Rise And Shine For Vitamin D
80 percent of Indians are vitamin D deficient; Can lead to health complications like diabetes and heart disorders | By Yentha
On Sep 01, 2015

Trivandrum: Endocrinologist Dr.Mathew John was of the view that in spite of abundant sunshine in the country, around 80%-90% people suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. It is important that doctors recognize common signs of Vitamin D deficiency in their patients and provide appropriate lifestyle counselling and supplementation. Dr. John was speaking at an Indian Medical Association (IMA) organized CME in the city to discuss the various health threats faced by the Indian population due to Vitamin D deficiency.

According to Dr. John, “The reason for this is the sun-shy behavior of Indians, a predominantly vegetarian diet, long stressful working hours in closed spaces and a genetic pre-disposition. In the long run a National policy on food fortification is a must and the government must study and evaluate the success seen in countries like the US and Canada in dealing with the Vitamin D epidemic.”

A hidden ailment, Vitamin D deficiency can have a serious long-term impact on a person's health making them vulnerable to diseases such as heart attacks, diabetes, and cancer. The CME was an initiative under IMA’s Rise and Shine campaign and was attended by over 50 leading doctors in the city.

The Rise and Shine campaign is a National movement initiated by the IMA under an unconditional educational grant from the pharmaceutical company, USV. It aims at sensitizing IMA’s 2.5 lakh members across 30 states and 1700 branches over the next two years about the need to raise awareness about Vitamin D deficiency.

Adding to what Dr.John said, Dr. A Marthanda Pillai – National President and Dr. K K Aggarwal – Honorary Secretary General of the Indian Medical Association in a joint statement said, “A serious concern for the medical fraternity is that most people in our country are unaware that they are Vitamin D deficient. Lately, the deficiency of Vitamin D has been identified as a risk factor for various cardiovascular ailments such as heart diseases, congestive heart failure, heart attacks and strokes. People having a higher incidence of high blood pressure and diabetes, conditions that are associated with cardiovascular diseases, are advised to consume dairy products daily and spend at least 30 minutes in the sun. 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 health care sector.”

Dr. Muhammed Shaffi F., Hon Secretary, IMA Trivandrum branch said, “Vitamin D deficiency is rapidly gaining an epidemic status, yet it is the most under-diagnosed and under treated nutritional deficiency in India and the World. Vitamin D, which can be synthesized in the body with adequate exposure to sunlight is essential to maintain calcium homeostasis in the body for good bone health and overall disease prevention.”

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

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