The ongoing COVID pandemic doesn’t seem to subside, bringing the death toll to people with comorbidities. And the CDC Director has recently added that over 75% of people who died due to COVID had comorbidities like uncontrolled hypertension, diabetes, renal diseases and obesity.
Speaking on the importance of lifestyle in the prevention of diseases during Health4All Episode-17, Dr Amitav Banerjee, Prof & Head of Community Medicines, D Y Patil Medical College, Pune said, “Lifestyle changes do not only consist of diet and exercise but stepping outdoors for getting your mandatory dose of Vitamin D is also an important component of a healthy lifestyle. Your body needs adequate amounts of Vitamin D to maintain and support the immune system. Studies have shown how Vitamin D deficiencies can reduce vaccine efficacy and also increase the severity of COVID infection in individuals.”
“We have found that young adults are about 4 times more likely to have Vitamin D deficiencies as compared to older adults due to the cultural and social changes that have taken over in the past few decades. Vitamin D deficiency is directly associated with the exposure of skin to the sun. We see even the traffic police are found Vitamin D deficient despite having good exposure to sunlight. They spend reasonably good time in the sunlight but their skin and face are covered and not exposed to the sunlight,” added Dr Banerjee.
Throwing light on the reasons for obesity, Dr Banerjee said, “As per the latest data available, obesity has been turning out to be the common denominator for deaths. The USA has 67.9 per cent of obese people and 2756 deaths per million – both highest in the world. While India has a 19.7 percent overweight population and 357 deaths per million, way less than that of the USA. With food habits gradually shifting towards the American diet, which is low in fibre and high in sugar content, the younger generation is becoming even more susceptible to obesity.
Obesity reduces lung function and is also a surrogate marker of other comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, etc. All these are related to lifestyle factors like physical activity, diet, tobacco, alcohol, and stress. Reducing comorbidities can ultimately help reduce COVID deaths.”
In another session on experts’ recommendation for comorbid and safety measures in Covid times of Health4All Episode-17, Dr Vikas Oswal, Managing Director, GIVA Foundation said, “Tuberculosis is one of the underlying respiratory problems that need special focus like we are paying to protect us from COVID. If the immune system is strong and TB bacteria enters your body it doesn’t affect you much.”
Elaborating on the prevention and precautionary measures of COVID, Dr Prashant Saxena, Director & Head, Pulmonology & Sleep Medicine, Associate Director – Critical Care at Max Smart Hospital said, “Although Omicron variant of COVID is relatively milder than the previous variants, yet the optimal level of precautions needs to be taken to avoid its scourge. Don’t use the N95 mask again, after 8-9 hours of its use, you need to dispose it off. And normal masks have to be cleaned daily, and the seal of the mask should be tightened to protect yourself from infection.”
While conducting Health Counter during Health4All Online Episode-17, Dr Swadeep Srivastava, Founder HEAL Health & HEAL Foundation said, “We have reached over 1 million people through the informative videos of 17 episodes of Health4All where over 80 public health topics have been covered. The eminent panel of experts participating in Health4All Online show for over three months, and their research-oriented health information has brought ripple effects in the lives of the people in terms of behavioural change, in choosing the right kind of treatment, and in adopting the right preventive measures, ensuring healthy living.”