Undoubtedly, many women suffer from anemia globally. Almost 32 million pregnant women are affected by this worldwide which includes almost 50% of all pregnant women in low and middle-income families. Now, anemia is becoming a threat to such pregnant women who face the risk of death, according to new studies. Increased iron deficiency rates, genetic blood disorders, nutrition deficiencies and infections such as malaria, HIV and hookworm are few reasons for anemia primarily affecting women in low- and middle-income countries.
Every pregnant woman is tested for her blood cells count during pregnancy and this study shows that when such women develop severe anemia at any point during pregnancy or within a week after delivery, they are at a higher risk of dying. This study is one of the most versatile ones conducted using WHO data of more than 3 lakh pregnancies across 29 countries. Of the lot, 4,189 women had severe anemia (blood count less than 70 grams/liter blood) and was compared with the data of 8,218 women without severe anemia.
While earlier studies conducted could not conclude whether anemia was the reason for death of the maternal woman or there were other contributing factors, this study proves that when all other factors are controlled the risk of maternal death due to anemia is doubled. Also, the data collected was from different geographical locations and social environment using different statistical approaches and the results prove that there is a strong link between severe anemia and maternal death beyond all these factors.
Developing Countries Pose Greater Risk
In most cases, pregnant women face a greater risk of anemia as they are in a position to fulfill the nutrient needs of the fetus along with their own needs. Developing countries face a greater risk of malnutrition and deaths due to the same profoundly. When providing basic nutrition is questionable, there is 100% chance for anemia to hit most pregnant women in these countries.
People generally assume that giving iron supplements can solve the problem as pregnant women mostly suffer from iron-deficient anemia. But, if iron tablets can solve the problem, why do we still talk about it and even further, about death due to anemia? It is always better to nourish your body with nutrients from food instead of relying on supplements and other external factors. Equip your body with healthy foods rich in iron and for the complete list of iron-rich foods, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
Developing countries often lack proper healthcare facilities and trained nurses who are completely aware of the problem at hand and can provide first-hand solutions for the same. According to WHO, almost 99% of the deaths among pregnant women happen in developing countries. Nigeria (58,000) and India (45,000) contribute to one-thirds of the world’s total maternal deaths (2015).
This shows the strong need to take up anemia as a major health problem and treat it with vigor worldwide, especially in developing countries. There is clear evidence that the present solutions are not working out properly and there is dire need to rework on better programs and methods.
Climate change is affecting every aspect of human life-global warming is scaring people worldwide due to melting glaciers, the unpassionate heat of the sun takes a toll on many people’s lives and above all these, children are said to bear 88% of the burden of the diseases due to climate change (according to research).
In today’s date, there is substantial increase in the number of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, etc.) due to demographic, social, technological and other changes along with climate changes as well. We talk about infectious diseases and climate changes now, but our ancestors were smarter than us. As early as the nineteenth century, humans linked epidemic diseases with climatic conditions. Roman aristocrats settled in hilly resorts during every summer to avoid malarial infections and South Asians used strong spices while cooking as they believed that strongly curried foods reduced the chances of diarrhea. Also, malaria is considered to be the vector-borne disease most sensitive to long-term climate change and the link between malaria and extreme climatic events has long been studied in India. Some years back, the river-irrigated Punjab region was attacked by a series of periodic malaria epidemics and the constant rainfall and water presence proved to be advantageous for the breeding of mosquitoes.
Around the World
A study shows that death due to diarrhea, malaria and nutritional deficiencies among children younger than 5 accounts for 38%, 65% and 48% of all global deaths (as per 2015 statistics). Climate change includes changes in temperature, precipitate, wind and sunshine that have a long-lasting impact on the survival, reproduction or distribution of disease pathogens and hosts. Changing climatic conditions have greater impact on many types of infectious diseases (including vector-borne, air-borne, food-borne and water-borne).
Climate variations also affect the interaction between humans and hosts, such as seasonal occupation, migration and winter-summer changes, which in turn affect disease transmission. During heavy rainfall, deer and mice enter human dwellings in search of food resulting in transmission of hantavirus to humans that can cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS).
Vector-borne Disease: Malaria
Most of the common infectious diseases, particularly those spread by insects, greatly depend on climate variation. Infectious diseases such as salmonellosis, cholera and giardiasis are on the rise due to flooding and vagaries in temperature. Globally, hurricane Katrina, Harvey and Irma are solid proofs for climate change-related weather events that affect children’s health along with newly emerging infectious pathogens such as the Zika virus. Zika is again a mosquito-borne infection due to climate instability. Zika infection during pregnancy can lead to microcephaly where the newborn’s head is smaller than expected and the brain has not developed properly. Sadly, the most-affected individuals are children whose condition can never be reversed. Read more on Zika virus and its effects at www.firsteatright.com.
Water-borne Disease: Diarrhea
Constantly increasing temperatures are another cause for increasing waterborne bacterial infections that cause diarrhea. World Health Organization projects an addition death of 48,000 children who are younger than 15 years of age by 2030 without further climate change due to diarrhea. There is a negative association between rainfall and diarrhea rates in children under the age of 5, which points to the increased use of unprotected water sources and decreased hygiene practices when water is scarce. The world today provides a bleak picture on available water resources due to global warming and water scarcity is already an important issue on the global front. It is sure to become even more severe and broader resulting in increasing number of diarrhea cases worldwide.
WHO projects an additional 95000 deaths due to childhood undernutrition by 2030. Unpredictable weather changes and extreme temperatures damage crops impacting food production and supply:
When it comes to natural calamities like volcanic eruptions and earthquakes our hands are tied and we cannot take much preventive actions. But, climate change-induced health effects can be alleviated by taking proactive measures from our end. Diseases such as malaria are prominent in developing countries such as Africa and India but not contained within these regions. Developed countries must join hands with such developing countries to reduce the impact of climate change-induced health risks.
Children suffer the most due to these climate changes as they spend a considerable period of time playing outdoors any time of the year. We need quicker and better efforts in addressing climate changes to safeguard our children and maintain their good health.
Menopause denotes the ceasing of reproductive ability in a woman and the start of increased risk for many chronic health problems. Early or late, menopause date abates the overall health of the woman. Early menopause (between age 40-45) can lead to osteoporosis, obesity, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome while delayed menopause (between age 55-60) increases the risk of estrogen-responsive cancers.
Menopause symptoms, the methods available to soothe the transition stage and the outcomes after menopause are popularly discussed topics. There is also substantial research material published about the lifestyle and reproductive factors such as education level, smoking, marital status, occupation, age at menarche and use of oral contraceptive pills that serve as a foundation for determining onset age for menopause. Certain studies promote the fact that there are higher chances of early menopause in malnourished women or women with a low body-mass index (BMI) while overweight/obese women experience menopause at a later age.
A latest journal study published the fact that what you eat could determine when you start menopause. The study collected baseline data from 35,372 women between ages 35 and 69 questioning them on diet, reproductive history, exercise levels, weight history and use of hormone replacement therapy. After a four-year period when these women were followed-up, 14,172 women aged between 40 and 65 years responded. Of the lot, 914 reported that they had gone through natural menopause during the four-year period and the researchers found that on average, these women attained menopause at the age of 51.
The study considered 15 food items including vegetable proteins, oily fish, shellfish, grapes, herbal tea, tea and wines, tomatoes, sauces and low-calorie salad cream. Results showed that:
Children today are smarter, cleverer and more active than before. Thanks to folic acid supplements, multivitamins prescribed right from the first trimester and all other beverage powders and food products that nurture a pregnant lady’s health. Yet our children are lazier and become tired very easily. They often complain of tiredness several times during a week which might be due to several reasons-maybe they were awake for a long time the previous night, they are forced to do something that does not interest them or they had a busy day at school due to annual day performance or sports day practice. These are common complaints that are not worrisome until the child starts complaining of tiredness all the time and fatigue sets in preventing him/her to even stop doing things of interest.
Some common reasons for chronic fatigue in children include:
Sleep issues: Sleepless nights, not getting enough sleep or not getting quality sleep can be extremely tiring and the child feels exhausted the next day. Reasons for this include:
Infections/Illnesses: While the normal Influenza virus can leave the child tired for almost a week, there are some infections such as the Epstein-Barr virus that can make the child very tired and last for weeks or months together. Also, chronic illnesses such as asthma can cause fatigue and leave the child frequently with breathlessness. This makes them tired and might be a valuable clue to diagnose a major problem.
Anemia: Lack of adequate red blood cells in the body causes fatigue. These cells carry oxygen to all other cells in the body. Lack of iron results in iron-deficient anemia which is mostly due to insufficient consumption of iron-rich foods. Serve the right foods for your child by getting to know them from the website www.firsteatright.com.
Hypothyroidism: Tiredness is a common complain in hypothyroidism. Here, the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone which slows down the metabolism of the body and makes the person feel tired.
Heart problems, cancer or other serious diseases: Though rare in children, these problems can cause fatigue.
Depression or mental health issues: These problems are not restricted to adults and children too feel life to be taxing sometimes due to overburdening school work or family disputes at home. Children express it as fatigue and this is most commonly seen than any of the reasons listed above.
Fix an Appointment with the Doctor
When your child complaints of persistent tiredness for more than a week or two together, make an appointment with the doctor who is sure to take care of the following:
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.