Thursday, 11 October 2012

The politics and health of padayatra: N Chandrababu Naidu Vs Sharmila Reddy

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: It is padayatra time in the State. Telugu Desam president N
Chandrababu Naidu embarked on a 2,340 km padayatra on October 2. YSR
Congress Party leader Sharmila Reddy will follow suit with her 3,000
km long walk-march on October 18. Padayatras paid rich electoral
dividends in the past, though the leaders, who had walked for months
in political pursuit, suffered from ill health requiring emergency
medical attention.

The stress of the padayatra is already telling on the health of
Chandrababu Naidu. As the TD supremo is left with 100 more days of his
padayatra, city doctors feel that both Chandrababu Naidu and Sharmila
Reddy should take enough medical precautions to avoid severe health
complications. Deccan Chronicle spoke to experts in cardiology,
endocrinology, gastroenterology, internal medicine and orthopaedics on
the medical and health aspects of long strenuous walks.

They suggest that these leaders, who are not experienced marathon
walkers, should follow the medical guidelines of Haj and Amarnath
Yatra, which involve long walks. The government has made pre-journey
medical tests mandatory for the pilgrims. There should be a short
break after every 30 minutes of walk. An expert medical team should
follow them.
N Chandrababu Naidu

1. Age: 63 years

2. Health issues: diabetic, old age

3. Medical strengths: strong control on diet, good body physique

4. Previous experience: undertook padayatra many times, the recent
being six months ago

5. Expert advice: People above 50 years should not strain themselves
by continuous, marathon walks, as it will put pressure on the heart.
Well management of diabetes through frequent monitoring and dose
adjustment. Take rest at frequent intervals.

6. Health warning: muscle tear, sprain, cramps, stomach upset, joint
pains and blisters. Regular massages and frequent stretches by a
physiotherapist will help to prevent these problems to some extent.

7. Food tips: Electrolytes, nutritionally balanced food

Sharmila Reddy

1. Age: 35 years

2. Health issues: Not known

3. Medical strengths: young age, regular exercise and controlled
dietary habits. Though no genetics are involved in fitness, she is fit
like her father, late YSR, who undertook a long padayatra.

4. Previous experience: undertook whirlwind tour of the State on motor
vehicle. But little exposure to strenuous walks

5. Expert advice: Young people should not strain themselves as it may
cause electrolyte imbalance, low blood pressure and low body
temperature. Take rest at frequent intervals.

6. Health warning: muscle tear, sprain, cramps, stomach upset, joint
pains and blisters.

7. Food tips: Electrolytes, food rich in fibre

Padayatra - what doctors say

Dr Sunil Kapoor, eminent cardiologist

People, who are not used to long walks, do feel strain on the heart if
they take up padayatra without proper planning. They should undergo
thread mill and or thallium test and take medical advice from their
doctor before going on long walks.

In young people, long walks may lower blood pressure and blood sugar
and cause electrolyte imbalance and muscle injury.

Dr SS Reddy, Director, Medvarsity Online Limited

Whenever they feel strain, they must stop and take rest. Long walks
can be strenuous on the body, whether the person is young or old. It
can cause body aches and joint pains. They are not professional
walkers and should respect their body responses.

They should avoid walking under the sun.

Dr Pendyala Sudhakar Reddy, senior endocrinologist

Long padayatras may not cause any hormonal imbalances. Those suffering
from diabetes may require adjustment of medical dosage including
insulin. Long walks can lead to drop in sodium. Too much of stress is
not good for women.

Dr B Nithin Kumar, bones and joints expert

Before starting padayatra, joints and muscles must be conditioned for
at least eight weeks to take up the increased load. The knees, ankles
and hip joints are designed to take certain amount of stress on a
daily basis. Without adequate strengthening exercises, knee muscles
are not strong enough to support the joint.
Dr Manisha Bangar, senior gastroenterologist & liver expert

Padayatra for long distances over many hours predisposes to many
gastroenterological problems like dehydration, diarrhoea,
constipation, nutrient deficiencies, occult faecal blood loss, anaemia
and stress-related peptic diseases.

The problems increase by many folds in elderly persons and women.

Dr N Somasekhar Reddy, senior consultant orthopaedic surgeon

It is not good just to take water as it leads to dilution of salts in
the body. They need to take drinks containing electrolytes and glucose
regularly. Plain water and other aerated drinks are a strict no.

The other problem they may start facing later is ‘muscle soreness’.

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