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Guwahati scribes face vulnerability to liver and heart ailments
A sizable number of working journalists in the Northeast of India face malfunction of liver and abnormal lipid profile.

Two recent screening camps, organized at the Guwahati Press Club for the benefit of its member-journalists, revealed that almost one fifth of the participants are vulnerable to liver and heart related ailments in the long-run, if timely precautions are not taken.

The latest screening camp, organized by Guwahati Accident, Trauma & Emergency (GATE) Hospital diagnosed around 20 per cent city-based journalists with abnormal liver function, where three per cent were advised immediate medical intervention. Altogether 140 scribes participated in the liver function test program, among them, however, nearly 75 per cent showed satisfactory outcome and they were asked for slight changes in food habits & lifestyle.

According to the physicians, the LFT comprises various blood tests to assess the state of liver and biliary system. The live cells contain enzymes that are responsible for carrying out the chemical reactions for digestion. When liver cells are damaged the enzymes leak out into the blood and that can be analyzed by the LFT, which is one of the most commonly used blood screenings.

WHO estimates that a huge number of individuals across the globe suffer from various liver diseases. It also adds that over 35 crore people are chronically affected by the Hepatitis B infection. It may be noted that Assam's well known Dispur Hospital earlier conducted a Hepatitis B vaccination camp for the press club members, where around 250 scribes participated.

Guwahati, the central city of Northeast India, supports over 25 morning daily newspapers along with hundreds of periodicals, five satellite news channels, cable news outlets, FM radio stations and a number of news portals. The far eastern city of India gives shelter to over 500 working journalists and most of them are associated with the local press club. The Northeastern region, with a population of around 60 million, has over 1000 professional scribes associated with various media outlets.

Dispur Hospital also organized a lipid profile screening camp at the press club premises few weeks back, where it was found that 25 per cent of the participants deserved urgent medical attentions as their cholesterol & triglyceride levels were far above the permissible limits. Out of 135 participants, half of them were in need of lifestyle modification with necessary physical activities.

The lipids are essential organic molecules found in blood and stored in tissues which play an important role in the functioning of a human body. The triglycerides indicate the excess fat in the body, which is stored in the fat cells. For an absolute reading, the lipid profile test is conducted after few hours of fasting. In general, if the reading remains less than 200 mg/dL, the person is safe, but if it goes above 400 mg/dL, (s)he needs medical attentions as the high triglycerides may increase the risk of heart disease and may be sign of metabolic disease like diabetes and hypertension.

The low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), also known as bad cholesterol, may cause coronary artery disease if not treated for years. However, the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), commonly termed as good cholesterol, helps removing the LDL from blood vessels. It reduces the probability of heart diseases. A high level of cholesterol does not indicate the risk of heart disease as it might be HDL. On the other hand, the very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) is also considered as one of the bad blood fat.

Lipid profile tests are essential for those who are overweight (or obese), regular alcohol consumers, chain smokers and having the family history of heart diseases. Moreover, who have suffered from kidney diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, hypothyroid etc, should go for the test at regular intervals. It helps monitoring a person's risk for cardiovascular diseases, describe practicing doctor.

The city press club, along with other regular activities, has been taking the healthcare awareness initiative for many years. Now it runs a weekly out-patient department clinic at the club premises for the benefit of its members along with their close relatives. Many scribes with high blood sugar, hypertension, thyroid, uric acid etc were also diagnosed in earlier health camps and were advised accordingly. Till date, the club has organized over 100 OPD clinics providing benefits to thousands of media persons with their families.

The initiative has been supported by Down Town Hospitals, GNRC Hospitals, Apollo Hospitals, SIMS Hospital, Medanta the Medicity Hospital, Manipal Hospital, Fortis Hospital, Health City Hospital, Ayursundra Hospital, Nemcare Hospital, Wintrobe Hospital, Excelcare Hospital, Rahman Hospital, Narayana Hospitals, Swagat Super-Surgical Institute, Barthakur Clinic, Sun Valley Hospital, Rahman Hospital, Sight First eye-clinic etc.

The author is an Assam based journalist and media activist.

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