In today’s time, when globally we are facing the Covid-19 pandemic, taking care of our health has become even more important. Especially, for those who are nearing forty years or are over forty years in age.

Starting with this introductory episode of the Health After Forty series, we will learn from our guest, Dr. Geeta Sundar, the health conditions that one can face as we age. We will also learn how to manage and prevent health issues.

Dr. Geeta Sundar has over 41 years of experience as a practicing doctor in Internal Medicine. Being amongst the best Medicine Specialists, Dr. Geeta Sundar constantly strives to provide the latest & the best medical services in the field of Internal Medicine.

Topics that will be discussed are:

  • Problems that affect most of us after forty years of age: Examples include bowel problems, like constipation, diarrhea, piles, hernia, and fissures. Bones and joints issues will also be discussed.
  • Problems that affect many of us after forty years of age: We will discuss conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and obesity.
  • Problems that may affect only some of us after forty years of age: Mental problems, Cancer, Parkinsonism, etc. would be covered.
  • Some important health-related knowledge: Nutrition & diet and other relevant health information will be discussed.

#covid19 #coronavirus #Diabetes #Hypertension #Cancer #Nutrition

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Transcript

An Introduction to Health After Forty: Learning the right way to Age

A talk with Dr. Geeta Sundar.

Speaker: Mr. Vivek
[0:00]

Hello, Welcome to Dr Talks. This is your host Vivek. Here we chat with the best doctors about
diseases and conditions they treat. Our guest today is Dr. Geeta Sundar. 

Dr. Geeta Sundar having completed her MD in 1979, has over 41 years of experience as a
practicing doctor in Internal Medicine. Being amongst the best Medicine Specialists, Dr. Geeta
Sundar constantly strives to provide the latest & the best medical services in the field of Internal Medicine. She has also done a course on medico legal law from Symbiosis and a 15-month certificate
course on Diabetes from CV hospital and research centre for Diabetes Chennai, based on the
course from John Hopkins USA. She has worked as an honorary Physician in several hospitals
including Dr BL Kapoor memorial hospital Delhi and Poona Hospital and research centre Pune.
At present she has her consultancy practice at Pune.

Dr. Geeta is a prolific writer and has been writing health books since the year 2002 and two of
her books published by MacMillan are best sellers – Health after Forty and A-Z of Bone Muscle
& Joint diseases. Her latest health book is ‘Self manage and reverse your Diabetes’.
Incidentally, her fiction novel "Premier murder league", which is a murder mystery, is published
by Penguin. She has also won several national level short story competitions.

It was kind and generous of Dr. Geeta to agree to our request for this Podcast. We will be
covering a whole gamut of health topics which are important to many of us who are in our forties
or would be entering that life stage soon.
Welcome Dr. Geeta. I am honored to have you here. Do you want to give us a little bit of your
background and how you got into writing about health?

Speaker: Dr. Geeta

Hi Vivek, thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts. I used to write articles
for Times and Indian express, and I kind of got into the habit of preserving all that I wrote. Then
one day, way back in 2000, I thought, why not compile everything into a book? That was how
my first book ‘Health After Forty’ came into being followed by others.

Speaker: Mr. Vivek
[3:25]

Dr. Geeta, what made you choose to talk about the topic "Health after Forty". Though it is a
holistic topic, the scope of health areas it spans is daunting? So, I want to understand why you
chose this subject?

Speaker: Dr. Geeta

Vivek, at forty, we are like the Greek God Janus who looks both to the past and to the future,
(January is therefore named after him). Behind us is the life we have lived to the full, including
birth, infancy, education, career, marriage, and children – each following the other almost
without a pause, leaving us no time to take stock of our lives. Ahead lies the future, which could
be another forty years or more, given the general increase in longevity. So, I thought, forty is the
time for a person to learn about the right way to age. There are also widespread misconceptions

about health, which at times can prove outright dangerous so I thought, it is important to equip
readers with scientific knowledge, to be able to successfully navigate the remaining years of
their lives.

Speaker: Mr. Vivek
[4:51]

You have structured the health after forty topic across four broad dimensions – (1) Problems
which affect most of us (2) Problems which can affect many of us and (3) Problems which may
affect only some of us. (4) Some important health related knowledge
Let us start with the first group. It would be good to hear from you about the problems which
affect most of us after forty.

Speaker: Dr. Geeta

Bowel problems, like constipation, diarrhea, piles, hernia and fissures are common in a forty plus
individual, and we should know how to handle them without harming ourselves, as also other
burning problems called hyperacidity indigestion and reflux.
Complaints of eyes, teeth, nose and ears become frequent as we grow older, and it is useful to
know how to take care of these organs which have served us well, and with proper care, will
continue to do so for many years to come.

An aging skin needs extra care, and some of you may want to know about the latest advances in
cosmetic techniques, so a few of these have been included.
Bones and joints also need special attention, as we grow older; and hence their care, as also
management of arthritis, spondylitis and osteoporosis has been included. You will be happy to
know that I have included simple exercises for each joint.

We all experience headache and giddiness sometime or the other, and we should know their
causes and methods of treatment.

That is why I will choose to talk about these topics in the first section as the commonest
problems that are likely to affect us after forty.

Speaker: Mr. Vivek
[7:04]

Which are the problems addressed in the second part – (2) Problems which can affect many of
us

Speaker: Dr. Geeta

Diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease have reached almost epidemic proportions in urban
adult population and the importance of prevention, need for proper control and management of
these conditions in order to avoid complications, especially with lifestyle modification, cannot be
stressed enough. These are known as ‘silent killers’ because sometimes there can be no
complaints and they can cause irreparable damage to the body, before being detected on
routine checkups. By heart disease I mean ischaemic or atherosclerotic heart disease or heart
disease that is due to hardening and narrowing of blood vessels.

Another frequently seen problem in a forty plus is that of Thyroid deficiency, & one must know
what signs to look out for, so that this problem is detected early, since many times, weakness
attributed to aging, is actually due to thyroid deficiency.

Obesity of course is also extremely common, and I therefore devoted quite a bit of space to it.
Thin and trim is in today but being thin is not only for the obvious cosmetic advantage, but
mainly to avoid all the medical problems caused by obesity. Firstly, life expectancy of an
overweight person is less than their trimmer counterparts, and they are also susceptible to
diabetes, blood pressure (especially if the person is ‘pear-shaped’ – that is, carries more girth
around his/her tummy); as also arthritis, varicose veins, spondylitis, hernias, uterine prolapse,

and delayed wound healing. Operating on, transporting, and handling an obese patient is also
very difficult.

These problems will be included in the second part of our discussions.

Speaker: Mr. Vivek
[9:34]

Which are the problems addressed in the third part – (3) Problems which may affect only some
of us.

Speaker: Dr. Geeta

With the kind of stressful life that we lead, problems of mind are becoming increasingly
common. It cannot be emphasized enough that people with mental problems should be
encouraged to come forward and get them treated, as with newer therapies, it is possible to
carry on their routine activities and to be a part of the mainstream. There is also a need for
changing public opinion, to prevent ostracization of these patients, who are no different from
those having diseases of the body. Since stress can also cause many physical problems, it is
important to know how to handle it with attitudinal changes & other methods.
Next, if there is one fear that all forty plus have, it is the fear of paralysis or stroke and becoming
dependent on others, so the knowledge of why it occurs, as also how to prevent and manage it,
is very essential. I have also included a few very useful rehabilitation techniques to hasten
recovery after a paralytic attack.

Incidence of cancer is also increasing with rise in stress and pollution, but with early diagnosis, it
can be curable, and hence correct methods of self-examination of our bodies and importance of
regular medical check-ups have been covered.
Two other common anxieties as we grow older are those that arise out of menopause, and the
fear of sexual decline. Both these problems need to be put in their proper perspective, including
pros and cons of newer treatment modalities.

Parkinsonism is another problem that I thought needs to be talked about.
Genes and genetic diseases will be discussed. In fact, genes play a major role in increasing
susceptibility to lifestyle and other diseases, and so this topic is of special importance.

Speaker: Mr. Vivek
[12:16]

What would we discuss as part of useful health information?

Speaker: Dr. Geeta

I will talk about important health related knowledge that a person above forty should be aware
of. This includes, Nutrition and diet. Also, as important as what and how much to eat, knowing
that their excessive intake can prove toxic to the body especially excessive intake of
supplements is important. How a Tonic can become a toxin will therefore be discussed.

Some complaints like fever, pain & swelling, are good for us within limits, and why they should
not be haphazardly suppressed, has been emphasized. Some newer investigative & surgical
techniques have been explained. Dangers of self-medication is another important topic.
Patients also need to be made aware of their rights, and how to exercise them judiciously. Also
at least one member of each family should be trained in first aid and some basic knowledge for
everyone is useful as it can save lives in an emergency. This includes, cardiopulmonary
resuscitation or CPR, after a heart attack especially when one is alone without any help.
Medical checkup if performed regularly will help in early detection and better management of
disease so, to that end, a list of suggested tests in men & women has been included.
What happens to different organs of our body as we age is the final part of this section.

Speaker: Mr. Vivek
[14:19]

In your view, why do you think many of us fail to take care of our health? Is it lack of information,
guidance or just the right attitude and understanding of its importance?

Speaker: Dr. Geeta

A little bit of all. Regarding information, nowadays it is not lack but want of correct and authentic
information that is a cause. Lack of correct attitude is also a problem. We ignore information
provided, do not bother about preventive aspects of health, and yes do not recognize
importance of NEW symptoms or any CHANGE in our bodies. We postpone things thinking—-
IT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN TO ME! And then when it does—- it may be too late!

Speaker: Mr. Vivek
[15:15]

Dr. Geeta, thank you for taking time out to talk to us. I believe we have a great start and we look
forward to this interesting journey to understand and subsequently manage our Health After
Forty.

Speaker: Dr. Geeta

Thank you Vivek. It was my pleasure to be on Dr. Talks. I look forward to our subsequent
discussions on Health after Forty. With the kind of growing anxiety and general deterioration in
health we see around us, especially with the current Corona Pandemic, I feel there is a need to
guide people on how to take care of themselves especially after the age of forty. And I will be
attempting to do this in future sessions.

Speaker: Mr. Vivek
[16:06]

Dear listeners, I am excited to discover with you the key aspects of Health After Forty. In
subsequent episodes we will cover many health topics which will be of interest to you like
Hyperacidity and reflux, paralysis, thyroid deficiency, cancer etc. Please spread the word and
make sure your friends get the opportunity to hear Dr. Geeta Sundar and take advantage of her
advice to live a healthy and happy life. Cheers, till we meet next time.

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