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Mothers of Babies with Heart Defect May be at Risk Themselves: Study

The study findings are based on medical records for over 10 lakh women who gave birth in Quebec, Canada, between 1989 and 2013.

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Women who give birth to infants with congenital heart defects may have an increased risk of heart problems, including heart attack and heart failure, later in life, warns a new study.

Researchers found that among more than 1 million women, those who’d given birth to a baby with a heart defect were up to 43% more likely to be hospitalized for heart problems over the next 25 years.

The study is the first to link newborn heart defects to heart disease in moms. And experts said the reasons for the findings are unclear.

“I think women should be aware of the findings, but not worried by them,” said Dr Mary Ann Bauman, a spokesperson for the American Heart Association who was not involved in the research.

The study had some limitations, Bauman said. For example, the researchers could not examine whether smoking at least partly explained the connection: The habit can raise the risks of both congenital heart defects and heart disease in adults.

The study of more than one million women also showed 24% higher risk of any cardiovascular hospitalisation in women whose infants had non-critical defects.

For the research, published in the journal Circulation, the researchers analysed data on women who delivered infants between 1989 and 2013 in Quebec, Canada, who had critical, non-critical or no heart defects.

They tracked the women up to 25 years after pregnancy for hospitalisations related to cardiovascular disease including heart attack, heart failure, atherosclerotic disorders and heart transplants.

“Caring for infants with critical heart defects is associated with psychosocial and financial stress, which may increase the mothers’ long-term risk for cardiovascular disease,” said the study’s lead author Nathalie Auger from the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre in Quebec.

While a genetic component cannot be excluded, the psychosocial impact of congenital heart disease on caregivers may have a cumulative effect over the long term because 85% of infants with heart defects now survive past adolescence, suggests the study.

The researchers believe that the study provides an opportunity for these mothers to benefit from early prevention strategies and counselling to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease — the leading cause of death in women.

Healthcare providers, like obstetricians, who treat and follow mothers in the early stages of dealing with children who have heart defects can help women understand and minimise their risk, Auger said.

Worldwide, congenital heart defects affect nearly eight in every 1,000 newborns. That makes them the most common form of birth defect.

But until now, it hasn’t been clear whether the mothers of those babies have any particular risk of developing heart disease themselves, the researchers noted.

Among women whose babies had critical heart defects, there were about 3.4 hospitalizations for every 1,000 women each year, according to the report. That figure was 3.2 per 1,000 among moms of babies with less-severe defects — and 2.4 per 1,000 among women whose babies were free of heart defects.

The researchers weighed other factors — including the women’s age when they gave birth, and documented health issues such as diabetes, obesity and depression — both during and after pregnancy.

Those factors, it turned out, did not fully explain the link between congenital heart defects and heart disease in mothers. Moms of babies with critical defects were still 43 percent more likely to be hospitalized for heart problems, compared to moms of babies without heart defects.

If their baby had a less-serious heart defect, the risk was 24 percent higher, the findings showed.

“This does not mean you’re destined to have a heart attack,” Bauman stressed. “It does mean you need to take care of yourself, too. Don’t ignore your own health.”

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HEALTHCARE

Health Minister Gives Kayakalp Awards for Health Facilities

The award is given by the Ministry to those best performing public health facilities which demonstrate a high level of cleanliness, hygiene and infection control.

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NEW DELHI: Health and Family Welfare Minister JP Nadda gave away the Kayakalp awards in New Delhi on April 19.

The award is given by the Ministry to those best performing public health facilities which demonstrate a high level of cleanliness, hygiene and infection control.

On the basis of numbers of patients and bed occupancy, the awards have been listed in two categories.

In the first category, AIIMS, New Delhi, received the first prize worth Rs. 2.50 crore, while PGI Chandigarh won the second prize worth Rs. 1.50 crore.

In the second category, North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Science, Shillong was adjudged as the winner with a prize money worth Rs. 1.50 crore.

The second prize went to AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, with a prize money worth 1 crore.

Speaking on the occasion, Nadda said, the Kayakalp initiative will surely prompt other hospitals to excel in achieving the Prime Minister’s goal of Swachh Bharat.

He said, health was not taken seriously earlier, but now it has taken centre stage in the government’s agenda.

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DARPAN-PLI, App for Postal Life Insurance Launched

The hand-held devices will ensure improvement in the quality of Postal services being offered in remote rural areas. 

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NEW DELHI: Minister of State for Communication Manoj Sinha launched DARPAN-Postal Life Insurance App on April 17 in New Delhi.

The DARPAN-PLI App will help in collection of premium for postal life insurance and rural postal life insurance policies at branch post offices anywhere in India, with online updation of the policies.

Speaking on the occasion, Sinha said, these initiative will help Department of Posts in providing better after-sales service to customers, particularly those living in rural areas of the country.

He said, with a view to achieve total digitisation of postal operations in the country, the department has launched Digital Advancement of Rural Post office for a new India (DARPAN) Project, which aims at connecting all one lakh 29 thousand Rural Branch Post Offices.

The Hand-held devices installed under DARPAN Project will ensure improvement in the quality of Postal services being offered in remote rural areas.

Customers in these areas can now avail the facility of online Core Banking, booking of Registered and Speed Post articles, booking of Money Orders, deposit of Postal Life Insurance and Rural Postal Life Insurance premium through these hand-held devices.

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HEALTHCARE

Almost 90% in Delhi are Vitamin-D Deficient

The bigger concern is that the population at large is not even aware of Vitamin D deficiency and its consequences.

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NEW DELHI: Around 88% of the Delhi-NCR population surveyed suffered from Vitamin D deficiency which causes chronic muscle pain, spasms, low energy levels, depression etc, according to a recent report.

However, the bigger concern is that the population at large is not even aware of Vitamin D deficiency and its consequences.

A data analysis of people between the age group of 21 and 65 years from October 2017 to March 2018 showed insufficient Vitamin D presence.

The age group of 21-35 years showed maximum insufficiency, according to the survey conducted by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

The report said that eight out of ten people suffered from the deficiency.

Around 55% of survey respondents were under the age bracket of 20-29 years, followed by 30-39 years (26%), 40-49 years (16%), 50-60 years (approximately 2%) and 60-80 years (1% approximately).

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone mineralization, leading to bone softening diseases as rickets in children and osteomalacia and osteoporosis in adults. The deficiency can be easily corrected by Vitamin D supplementation or some lifestyle changes, said Dr H K Chopra, co-chairman of ASSOCHAM Healthcare Council.

Dr Chopra further said insufficiency or non-exposure to sunlight, staying in air-conditioned rooms for long hours during the day could be the prime reason behind the deficiency.

Low vitamin D levels are widely known to harm bones, leading them to become thin, brittle, soft or misshapen.

It is also to be noted that Vitamin D is equally important for heart, brain, immune function and much more.

Foods high in Vitamin D are fish, beef liver, egg yolks.

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