Do not befriend the Betel-Nut

Do not befriend the Betel-Nut
Millions of people in India chew the betel-nut (areca). It is a favourite after dinner stimulant and digestive. It is so popular that it forms an essential ingredient of many religious ceremonies.Betel-nut is chewed either alone, as mawa (mixture of lime, tobacco and betel-nut), in commercial preparations, or wrapped in pan. Many believe it to be a benign alternative to tobacco or alcohol. However, there is growing evidence that betel- nut chewing is a risk factor and may cause oral sub mucous fibrosis (OSF), a pre-malignant condition associated with oral cancer. Betel- nut chewing is also being implicated as a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and in asthma.
Oral Submucous Fibirosis:  A recent house-to-house survey conducted in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, revealed that out of 164 cases of OSF identified, 160 chewed the betel-nut. Nearly 11 per cent of mawa users suffered from this condition. Nearly 85 per cent of those found to be chewing betel-nut and those with OSF were below 35 years of age!Researchers calculated that the age-adjusted relative risk amongst betel-nut users was about 60. This means that after considering age (as age is also a risk factor for OSF), the incidence of OSF among betel- nut users is 60 times higher than amongst non-users. The relative risk increased to about 75 times in mawa users as it contains tobacco, a known carcinogen. Thus, chewing betel-nut with tobacco further increases the risk of oral cancer.According to a report in British Medical Journal, the amount of copper found in betel-nut preparations is 10 times higher than the amount found in nuts (such as peanuts). This high copper content could be the reason why betel-nut is associated with OSF. Researchers tested the saliva of people who chewed a commercial betel-nut preparation and concluded that regular chewers would have up to 5 mg of copper released in their mouth every day. That is five times the amount of copper normally available in food. Ideally, daily diet should not contain more than 1.5 to 3 mg of copper. Although it is not clear how high copper levels can induce fibrosis, it is known that copper is associated with other fibrotic diseases such as seleroderma and liver fibrosis.Cardiovascular Diseases:

A study in the Asian population in London found raised homocysteine and reduced folate concentrations in 170 betel-nut chewers. High homocysteine levels is a known cardiovascular risk factor. A metabolite of the amino acid methionine, homocysteine in high levels can damage the inner lining of arteries and promote atherosclerosis. High levels of copper in betel-nut can also increase the activity of an enzyme known aslysyl oxidase which has a role in the formation of atheromatous plaques in major blood vessels. Alkaloids in betel-nut, such as arecoline, may play a contributing role in coronary artery spasm and predisposing to myocardial infarction.

Asthma:  The alkaloid arecoline is a major constituent of betel-nut and causes euphoric effects. Its high concentration in the circulation while chewing betel-nuts is believed to cause broncho-constriction in some asthmatic patients. Laboratory tests have revealed that arecoline causes dose-related contraction of human bronchial smooth muscle strips. In a double-blind study, inhalation of arecoline caused bronchoconstriction in all the asthmatic patients and in five controls.In Britain, the rate of hospital admission for acute asthma is higher among Asians than other groups in the population; betel-nut chewing is being perceived as one of the several factors that affect asthma control and severity of attacks.With these observations being made, there is a need to educate people about the problems they are likely to encounter if they befriend the betel-nut.
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About Manbir & Gurpreet

Gurpreet Kaur’s journey in this world .... Gurpreet Kaur was a Musician. She was a singer and a composer of music. Her interest was composing and singing Gurbani Shabads in Indian Classical style. She sang Shabads in All the Raags mentioned in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. She also taught Gurmat Sangeet at Gurmat Gian Missionary College, Jawadi, Ludhiana. Elder child to Pushpinder Kaur and Dr. Brig. Harminder Singh, was born in Amritsar on 13th Jan 1962. She attended various convent schools as a child because her father would get frequent Army postings as a dental surgeon. She graduated with Music Honors from Govt. College for Women, Chandigarh. Music was her hobby and she composed and sang Raag based Gurbani Shabads. Doing Kirtan was part of growing up nurtured by her parents. She learned music from her father Dr. Brigadier Harminder Singh who was a dental surgeon in Indian Army and a very good singer himself. Gurpreet’s Bhua (father’s sister), Ajit Kaur retied as a Head of Department of Music from Govt. College for Women Ludhiana, and was a renounced Punjabi singer of her time. Gurpreet Kaur also learned nuances of Indian Classical Music from Pandita Sharma. She was a mother of three children, and a grandmother. Her daughter Keerat Kaur is a Computer Engineer. Her two sons Gurkeerat Singh and Jaskeerat Singh are doctors in USA. Her daughter Keerat Kaur too was part of her group ~ Gurmat Gian Group. Gurpreet Kaur left this world at the age of 54yrs on 12th Sept 2016 in Baltimore USA. She had recorded around 25 cds of Gurbani Keertan. 'Raag Ratan' Album (6 CDs) is a Compilation of Shabads in All the 31 Sudh Raags of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. 'Gauri Sagar' Album (3 CDs) is a Compilation of All forms of Raag Gauri in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. 'Nanak Ki Malhaar' ~ ((3 CDs) is an album of Raag Malhar Shabads in various forms of Malhar. 'Gur Parsaad Basant Bana' ~ (3 CDs) is an album of Shabads in Raag Basant sung in various forms of Raag Basant. Har Ki Vadeyai Sarni Aayea Sewa Priya Kee Preet Piyaree Mohan Ghar Aavho Karo Jodariya Mo Kao Taar Le Raama Taar Le Tere Kavan Kavan Gun Keh Keh Gawan Mera Baid Guru Govinda Saajanrraa Mera Saajanrraa

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