The Indian community’s annual medical symposium this year was based on healthy living and ageing. Conceived by the Indian Society of WA and Australian Indian Medical Association (AIMA), it took place at the Corinthian Park Tennis Club.
Dr Anjali Gadre and Dr Jagdish Jamboti, moderators for the evening, gave us insights on the issue. They explained the GP’s role in promoting healthy ageing, such as in increasing awareness, managing ongoing health issues, regular health checks, screening tests and co-ordinating with health and allied health professionals. Dr Jagdish said that chronic constipation should not be neglected, as it could lead to complications. The treatments to treat it are not complex either, and include simple lifestyle modifications such as changes in diet, adding more fluids, fibre supplements and most importantly exercise.
Dr Bhaskar Mandal, Consultant Geriatrician, Fiona Stanley Hospital, discussed the benefits of exercise in improving blood circulation and balancing the body. Walk for 3 kilometres every day, and you would reduce the risk of getting many diseases. The three pillars for successful ageing, he said, are exercise, balanced diet and mental wellness. New USDA states our food plate should consist of fruits, grains, vegetables, proteins and dairy. This reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer. To remain mentally sharp, he suggested, seek out new skills, meditate, get a social life, enough sleep and reduce the risk of dementia by keeping at bay obesity, hypertension and diabetes. Take home tips were, enjoy what you eat but eat less; snack wisely, and save half of your plate for fruits and vegetables.
Dr Sneha Bharadwaj, Consultant Geriatrician, Fremantle Hospital talked about the concept of frailty. Frailty means the condition of infirmity and weakness and loss of muscle power with age. Dimensions to assess frailty are fatigue, resistance, ambulation, illness, loss of weight wherein the healthy person scores 0 and a very frail person scores 5. Surgical patients are more prone to poor outcomes if they showcase symptoms of frailty. Frailty is inevitable but we can set goals to improve it and get treated as soon as it is identifies so that getting back on track becomes simple.
In between the presentations, the doctors requested the attendees to avail of the free hearing and vision tests which were available close at hand.
Dr Preeti Nair, Consultant Rheumatologist, spoke about bone-related issues which are much prevalent in ageing. Pain is an indicator of something being wrong with the body. Bursting the myth that pain is normal in ageing, she spoke about various kinds of arthritis like osteoarthritis (commonest among the elderly), rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis and classified the differences among all. She assured all that treatments and tests are available and it is a treatable disease. Visiting the doctor at the very onset can help in preventing it turning into a severe problem. She cleared frequently asked queries on fish oil and omega 3 as well.
Dr Manoj Tharakan, Consultant Radiologist and President AIMA, guided us towards successful ageing from a radiologist’s perspective. Ischemic heart disease affects one in six people in Australia. Gradual plaque deposition accumulates and leads to this condition. Pre checks of CT calcium scoring are beneficial if done regularly. He also spoke about Alzheimer’s disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), lung cancer, vascular dementia and stroke. He mentioned the benefits from CT Screening and the most accurate technology, DEXA Scan.
Dr Anu Bagwe, Consultant Psychiatrist, highlighted theories of ageing and problems involved with ageing like delirium, depression, phobias, cognitive disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia, alcohol and drug dependence. Globally there are 9.9 million new cases of dementia each year and 78% become severe in merely 7 years’ time. Right intake of vitamins is a must.
Mr Ramdas Sankaran from Ethnic Communities Council of WA and Mrs Rajashree Malaviya, Sanskriti Group also added their valuable words of wisdom.
The q-and-a afterwards elicited queries related to balanced diet, saturated oils, cholesterol and nutritional advice.
The event turned out to be a useful way for medical professionals to engage with the community. A video report was promised, an announcement that was especially welcomed by those members of the audience who claimed they were experiencing an information overload!