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Arthritis Should be Listed Along with BP and Diabetes, Experts at Global Ayurveda Festival

In Health
December 04, 2023

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:
There are 60 million arthritis patients in the country, but the disease is yet to be considered a major non-communicable disease (NCD) when health policies are initiated by the authorities, experts said at a global conclave.

This was highlighted during a discussion at the ongoing fifth edition of World Ayurveda Festival (WAF) here on challenges posed by diseases which are not spread by human-to-human contact but pose major health problems like diabetes, blood pressure and heart ailments.

Dr Arvind Chopra, distinguished Scientist Chair, AYUSH for public health and epidemiology, said a national survey on musculoskeletal pain had shown that those affected by arthritis are 0.32 percent.

“But that number when multiplied by the Indian population figures shows there are 60 million people affected by it. Moreover, many people affected by the problem do not seek medical help until it aggravates to a serious level,” he pointed out.

Diseases like arthritis and diabetes can be controlled effectively if Ayurveda treatments are given in combination with other treatments, the experts said at the five-day conclave, which began on Saturday.

Two other experts, Prof Anup Thakar, Director of the Institute for Post-Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Gujarat, and Mr Valdis Pirags, Professor of Medicine, University of Latvia, presented evidence from different studies to show that the use of Ayurveda in combination with yoga can effectively control and even reverse diabetic conditions in people.

Prof Thakar said a global study done in 2021 found that 532 million people were suffering from diabetes and the number was projected to hit 783 million by 2045.

“What is more scary is that 266 million people identified as diabetics in the survey didn’t know they had a health problem,” he said.

Prof Pirags, who had translated some works on Ayurveda into Latvian language, presented a detailed study to show how the hypothalamus area of the brain that controls endocrine systems affects diabetics, and presented evidence about the benefits that Ayurveda treatment brings to such patients.

He said combining the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and modern methods of western medicine is the way forward for modern science.

Prof. S. Gopakumar, Government Ayurveda College, Kannur, delivered a compelling speech by showcasing individual case studies from his experience to show how Ayurveda provided effective treatment even in aggravated diabetic and respiratory cases.

He pointed out that the modern medical methods were not having the desired effect on the patients, forcing them to seek his help.

He also said the recent spike in air pollution levels in New Delhi emphasized the need to improve immunity at the community level rather than approaching it at an individual level.

Ayurveda as a system, which focuses on providing better health for the individual rather than treatment of disease alone, is ideally suited to modern-day ailments that stem from lifestyle changes, the experts said.