What leading doctors want you to know about your health in 2017

Jan 4, 2017

Have you ever wondered what your doctors secretly (sometimes even candidly) wish you to follow to lead a healthy life? Well, we at TOI Health did and got them to answer one health mistake they feel you should stop making in 2017. Read

Padma Shri Awardee Dr. KK Aggarwal, National President Elect of the Indian Medical Association

The one health mistakes that people have committed is thinking salt is a leading cause of blood pressure. The main cause is now refined sugar.

Advice for 2017: This year everyone should resolve to get trained in the lifesaving technique of Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation – CPR. What people need to remember is two things, one CPR must not be practiced on a person who is breathing, has a pulse rate and is clinically alive. It must be administered within ten minutes of someone’s death and continued till the ambulance arrives or the person is revived. A cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time and a simple formula can help save a loved one’s life.

Dr. Zakia Khan – Interventional Cardiologist, Fortis Kalyan

Most common mistake I’ve seen my patients make is that they rely more on Internet and media health advice than they do on the advice of medical professionals.

Advice for 2017: Set aside at least 1 day every 6-8 months to take stock of your health. Do all your tests for cholesterol, heart function, blood sugar etc. We live at a time when you’re never too young to have heart disease or diabetes. Another suggestion I have for people this year is to make the most of technology in your fitness routine. Fitness apps and heart rate monitors are excellent for today’s busy professionals who want to stay healthy.

Dr. S. Sudhindran, Professor, Dept. of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi

I have seen mothers make their children eat too much, inadvertently pushing them towards obesity. They should learn to leave the kids alone, as children know when and how much to eat.

Advice for 2017: Shun all forms of sugar. These are as bad as alcohol.

Dr. Amrithlal A. Mascarenhas, Consultant Spine Surgeon, Vikram Hospital, Bangalore

People were found to be doing exercise like Surya Namaskar, gym work outs in an unsupervised manner. Exercise like this if done in haste, has like to several people visiting the hospital with back spasm and slip disc problems.

Advice for 2017: I request people to keep their back in good health by doing regular back exercises, under the guidance of a proper trainer, as this will minimize the risk of back related problems.

Dr. Anil Bhoraskar – Consultant Diabetologist, Fortis’ SL Raheja Hospital

Most common mistake my younger patients have been making over the past year is assuming they are not at risk of diabetes or blood pressure because they have no family history of the same or because they are very still in their early 20’s. I have seen a young 24 year old man with very high pressure who was clueless about his health.

Advice for 2017: Don’t wait till you’re older or till you get unwell to get regular check-ups. Health check-ups should be done at least once a year when you’re in your 20’s.

Dr Amitabh Parti, Additional Director, Internal medicine, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram

As time passe, age progresses and health risks tend to burden each individual as well as the family overall. This, apart from environment related diseases, accidents and addition of newer members in the family are all factors that need to be carefully taken into consideration while considering Health issues for the next year.

Advice for 2017: In my opinion, what needs to be urgently assessed and addressed is the Family Medical Insurance for the year 2017. What you need to ask yourself are the following- is your family adequately insured against a health issue? Consider ever-increasing hospitalization and medicine costs, tests of newer investigations and newer lifesaving techniques, new devices and new lifesaving support systems in the light of current trends of inflation. Next, please closely read the policy the type of cover whether it is an individual insurance policy does its umbrella cover the entire family, does it cover pre-existing ailments, does it include devices and advanced surgical procedures which may be essential to life.

The blunder that we seem to be making is still inadequate lifestyle correction. As of today this term lifestyle encompasses not only what you eat, how you live, how you exercise, but also how you protect yourself as well as the others. We are still struggling to increase awareness on vaccination programs, we have failed miserably in cleanliness and hygiene related issues, sanitation and potable water related issues still need care. I am hoping for healthier times ahead.

Dr Sanjay Kalra – Consultant Endocrinologist, Bharti Hospital Karnal & Vice President, South Asian Federation of Endocrine Societies

This year people have taken irrational drugs based upon advertisements in TV/newspapers/mass media. Some have even ignored preventive medicines prescribed by your doctor, this could also be probably because doctor was unable to communicate importance of preventing complications.

Advice for 2017: It is important to strengthen communication. Take only validated/evidence-based therapy prescribed by qualified health care professionals. Last but not the least, always ask for information. Take rational, informed shared decisions, after all, it is your health/life which is at stake.

Dr. Shikha Sharma, Founder, DrShikha’s NutriHealth

People followed low calorie diet to lose weight. Instead they should have added proteins in their diet, specially women, as they become protein deficient after a specific age and start eating carbs. This deficiency leads to weakening of muscles.

Advice for 2017: Apart from the defined methods of losing weight – like gyms, exercise, etc., women should explore dance to lose weight. It will not only help them lose weight but bring happiness and energy. It builds stamina and flexibility and above all they get to learn a new skill of dancing.

Dr. Pradip Shah – General Physician, Fortis Hospital in Mulund

A common mistake I have observed this year is the overuse of paracetamol and painkillers. Prolonged and frequent use makes your body accustomed to the drug, forcing you to increase the dosage. What is worse is patients don’t seek medical attention for nagging pain that needs to be investigated. Self medication isn’t ideal when you have symptoms that are nagging you for over a week. Know when to seek medical help.

Advice for 2017: Make time for yourself. Set aside time to get some exercise and de-stress. We have very fast paced lives and are too preoccupied with work and other commitments that we forget to look after our own health.

Dr Rajesh Sharma, Honorary Consultant Chest Physician at Saifee Hospital

There is increasing evidence that surfing the Internet and chatting on social media at bedtime is associated with sleep deprivation and consequently daytime tiredness.

Advice for 2017: Turn off all screens including mobile, TV, iPad about an hour before bedtime.

Dr. Sunita Maheshwari, Senior Consultant, Paediatric Cardiologist and Co-founder at RXDX and Teleradiology Solutions

What is not commonly known is that lack of sufficient sleep can lead to weight gain. The more sleep-deprived one is, the higher the levels of the stress hormone cortisol are found in the body. This leads to metabolic changes and increases one’s appetite leading to weight gain.

Advice for 2017: Sleep! Cut down that TV/digital time and increase your sleep time. Adults need a minimum of 7 continuous hours of sleep a night while children need 9-10 hours as their muscles and bodies grow during sleep.

Dr Devavrat Arya, Senior Consultant, Medical Oncology, Fortis International Oncology Centre, Noida

The biggest mistake that people make is not to undergo a screening test for cancer. The cost of a screening test is less than that of an average meal at a restaurant. This is important for early detection which increases the chances of survival. They have to get themselves checked once in a year.

Advice for 2017: I would advise them to eat a balanced diet, maintain healthy lifestyle and exercise regularly. This helps not only in reducing the chances of getting heart disease or diabetes but also in keeping cancer away.

Dr. Seema Grover, Sr. Consultant (Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation), Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals

A lot of people take fitness for granted. They lead a sedentary life without knowing that it’s the biggest factor for a lot of diseases.

Advice for 2017: Let fitness be our state of mind. Take up any physical activity you enjoy at the hour of the day you feel maximally energised.

Dr Akshay Batra, Managing director, Dr Batra’s Positive Health Clinic Pvt Ltd

From bright ombres to natural latte browns hair colouring was definitely the most noted trend of 2016 and also the biggest hair and skin enemy. Infact, since schools have started allowing hair colour, children as young as 12 and 13 years have also joined the trend. This year we saw a lot of cases of patients coming to us with skin rashes and facial swelling, most of which we due to a reaction from hair colour. While I understand that the youth needs to stay abreast with the latest trend, the simplest way to reduce any side effects is to do a patch test. Test the hair colour on the back of your ear or on a small section of your scalp, if there is no side effect for next 72 hours, then it’s safe to colour your hair. Also try to use an ammonia free hair colour and apply the hair colour atleast 2 inches away from the roots to minimize hair damage.

Advice for 2017: Hair loss is one of the most common problems faced today and its easy to get lost in the maze of ‘hair grow’ products and salon promises to stop hair fall. A lesser known fact is that hair loss is a medical problem and you need to visit a doctor to get to the root of the problem. Many health conditions like anaemia, PCOD, thyroid etc can cause severe hair fall. Hence it is more important to treat the disease to stop hair fall. My tip for 2017 is to get your hair loss checked and stop ignoring it or considering it as a cosmetic problem.

Dr. Mohit Bhandari, Bariatric surgeon

A lot of people come to me seeking guidance for weight-loss usually in the wake of an occasion like a wedding or any other important personal event. Even though the step and the direction is right, the intent is not. We need to understand the repercussions of obesity are far bigger than how we look – obesity can cause great ill-effects to our health, leading to other, sometimes irreversible, comorbidities. It’s unfortunate that more often than not, people wake up to the realization that they need to lose weight when they stop fitting in their old clothes but not when they’re having breathing problems or diabetes.

Advice for 2017: Move your focus from weight-loss to weight-management. Make it about your health not about your appearance. Eat healthy, exercise regularly and you won’t have to think about “ways to lose weight quickly” for your New Year’s Eve party. Make wiser choices, be persistent and don’t wait for the 31st of December to turn over a new leaf. It’s always a good time to take things in your hands, for a better and healthier future.


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