Matters of the Heart – Hypertension management

Matters of the Heart – Hypertension management

Matters of the Heart – Hypertension management

Hypertension

Hypertension (HTN) is the most prevalent non-communicable disease in both developed and developing countries including India. Uncontrolled blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) such as heart attacks and stroke, and are responsible for one-third of total deaths in India. In India it is estimated that at least one in four adults has hypertension but, only about 12% of them have their blood pressure under control. The latest NFHS 5 data estimated that 21 per cent of females over 15 years have hypertension as opposed to 24 per cent of males in the same age group. Twelve per cent of women and 9 per cent of men say that on two or more occasions they were told by a doctor or health professional that they have hypertension or high blood pressure. Raised blood pressure is among the most important risk factors for CVDs. Moreover, it remains poorly controlled due to low awareness about hypertension, lack of appropriate care through primary care and poor follow up.

How do you know if you are having hypertension?

Ideally, the normal blood pressure in human beings is 120/80 mm. Hg. A blood pressure of 140/90 mm. Hg. or above is considered high. If blood pressure has been monitored regularly for a week and recorded above 140/90 mm. Hg. on two or more occasions, the person is diagnosed to be hypertensive.

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

The highest of blood pressure will sometimes go unnoticed due to want of symptoms. The only way to know one has high blood pressure is to get it measured. Due to the lack of symptoms, hypertension is also called a silent killer. The symptoms one might experience could include:

  • Headache with or without heaviness of head
  • Fatigue or confusion
  • Vision problems
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Vertigo
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pounding in chest, neck, or ears
  • Loss of balance

How to Maintain Normal Blood Pressure

Maintain Blood Pressure

Absolute Must

  • Take medicines regularly as adviced by your doctor
  • Keep monitoring your BP levels
  • Do not stop or change medicines without consulting your doctor

India Hypertension Control Initiative Study

The India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI) a multi-partner initiative conducted a cohort study in 24 IHCI sites in four Indian states — Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Telangana was jointly funded by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Indian Council of Research (ICMR). The aim of the study was to strengthen hypertension or high blood pressure management and control by surveilling and treating patients. The details of the study could be found here

Hypertension Myths and Facts

Key Takeaways from IHCI study

  1. India has backed its National Multisectoral Action Plan with best-practice programs that are proven to reduce NCD-related illness, disability, and death.
  2. One of India’s most impressive achievements is gaining independence from industrially-produced trans fat in food by committing to the WHO goal of elimination by 2023.
  3. India has committed to the global target of reducing population salt intake 30% by 2025, which would save hundreds of thousands of lives in the country each year.
  4. India has made notable progress in tobacco control with a relative reduction in adult tobacco use of 17% between 2009 and 2016.
  5. India is also showing the world how hypertension can be treated successfully in primary health care through the India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI).
  6. Nearly half of registered patients through IHCI  in first quarter 2021 had controlled blood pressure during their most recent visit, far higher than the baseline control rate.
  7. An exciting development which may enable India to meet its ambitious target of a 25% relative reduction in hypertension prevalence by 2025 is its countrywide network of 150,000 health and wellness centers, which improve primary health care by bringing health services directly to communities.

Awareness Strategies by Consumer VOICE

World Hypertension Day – 17 May 2021

Measure your blood pressure, control it, live longer!

Hypertension affects more than 30% of the adult population worldwide, more than one billion people around the world. It is the main risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, especially coronary heart disease and stroke, but also for chronic kidney disease, heart failure, arrhythmia and dementia.

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Workshop in Delhi-NCR on Food Labeling

Workshop in Delhi-NCR on Food Labeling

Workshop in Delhi-NCR on Food Labeling

Consumer VOICE, organized a sensitization workshop on Importance of Food Labeling at Dayanand Secondary School, Vivek Vihar along with state partner organisation  Bhartiya Manav Kalyan,Samiti in Dec2022. The workshop aimed at creating awareness among the young students on the importance of food labelling, their right to choose healthy food products and to discuss about impact of non-communicable diseases.

Food Label

An exhaustive presentation on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) was shown to the participant’s. Through this presentation students were briefed on the harmful effects of salt, sugar and fats .Our expert speaker also briefed the students that why reading labels correctly is important for them.

Unhealthy packaged foods are risking the lives of many Indians including teens and children’s as more and more people are falling prey to High BP, diabetes or obesity. Consumption of packaged foods is now almost a part and parcel of life and therefore reading labels is very crucial so that consumers can make an informed choice.

Food Label

Teachers also spoke about NCDs and why we should cut down on unhealthy foods and stressed that the best way to do so is to read the labels properly.

The children were sensitized on the need to understand food labels and the same was demonstrated through examples of food labels on various packaged products. Information on proposed front of pack labelling was also shared.  

The workshop was followed with a question-answer session where students asked some interesting questions like will it help them to reduce weight or will it help them to avoid some non-communicable diseases as they grow up.

We witnessed active participation and enthusiasm among all participants in the workshop. More than 80 students including students, teachers and staff members joined the workshop.

Food Labels: The Need and Importance!

Food Labels: The Need and Importance!

Food Labels: The Need and Importance!

To find the greatest deal, shoppers frequently examine the costs of foods in the grocery store. However, comparing products using the food label can help us decide which option is best for our health. One of the most useful tools available to us as consumers is the food label. For instance, there may be five different varieties of tomato soup available for someone with high blood pressure who needs to control their salt (sodium) intake. Looking at the section of the label that includes nutrition information allows one to quickly and simply compare the sodium amount of each product and select the one with the lowest sodium content.

Today, the majority of goods come with food colouring and preservatives. Kids eat cereal and sip colourful, blue, and green sports drinks. According to research, colour is bad for the body and can even have qualities that can cause cancer. Younger children consume cotton candy and lollipops, which are made entirely of sugar and colour. Reading food labels can assist in selecting the ideal quantity of natural Vitamin A and C, calcium, and iron for children while avoiding junk.

People in India frequently stray from their regular eating habits during the festival season and indulge in binge-eating and unhealthy meals that aren’t typically a part of their diet. While pampering oneself every now and then is appropriate, one must also learn to consciously stay away from things that are detrimental to their health and may result in long-term issues.

As the holiday season proceeds and the New Year gets close, we’ll all indulge in sweets and gift-exchanging. But we also need to be conscious of our wellbeing. On every packaged food item we purchase, we must double-check the packaging and expiration date. However, we also need to take a look at the delicacies’ expiration dates. Traditional milk-based confections, such as gulab jamun, rasgulla, and rasmalai, are commonly made using khoya, chhena, sugar, as well as additional ingredients including maida, flavours, and colours. Sweets, especially those containing dairy products, have a shorter shelf life and are more likely to develop bacteria. Therefore, it is essential to prepare them with cleanliness and sanitation and to consume them prior to the end of their shelf life.

Tips to Eat Healthy

  • In order to be healthy and have a stronger immune system, you should consume adequate fibre-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Limit your intake of saturated and trans fats 
  • Restrict your daily salt intake to less than five grams
  • Reduce your intake of free and added sugars
  • To assist avoid unhealthful weight gain, lower your total fat intake to less than 30% of your overall energy intake 
  • Reduce total trans fats (found in processed foods, fast food, snack food, fried food, frozen pizza, pies, cookies, margarines, and spreads) to less than 1% of total energy intake and replace it with unsaturated fat. By doing so, you can lower your risk of developing non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers. 

Food Labelling Can Help Prevent NCDs

Food Labelling Can Help Prevent NCDs

Food Labelling Can Help Prevent NCDs

India faces equally difficult issues with regard to food, nutrition, and health. About 5.87 million of all fatalities worldwide—or 60% of all deaths—are caused by non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including those brought on by eating disorders. The widespread availability of foods with a high caloric density and a high salt, sugar, and saturated fat content is one of the main causes of this. Packaged junk food is responsible for more deaths worldwide, and it is also a major contributor to obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer.

One of the most important ways to prevent NCDs is to maintain a healthy diet. Obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and malignancies are examples of chronic non-communicable diseases that can be prevented by eating complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and animal products in moderation and limiting your intake of fats and oils. Consuming a variety of foods helps your body get the nutrients it needs, fights disease and illnesses, gives you energy for daily tasks, and generally enhances your health and well-being.

Front-of-package warning labelling is essential for encouraging healthy lifestyles because it helps customers to quickly, clearly, and effectively identify items that are rich in nutrients of concern connected to NCDs.

Workshop in Gujarat on Food Labelling

Workshop in Gujarat on Food Labelling

Workshop in Gujarat on Food Labelling

Consumer VOICE organised an interactive workshop with the students on 7th November with the support of our Gujarat State Partner – Rajkot Saher Jilla Grahak Suraksha Mandal at local education institute-(M.J.K College for Girls Students) in Rajkot.

Food Label

The event was organised to sensitize and educate students about food safety and importance of food labels.

Students participated with enthusiasm and keen interest was shown by them in the subject matter. They were sensitized on how food labels can help them to make informed choices.  The participants were also briefed on non-communicable diseases like obesity, diabetes, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. Students were sensitized on how to read food labels correctly and how one should be careful while buying packaged foods. The food labels help one to identify foods which are high in calories, salt, sugar and fats.

The critical nutrients responsible for non-communicable diseases can be attributed to high consumption of salt, sugar and fats. Reading food labels correctly is crucial for making the right choice. Also as per research results reduction in consumption of High in Fat, Sugar and Salt (HFSS) foods has considerably reduced NCD burden.

During the workshop, the principal of the college also spoke about the need for embracing healthy eating habits among the students. The participants found the session very helpful and also pledged to read the food labels henceforth. Teaching staff also joined the workshop and shared their views.

They were briefed on the harmful critical nutrients of salt, sugar and fats in packaged foods and how non-communicable diseases are a result of high intake of some of these nutrients.

It is therefore important to read food labels carefully to help make the right choice. The need for Front of Pack Warning Labels and possible types were also discussed through a presentation by our partner organisation.

Experts told the audience how food labels are helpful to monitor salt and sugar intakes and to make healthier choices through eating a healthy diet. Consumers can also monitor calories, saturated fats and intake of micronutrients which are helpful in avoiding deficiencies like iron and Vitamin D.

More than 70 students participated in the program which highlighted the importance of food labels. To make them understand about food labels we organised a short demo through food labelling on various food and drinks products.

Students participated with enthusiasm and asked various queries during question –answer session. These queries were addressed by the experts.

Food Labels: The Need and Importance!

Food Labels: Look at them!

Food Labels: Look at them!

Meera and her mother were shopping. She requested her favourite soft drink and snacks. Her mother, however, suggested that she eat something wholesome. Meera didn’t waver. She said, “Soda and chips are also nutritious. They are really good and amazing.” Her mother decided to adopt a new strategy.

Let’s examine the chips package and your preferred soft drink together, Meera, she said. Whether they are healthy for you or not may be determined. When Meera studied the food label, she was shocked to learn that the chips had almost little nutritional value and the soft drink was heavy in sugar. “I will stick to nutritious eating from now on,” she promised her mum.

This is a case in many households. The things that you find tasty and addictive are not always good for you. You always want to choose the best for your family and yourself. How can you avoid being duped by advertisements and choose healthy options? Simply select the item, turn it over, and read the food label.

During the festival season, people in India often veer from their normal eating patterns and indulge in binge-eating and unhealthy foods that aren’t usually a part of their regular diet. While treating yourself once in a while is acceptable, one must also learn to intentionally avoid items that are bad for their health and can cause long-term problems.

The Need to Read Food Labels 

We shall all indulge in sweets and gift-exchanging as the festive season continues and Diwali draws closer. But we also need to be aware of our health. We double-check the packaging and expiration date on every packaged food item we buy. But we also need to look at the expiration dates of sweets. Traditionally produced milk-based sweets like gulab jamun, rasgulla, and rasmalai, among others, are frequently created using khoya, chhena, sugar, as well as extra ingredients including maida, flavours, and colours. Sweets have a shorter shelf life and are more prone to microbial growth, especially those that contain dairy products. So it is crucial to prepare them with cleanliness and hygiene and to consume them before their shelf life expires.

  1. Select a milk-based dessert like kheer, mishit doi, shrikhand, or sandesh. These treats are simple to make at home with any changes we choose and milk is a superb supply of first-rate protein.
  2. Fresh fruits, dried fruits like dates and raisins, and natural flavourings like cinnamon and nutmeg can all be used in place of sugar.
  3. Choose a healthy dessert from the available options.
  4. Experiment with something novel and outlandish that includes a useful food. A few examples include dates sesame ladoo, oats dates nut ladoo, walnut ladoo, methi kheer, dudhi kheer, apple sheera, fruit kheer, papaya halwa, beetroot halwa, carrot kalakand, oats pancakes with cranberry syrup, blueberry syrup, or chocolate syrup, homemade protein bars, apple pie, pumpkin pie, fruit yoghurt.

Tips to Eat Healthy

  • In order to be healthy and have a stronger immune system, you should consume adequate fibre-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Limit your intake of saturated and trans fats
  • Restrict your daily salt intake to less than five grams
  • Reduce your intake of free and added sugars
  • To assist avoid unhealthful weight gain, lower your total fat intake to less than 30% of your overall energy intake
  • Reduce total trans fats (found in processed foods, fast food, snack food, fried food, frozen pizza, pies, cookies, margarines, and spreads) to less than 1% of total energy intake and replace it with unsaturated fat. By doing so, you can lower your risk of developing non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers.

The burden of NCDs: What can you do?

India has been suffering from the catastrophic effects of an unhealthy diet, with 135 million people being obese and the number of fatalities from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) rising. Packaged junk food is responsible for more deaths worldwide, and it is also a major contributor to obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer.

WHO advised healthy populations to reduce their intake of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sugar, sodium, and total calories while providing adequate intakes of carbohydrates, protein, and dietary fibre in order to prevent diet-related NCDs.

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure that you are getting enough potassium, most micronutrients, dietary fibre, and a wide range of important non-nutrient compounds. Fruits and vegetables can take the place of diets that are heavy in saturated fats, sugar, or salt.

In order to encourage healthy lifestyles, front-of-package warning labelling is essential because it enables customers to quickly, clearly, and efficiently identify items that are high in nutrients of concern linked to NCDs.

References

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