcomes, in detail.   THE RATIONALE FOR LUNGVAX DEVELOPMENT   The rationale behind developing the “LungVax” vaccine is as follows: 1. Lung cancer is the most often diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. 2. It is also the deadliest common cancer in Britain, with around 50,000 cases and 35,000 deaths every year. 3. The difficulty in developing a successful treatment for cancer due to the complexity of cancer cells 4. Only 10% of people with lung cancer survive [https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/lung-cancer/survival#:~:text=Survival%20for%20all%20stages%20of%20lung%20cancer&text=45%20out%20of%20every%20100,for%2010%20years%20or%20more] their disease for 10 years or more in UK.   WHAT IS THE BACKGROUND OF DEVELOPING LUNGVAX?    The background of developing LungVax involves leveraging similar technology to the highly successful Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.   The Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is a type of vector vaccine that utilizes a modified version of a different virus (viral vector) to deliver material from the COVID-19 virus into your cells. This prompts your cells to produce copies of the COVID-19 S protein, which then triggers your immune system to create antibodies.   Inspired by the success of this approach, India has developed its own vaccine called Covishield [https://www.seruminstitute.com/product_covishield.php]. It is a viral vector vaccine developed by the Serum Institute of India, based on the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine.   WHY LUNGVAX?   We all know that cancer is a disease where our body's cells grow uncontrollably. Hence, it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between our normal cells and the cancer cells.   One of the biggest challenges in cancer research today is getting our immune system to recognize and target these cancer cell among the normal cells. By developing lung cancer vaccines like LungVax, we can aim to address this challenge. If we can replicate the success observed in trials such as Covid vaccines, there is potential to save numerous lives.   WHAT IS THE CURRENT STATUS OF LUNGVAX DEVELOPMENT?   The UK researchers at Oxford are currently in the process of developing LungVax. They will initially conduct laboratory tests to assess its ability to trigger an immune response successfully. If the results from these tests are positive, the vaccine will progress to clinical trials.   Phase 0: Laboratory studies are yet to commence. (Expected duration: Over the next 2 years)   Phase I: Following positive results from lab tests, researchers will proceed with a clinical trial. They will receive funding and commence initial manufacturing of 3,000 doses of the vaccine at the Oxford Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility to evaluate its safety and efficacy.   Phase II: Then, The vaccine will be tested in a large population at high risk of lung cancer. The inclusion criteria for this phase will include individuals aged 55-74 who are current or former smokers in the UK [https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2024/mar/ps17-million-vaccine-prevent-lung-cancer].   HOW IS LUNGVAX EXPECTED TO WORK?   Similar to Covishield, LungVax utilizes harmless proteins from the surface of the patient's cancer cells, known as neoantigens. These neoantigens emerge due to cancer-causing mutations within the cell's DNA. By collecting these neoantigens and introducing them into the bodies of affected individuals, they are recognized as red flags by the immune system. In response, the immune system fights back and becomes trained against these antigens. Consequently, when the body encounters lung cancer cells with these surface proteins (neoantigens), the trained immune system identifies these abnormal cells and destroys them.   WHAT ARE THE EXPECTED OUTCOMES OF THE LUNGVAX TRIAL?   1. Reverse the decreased survival rate of lung cancer patients 2. Preventing the earlised stage lung cancer deom emmerging in its first place 3. Expected to cover around 90% of all lung cancers [https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2024-03-22-new-funding-development-worlds-first-lung-cancer-vaccine#:~:text='We%20think%20the%20vaccine%20could,your%20risk%20of%20lung%20cancer.].   LUNGVAX FAQS   1. Will LungVax replace smoking cessation efforts? With an 80% prevalence of smoking among lung cancer patients (in India), quitting smoking and tobacco cessation remain the primary prevention measures for lung cancer. LungVax will not replace smoking cessation efforts, as stopping smoking is the most effective way to reduce the risk of lung cancer. However, LungVax is expected to prevent the progression of early-stage lung cancer and decrease the remission rates for individuals who have already undergone treatment for lung cancer.   2. Is LungVax the first lung cancer vaccine? No, CimaVax-EGF, a vaccine developed in Cuba [https://www.roswellpark.org/cimavax], has shown promise in early trials for treating non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/cancer-care/non-small-cell-lung-cancer]. It works by stimulating the body's immune system to produce antibodies against a protein called EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor), which is involved in cancer growth.    By 2017, In Cuba, it has completed phase IV trials and is approved as a maintenance treatment for certain stages of NSCLC.   Outside of Cuba, trials are ongoing in the US, EU, Japan, and Serbia. Initial results from trials in the US showed that combining CimaVax with another drug called nivolumab [https://www.mrmed.in/molecule/nivolumab] was safe and had promising effects in advanced NSCLC patients. The final results of this trial, released in March 2019, confirmed the safety and efficacy of the combination therapy. Ongoing trials, including a Phase II trial expanded in 2023, aim to assess CimaVax's effectiveness in treating other cancers and different patient groups.   3. Will vaccines like LungVax be beneficial for the Indian population? In India, according to GLOBOCAN statistics from 2018, lung cancer accounts for 5.9% of all cancers (the fourth most common), with 67,000 new cases and 8.1% of all cancer-related deaths. There is an 80% prevalence of smoking among lung cancer patients. Despite efforts to promote tobacco cessation, projects similar to LungVax are crucial steps towards achieving a cancer-free India. With recent reports from Apollo Hospitals labeling India as the "Cancer capital of the world [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/cancer-care/india-cancer-capital-of-the-world]," research projects like LungVax could potentially reverse this trend. By transforming lung cancer into a preventable and manageable disease, such initiatives could significantly improve survival rates and overall public health.
Dr. Vijayalakshmi
Celebrate World Parkinson's Day: Support And Raise Awareness
11 Apr 2024
10 mins
Celebrate World Parkinson's Day: Support And Raise AwarenessEvery April 11th, World Parkinson's Disease Day raises awareness of chronic and progressive nervous system disorders. This awareness was established by the European Parkinson's Disease Association in 1997 to raise awareness of the disease and its impact on individuals, families, and communities. It's a disease with a progressive neurological disorder affecting millions worldwide. Today's blog will teach us about Parkinson's disease and its related information.  HISTORY OF WORLD PARKINSON'S DAY   Parkinson's disease is named after James Parkinson, an English physician who first described the symptoms in 1817 in his paper "An Essay on the Shaking Palsy." In the 1980s and 1990s, researchers significantly pushed to develop treatments for Parkinson's disease. The first drug authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating Parkinson's disease was Levodopa, which is currently used to treat the disease. During the 9th World Parkinson's Disease Day Conference in 2005, the red tulip was adopted as the official symbol for Parkinson's disease (PD). WHAT IS PARKINSON'S DISEASE? PD is a brain disease that leads to problems with movement, mental health, sleep, pain, and other health issues, which gradually worsen over time. This progression occurs due to the neurodegeneration process, which primarily affects the brain cells that produce dopamine—a chemical responsible for coordinating movement. Symptoms of Parkinson's are commonly developed in individuals over the age of 50. WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PARKINSON'S DISEASE?   Parkinson's disease symptoms are classified into motor and non-motor-related symptoms.  Motor (movement) related   1. Bradykinesia: It refers to the slowness and difficulty in initiating movement. People with Parkinson's disease may have trouble starting or completing movements due to muscle weakness (control problem). 2. Tremor (rhythmic shaking of muscles): It is one of the hallmark symptoms of Parkinson's disease; it usually occurs in one hand, arm, or leg. This happens in about 80% of Parkinson's disease cases. 3. Postural instability: Parkinson's disease can affect a person's balance and coordination, making them more prone to falls. It's visible when a person walks because they'll use shorter, shuffling strides and move their arms less. Turning while walking may take several steps. 4. Rigidity (stiffness): Few people may experience a rigidity known as "cogwheel rigidity," which feels like the muscles are catching or sticking as they are moved. Non- Motor (movement) related   1. Dysphagia: It is a medical condition that refers to difficulty swallowing or the sensation of food or liquids getting stuck in the throat or chest. This is caused by several components, such as reduced saliva production, cognitive changes, and delayed gastric emptying. 2. Hypophonia (Unusually soft speaking voice): Hypophonia in Parkinson's disease can cause changes in a person's speech, making it softer or slurred, and their handwriting may become smaller or more difficult to read. 3. Drooling and infrequent blinking: Drooling and infrequent blinking are caused due to loss of facial muscle control. UNDERSTANDING THE STAGES OF PARKINSON'S DISEASE   Stage 1: It is the mildest form of Parkinson's. At this stage, tremors and other symptoms, such as changes in facial expression, posture, or walking, occur only on one side of the body. Stage 2: This stage is considered a moderated form where tremors, rigidity, and other movement symptoms begin to affect both sides of the body. Activities of day-to-day living may become more difficult. Stage 3: This is the middle stage of Parkinson's; the person may struggle to maintain balance and perform daily tasks independently. Falls become more common at this stage. Stage 4: It is the advanced stage, where the person may require assistance with daily activities. They may still be able to stand and walk but may need a walker or other assistive device. Stage 5: This stage is the most severe stage, where the person is typically unable to stand or walk without assistance. They may require round-the-clock care and may experience hallucinations or delusions. 6 MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT PARKINSON'S DISEASE   1. Myth: Parkinson's disease only affects older people.  Fact: Parkinson's disease is more prevalent in older adults, but it can affect people of any age, including young adults and children.   2. Myth: Parkinson's disease is caused by pesticide exposure.  Fact: Exposure to certain pesticides is linked with an increased risk of Parkinson's disease; the exact cause of this disease is yet to be understood. Multiple factors are likely involved, including genetics, environmental factors, and other factors that can increase the risk of Parkinson's disease.    3. Myth: Parkinson's disease is contagious.  Fact: Parkinson's disease is not contagious and cannot be transmitted from person to person through casual contact.   4. Myth: Parkinson's disease is always inherited.  Fact: Genetics can play a role in the development of Parkinson's disease; most cases are not directly inherited. Only a small percentage of cases are caused by specific genetic mutations, while most cases are caused by a combination of genetics and environmental factors.   5. Myth: Parkinson's disease is fatal. Fact: Parkinson's disease is a chronic condition that can remarkably affect the quality of life, but it is not typically fatal. However, complications from Parkinson's disease, such as pneumonia or other infections, can be life-threatening.    6. Myth: Parkinson's disease only affects movement.  Fact: While motor symptoms like tremors and rigidity primarily characterize Parkinson's disease, they can also affect other aspects of a person's health, including cognitive function, mood, and sleep.   HOW TO RAISE AWARENESS AMONG EVERYONE   Spreading awareness about Parkinson's disease is crucial. Here are some ways to spread awareness on World Parkinson's Day 2024.   1. Social media: Sharing information about World Parkinson's Disease Day on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Using hashtags such as #WorldParkinsonsDay or #ParkinsonsAwareness will help spread the message more quickly.  2. Media outreach: Reach out to media outlets, such as newspapers, television, radio, and other articles, to share information about World Parkinson's Disease Day and the impact of the disease on individuals and families. 3. Community events: Organize marathons or educational seminars to raise awareness. These events can help increase public awareness and support for people with Parkinson's.  BOTTOM LINE    "Parkinson's is a thief. It steals your body, your mind, and your soul. But it can't steal your spirit. That's something you have to give away willingly."   According to a recent study, an estimated more than 10 million people [https://www.parkinson.org/understanding-parkinsons/statistics] live with Parkinson's disease. On this World Parkinson's Disease Day, let us remember the millions of people worldwide living with Parkinson's disease and the challenges they face each day. Let us unite in the fight against Parkinson's disease by raising awareness and advocating for better treatments and support for those affected. Together, we can change things and improve life for those with Parkinson's disease. By uniting in the fight against Parkinson's disease, we can fight to eliminate the sickness from society in the future.
Ishwarya R
B602
11 Apr 2024
14 mins
Is India the New Cancer Capital?Lately, there has been a buzz around town about India being labeled as the new "cancer capital of the world." This news is spreading like wildfire, making headlines over the past couple of days. But what does it all mean? Is this a new silent pandemic that we have been overlooking?   Let us dive into this hot topic and unpack what is happening. The notion of India gaining this unfortunate title raises serious questions about our healthcare system and public health priorities. Are we adequately addressing the growing burden of cancer and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs)? Are we taking the necessary steps to prevent and treat these conditions effectively?   The truth is that the rise in cancer cases in India is indeed alarming. It is not just about the sheer numbers; it is also about the demographic shift, with cancer affecting people at younger ages than before. This trend hints at deeper issues within our society and healthcare infrastructure that need urgent attention.   WHAT DOES THE APOLLO HOSPITAL'S 2024 ANNUAL REPORT REVEAL ABOUT INDIA'S HEALTH?   The latest annual report from Apollo Hospitals [https://apollohospitals.com/apollo_pdf/Apollo-Health-of-the-Nation-2024.pdf], titled "Health of Nation," paints a stark picture of India's rising tide of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). These diseases, including cancer, diabetes [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/diabetes/common-side-effects-of-diabetes], hypertension [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/hypertension/high-blood-pressure-symptoms], cardiovascular diseases [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/heart-care/diagnosis-of-cardiovascular-disease], and mental health problems are on the rise and are significantly impacting the nation's health. It highlights India's growing cancer rates, which are particularly concerning, earning it the title of the "cancer capital of the world" in the report. By 2025, the number is expected to rise from 13.9 lakh cases to 15.7 lakh, marking a 13% increase within just half a decade.    Some of the Key findings of the Reports are as follows: * Significant rise in cancer cases, with diagnoses occurring at younger ages, under 50 years. At Apollo Hospitals alone, 30% of colon cancer patients are already below the age of 50. * Common Cancers: Breast, cervix, and ovary cancers are most common in women [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/cancer-care/most-common-cancers-in-women], and lung, mouth, and prostate cancers in men. * Cancer Screening: Low rates, with only 1.9% of Indian women undergoing breast cancer screening. * Obesity [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/cancer-care/obesity-symptoms-side-effects]: Incidence doubled from 9% in 2016 to 20% in 2023. * Hypertension: Incidence increased from 9% in 2016 to 13% in 2023. * Diabetes: 10% have uncontrolled diabetes, and 1 in 3 are prediabetic. * Pre-diabetes: Prevalent even among individuals under 45 years old. * Sleep Apnea [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/health-care/know-about-sleep-apnea]: 1 in 4 Indians at risk, with men twice as likely as women. * Depression [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/mental-wellness/depression-symptoms-causes-treatment]: Increasing prevalence, with 1 in 5 young adults affected. * Stress: Reported by 80% of young adults and seniors, increasing hypertension and diabetes risks.   ICMR'S 2025 PROJECTIONS   While the above report focuses solely on patients at Apollo Hospital, it is crucial to examine the broader status across India before drawing conclusions. Let us turn to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) - National Cancer Registry Programme (NCDIR) for a comprehensive perspective. Since 1981, the ICMR-NCDIR has diligently collected data on cancer cases, providing a detailed portrait of the nation's battle with this disease.   Their latest findings for 2022 are both illuminating and concerning: a staggering 1.46 million new cancer cases were reported [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36510887/#:~:text=Results%3A%20The%20estimated%20number%20of,in%20males%20and%20females%2C%20respectively.], with rates soaring to 100.4 cases per 100,000 people. What's even more alarming is their projection for 2025—a whopping 12.8% increase in cancer cases compared to 2020, aligning with the findings from the Apollo report. This emphasizes the gravity of the situation and underscores the need for comprehensive measures to address the growing cancer burden in India.   GLOBAL TRENDS VS INDIA: THE CANCER CHALLENGE   What do global trends in cancer reveal? Ever wondered how big the cancer challenge is globally? Well, buckle up! According to the Global Cancer Observatory (GLOBOCAN), 19.3 million new cancer cases emerged worldwide in 2020. Surprisingly, India snagged third, right after China and the USA. But wait, there is more – GLOBOCAN predicts that by 2040, India might see a 57.5% increase in cancer cases [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10231735/], hitting 2.08 million! Startling, isn't it?   HOW CAN WE REDUCE THE CANCER BURDEN IN INDIA?   Alright, it is clear that these staggering stats about the rise of cancer in India, along with other non-communicable diseases, are sounding the alarm bells. So, what is the takeaway? What should we do next, and where should India focus its efforts? Now, let us shift gears to the second half of the blog and explore some proactive solutions and actions India can take to tackle this surge in non-communicable diseases.   KNOWING YOUR RISK FACTORS   Understanding the risk factors of non-communicable diseases is crucial for reducing the cancer burden. But how do we achieve that? The increase in cancer cases is driven by factors such as urbanization, an aging population, limited awareness about cancer screenings and unhealthy habits becoming a standard norm. These are further exacerbated by financial constraints among the Indian population. But hey, there is light at the end of the tunnel! Here are a few straightforward steps to address this issue:   1. Wholesome Diet and Physical Movement Did you know that 70% of cancer cases could be prevented simply by improving our diets [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/health-care/benefits-of-eating-healthy] and staying active? It is a group effort—everyone, from individuals to corporations and healthcare providers, must play a part.   2. Social Equity Addressing social and environmental factors is key. India's fight against cancer is not just about medical care. We need to ensure that everyone, regardless of their location or socioeconomic status, has access to the support they need. That means making healthcare fair and accessible to all. But it doesn't stop there. We must also consider our surroundings – like ensuring clean air and safe living conditions. We must strive to create fair and healthy environments for all, regardless of where they live or their socioeconomic status.    3. Early detection It is about spotting cancer early and getting an accurate picture of its stage. This step is crucial because the sooner we catch it, the better the chances of successful treatment. India's diverse states pose a unique challenge. Still, the government is taking action to improve access to cancer screening and treatment nationwide.   Here is what our experts recommend: * For breast cancer, women between 40 and 74 should consider getting mammograms [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/cancer-care/mammogram-its-types-purpose-results], especially those between 50 and 69. * When it comes to cervical cancer, starting at age 21, women up to age 65 should consider HPV tests, Pap tests [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/cancer-care/pap-smear-test], or a combo of both. * For colorectal cancer, folks between 45 and 50 to 75 should look into colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopies, or stool tests to catch any signs early on. * And for lung cancer, heavy smokers between 50 to 80 should think about getting low-dose CT scans. These tests can really make a difference in catching cancer early and certainly reduce the cancer burden in India.   4. Palliative care Now, onto treatment, including palliative care. Here, it is about taking a team approach to treatment, ensuring it is accessible, affordable, and high-quality for everyone. This helps provide comfort and support, especially for those in advanced stages of the disease.   5. Cultivating Perception Spreading awareness about healthier lifestyle choices makes it easier for people to make positive changes.   FINAL THOUGHTS!   The stats point to one clear message: it's time for action. By taking proactive steps, even small ones, we can transform the cancer landscape in India. Let us ditch the grim title of "cancer capital of India" and aim for a brighter future – a "cancer-free capital India." Roll up your sleeves and focus on areas where resources are scarce! Together, we can ensure that every person in India has the support they need to conquer cancer. Let's end this silent pandemic!
Dr. Vijayalakshmi
Health For All: Uniting On World Health Day
7 Apr 2024
8 mins
Health For All: Uniting On World Health DayThe most incredible wealth is health!   In a fast-moving world where the pursuit of success can consume our every moment, it's all too easy to forget the one thing that truly matters—our health. However, amidst the hustle and bustle, the World Health Organization (WHO) has boldly reminded us of this fundamental truth by declaring World Health Day. It's a time to pause, reflect, and spread awareness about the pressing global health issues that affect us all. Get ready to explore and celebrate World Health Day! WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF WORLD HEALTH DAY?   The World Health Organization (WHO) was established on 7th April, 1948. Each year, on the anniversary of its founding, people worldwide celebrate World Health Day. This day is dedicated to raising awareness of global health challenges and highlighting the path toward achieving Health For All.   Brazil and China have proposed the establishment of an organization to deal with global health-related challenges. The organization finally came into existence on 7th April 1948, with initially 61 countries signing the agreement to establish the NGO. The contract to develop the NGO was initially proposed in 1945, and it stated that this body should be completely independent of any government powers and focus equally on health. The proposal was approved in New York, and World Health Day was initially set to be commemorated on 22nd July after going into effect. Still, it was later changed to 7th April to honor the organization's establishment. WHAT IS THE THEME FOR THIS YEAR?   This year, the World Health Organization (WHO) [https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2024]celebrates World Health Day with the theme 'My Health, My Right,' which emphasizes the importance of accessibility to quality health services, education, and information. It also highlights the significance of access to safe drinking water, clean air, good nutrition, quality housing, decent working and environmental conditions, and freedom from discrimination. WORLD HEALTH DAY 2024: A DAY TO FOCUS ON OUR GLOBAL HEALTH   On this World Health Day, we strongly encourage you to learn more about global health issues and how to support universal healthcare access. There are several ways to become engaged, and every little effort is beneficial. Let's work continuously together to make the world healthier for everyone.   WORLD HEALTH DAY: HEALTH FOR ALL   1. Make healthy food choices: What we eat primarily impacts our health. Add more vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and fewer animal-based foods to your daily diet. Limit foods that contain added sugars and salt. Limit or avoid processed and fast foods as they can increase the risk of heart disorders, cancer, and other health conditions. Eat meals at set times, and avoid eating dinner late at night. Keep your heart and other organs healthy by eating healthy foods.    2. Get moving: One of the beautiful things we can do to keep ourselves healthy is exercise. Staying physically active can prevent or manage various disorders such as high blood pressure, depression, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, stroke, and metabolic syndrome. It can boost the good cholesterol called HDL (high-density lipoprotein), improve mood, control weight, and promote better sleep. Experts recommend a minimum of one to fifty minutes of moderate or seventy minutes of vigorous physical activity per week, which is essential to achieve the benefits.    3. Have screenings and vaccinations at the right time: One of the most outstanding artificial achievements is the discovery of vaccines, but some people refuse to get vaccines due to misunderstanding. Discuss with your physician about vaccines. They can explain the effectiveness, safety, and necessity of vaccination in detail. Health screening tests such as mammograms [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/cancer-care/mammogram-its-types-purpose-results], Pap smear tests [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/cancer-care/pap-smear-test], etc., can detect cancers and other potential problems early for more successful treatment. Screening recommendations vary with age, so discuss with your healthcare provider if you have a family history of any diseases.    4. Stay at a healthy weight: A healthy body mass index range is 18 to 24.9. If you are obese or overweight [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/cancer-care/obesity-symptoms-side-effects], you are at high risk of health disorders such as blood pressure, diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, and cancers. Avoid unhealthy diets or vigorous workouts to reduce weight, as they may harm your health. Visit a nutritionist or certified gym professional to achieve your weight goals.    5. Say no to unhealthy habits: Some people smoke, drink alcohol, or overeat to have fun and reduce stress. As they may seem to be stress-reducing at the moment, these habits can intensify the stress and raise the risk of various health complications. Notably, smoking can be very dangerous to everyone. Even if you cannot avoid them, you must try limiting these habits to stay disease-free.    6. Take medicines as prescribed: Antimicrobials are drugs used to kill disease-causing pathogens. Antimicrobial resistance [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/health-care/all-you-need-to-know-about-antimicrobial-resistance] occurs when the pathogen develops the ability to grow in the presence of medications instead of being killed. This process can produce more dangerous strains of pathogens that require advanced medicines to treat. Though antimicrobial resistance is a natural process, taking medicines more than prescribed and misuse can accelerate it.    7. Get sound sleep: Stealing time from sleep is the easiest option many of us choose in our busy schedules. Getting a sound sleep [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/health-care/insomnia-natural-treatment] of seven to nine hours is essential for our mental and physical health. Get to bed early each day, avoid exposure to blue-light screens from mobiles and computers, and avoid caffeine intake before sleep.    THE END CARD   He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything.   Health is a fundamental human right and a vital determinant of an individual's development. It can be accomplished, among other things, by having access to enough food, clean water, sanitary services, and health education. To achieve this, on this world health day 2024, we need to raise people's knowledge about the need for healthy lifestyle choices, such as regular exercise and a balanced diet, to help them live longer, healthier lives by preventing diseases from developing in their bodies that could be fatal if not treated appropriately or left untreated. Let's protect and maintain our health to lead a disease-free life.
Ishwarya R
 IBS Awareness Month
6 Apr 2024
8 mins
Gut Feelings Matters: April Marks IBS Awareness MonthThe first step towards change is awareness! Every year in April, the world recognizes and celebrates Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month. IBS is widespread; the prevalence ranges from 5% to 10% globally. However, many people go untreated, unaware that their symptoms point to a recognized medical condition.   IMPORTANCE OF IBS AWARENESS MONTH    IBS patients reported worsening physical discomfort, exhaustion, and social performance. IBS can be confidently diagnosed earlier with the help of early screening, especially in the risk group. This could help to reduce the disorder's high financial and human costs. Greater public understanding of IBS can aid patients in overcoming the stigma associated with their signs and symptoms so they can see a doctor sooner to get a diagnosis and start an effective therapy. This explains why IBS Awareness Month is necessary and significant.   HISTORY OF IBS AWARENESS MONTH   In 1997, the IFFGD declared April to be IBS Awareness Month. To combat the challenges of a chronic GI disease, Ms. Norton and William F. Norton founded the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) [https://iffgd.org/about-iffgd/] in 1991. They changed the organization's status from a local association to an international nonprofit. Since its inception, IFFGD has given millions of people information, assistance, and support. The IFFGD also conducts educational workshops on these specialized GI topics for doctors and carers as part of its mission to help patients. The governing body of the IFFGD comprises medical professionals, specialists in incontinence and digestive health from a variety of healthcare fields, as well as non-medical experts from the legal and commercial sectors.   ABCD OF IBS SYMPTOM   Experts define IBS as a set of symptoms. These symptoms, known as the ABCDs of IBS, include:   A is for abdominal discomfort B is for bloating C is for constipation D is for diarrhea.   Other IBS symptoms include flatulence (gas), fatigue, depression, and stress.    WHAT CAUSES IBS?    Here are the three factors that can cause IBS. Irritable bowel syndrome is named a multifactorial condition because of the following reasons:   The gut is your second brain    Have you ever wondered why IBS is known as a brain-gut disorder?    Every one of us experiences our emotions and expressions in the gut. We strongly believe in our gut instincts because our brain and gut are connected through several nerves and hormones, and it is a two-way process. So, exposure to stressful conditions can affect your gut health and your serotonin (a feel-good hormone) levels. Stress is the triggering factor to aggravate IBS symptoms. And you may experience the IBS symptoms continuously, even after the pressure is gone.   How Does Your Stress Impact The Gut?   When you are stressed out, your brain sends signals to your gut affecting its functions that involve digestion primarily. This further leads to disruption in the digestive process and gut bacteria, producing a bloated abdomen. As digestion gets affected, gut motility is also altered, affecting your stool frequency and changing its consistency.    Changes in gut flora or Microbial dysbiosis: Normally, our gut contains certain microbes such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Millions of microorganisms reside in our intestines and play an essential role in maintaining the integrity of gut health. Surprisingly, there are trillions of bacterial cells present in our bodies. The gut microbiomes control digestion, and if there is any alteration in the gut flora, it can eventually lead to causing Irritable bowel syndrome. In addition, these microbes also help regulate cholesterol, blood sugar, and body weight levels.   Infection: IBS can also develop after gastroenteritis, an infection that causes severe diarrhea.     Hormonal imbalance: "There is a link between your periods and IBS [https://www.verywellhealth.com/why-your-period-makes-your-ibs-worse-1945377]" because hormonal changes can make your gut sensitive, and IBS symptoms flare up. Menstruating women are often affected by IBS due to fluctuations in their hormone levels. The reason is that during menses, there is an increase in prostaglandins responsible for causing inflammation and contraction of smooth muscles that lead to diarrhea. But, before the onset of periods, your progesterone levels dominate, which may cause slow bowel action that results in constipation.   IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME PREVENTION    The following are some general hints for relieving irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.   * Only eat handmade meals prepared using fresh ingredients. * Avoid foods that are greasy, hot, or processed. * Keep track of your dietary supplements and attempt to avoid things that cause IBS by correlating your symptoms with the food you eat. * Try not to skip or postpone any meals. * Get plenty of meditation or other relaxation and fitness exercises. * Avoid eating more than three portions of fresh fruit per day. * A maximum of three cups of tea or coffee per day is permitted. * Do not try to eat too quickly * Avoid alcoholic beverages and fizzy drinks.   FACT SHEET - IBS    * According to research, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) prevalence in the Indian community ranges from 10% to 20%. * Women are up to 2 times more likely to have IBS than males. * People under the age of 50 are more prone than those beyond the age of 50 to acquire IBS. * If you have a family history of IBS, you are likely to have IBS.   Always Trust Your Gut!   Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a complex and frequently severe disorder affecting millions worldwide. Even though there is no known cure for IBS, several therapeutic options are available to assist control symptoms and improving quality of life. It is critical to promote awareness about IBS during IBS Awareness Month 2023 and encourage people to get proper diagnosis and treatment.   We can assist in eliminating the stigma associated with IBS by educating and advocating for better understanding among healthcare providers, family members, and friends. We can work towards a future where IBS does not prevent people from enjoying full and healthy lives by funding research and increasing access to appropriate treatment options. We can make a difference and improve outcomes if we work together.
Dr. Vijayalakshmi