Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Abundant sunshine available in the Capital during peak summer months, yet 80 – 90% of the city’s population remains Vitamin D deficient

Abundant sunshine available in the Capital during peak summer months, yet 80 – 90% of the city’s population remains Vitamin D deficient

Indian Medical Association trains doctors in New Delhi on the urgent need to raise awareness about Vitamin D deficiency under its Rise & Shine campaign

New Delhi 26th May 2015: A CME was organized in New Delhi today by the Indian Medical Association to discuss the growing concern about the rise of Vitamin D deficiency cases amongst the Indian population. Lately, studies have revealed that in addition to the known skeletal effects of Vitamin D deficiency, it can also have serious long-term impact on the health of people making them vulnerable to diseases such as heart attacks, cognitive disorders, type 2 diabetes and cancer. The CME was an initiative under IMA’s Rise and Shine campaign and was attended by around 70 doctors.

The IMA Rise and Shine campaign is a National movement initiated by the Indian Medical Association under an unconditional educational grant from leading pharmaceutical company USV. It is aimed at sensitizing its 2.5-lakh members across 30 states and 1700 branches over the next two years about the need to raise awareness of Vitamin D deficiency. The campaign also aims to provide essential soft skills training to all doctors on topics such as public speaking, managing patient records online, adapting to the new mobile app culture, how to break the news of death to a patient's family.

Addressing the media, Padma Shri Awardees Dr. A Marthanda Pillai – National President and Dr. KK Aggarwal – Honorary Secretary General of the Indian Medical Association in a joint statement said, “For the next two years, the IMA Rise & Shine campaign will raise awareness about Vitamin D deficiency and address the skill gap that exists in the healthcare sector. A serious concern for the medical fraternity is that most people in our country are unaware that they are Vitamin D deficient. The onus lies on the doctors to recognize common signs of vitamin D deficiency in their patients such as tiredness, vague aches, and pains and advise them the right diet plans and supplementation to cure it. In the long run, a National policy on Vitamin D food fortification similar to that being practiced in the US and some European countries is needed to help eradicate the problem from its root itself.”

Adding to this, Dr. Ambrish Mithal, Chairman, Division of Endocrinology & Diabetes, Medanta – The Medicity and Dr. Ajay K Ajmani, Senior Consultant Endocrinologist, BLK Super Specialty Hospital in a joint statement said, “Vitamin D deficiency is rapidly gaining epidemic proportions yet it is the most under diagnosed and under treated nutritional deficiency in the world. Vitamin D, which can be synthesized in the body by sun exposure, is essential to maintain calcium homeostasis in the body for good bone health and for overall disease prevention. Supplementation is required when adequate levels are not met from natural sources. Indians are more prone to Vitamin D deficiency for several reasons including long and stressful working hours in a closed office space, consumption of a predominantly vegetarian diet and obesity amongst others. The need of the hour is to raise awareness about this problem and possible prevention measures.”

The IMA Rise and Shine campaign, in addition to conducting CMEs and soft skill training workshops across 128 cities, also comprises of a National daily SMS campaign for doctors, awareness through an active Facebook page, regular State and National Body meetings and public sensitization events.

IMA released certain guidelines for doctors during the CME. These include:
·         Indians require higher levels of vitamin D supplementation than their Western counterparts.
·         The typical dose of Vitamin D supplementation in Indian adults is about 2000 International units per day.
·         Doses up to 4000 IU daily are considered safe and do not require monitoring. Toxicity has not been reported below intakes of 10000 IU/day.
·         The optimum serum 25(OH)D level for patients with bone disorders like osteoporosis is 30 ng/dL (International Osteoporosis Foundation 2010, Endocrine Society 2011)
·         A serum 25(OH)D level of 30 ng/ml is also preferable for older adults (>50 years),  who are at risk for osteoporosis (IOF). For other patient groups or population, 25(OH)D values of  20 ng/ml may be considered adequate. Most Indians may require supplementation to achieve this level (International Osteoporosis Foundation 2010)
·         Vitamin D toxicity is most commonly caused by overdose of vitamin D supplements
·         There is no specific antidote for vitamin D toxicity. Hydration, judicious use of loop diuretics, calcitonin, bisphosphonates, and glucocorticoids are mainstay of management

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