New Delhi: “It’s not the age which leads to decline of hormones; it is rather decline of hormones which leads to ageing,” says Dr V P Bansal, an orthopaedic surgeon who has been working on the concept of healthy ageing for the last ten years and has also come out with three books on the subject in addition to other research papers on demystifying the misconceptions about ageing and how ageing can be embraced by appropriate therapies.
Besides working on the novel concept of healthy ageing, he is also actively engaged in community and social programmes like rainwater harvesting and teaching poor kids besides giving medicine to the poor at low cost.
Dr Bansal has over 45 years of work experience in orthopaedics and rehabilitation, which includes 23 years at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh where he last served as professor and head of the department of orthopaedics. In 1988, he assumed the role of director, Central Institute of Orthopaedics, Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi. He has also served as medical superintendent of Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) Hospital, Delhi. He retired as Additional Director General of Health Services from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2000. As ADGHS, he was mainly looking after medical education including the education of paramedics and nursing education.
Talking about the concept of healthy ageing Dr Bansal told India Medical Times, “The whole idea behind my work on healthy ageing is to test and treat a person for Androgen deficiency. As men age, their ability to produce testosterones declines. The deficiency of male hormones leads to Andropause which affects various organs of the body and the overall quality of life of a person is decreased and people mistake it as ageing. The understanding of Andropause among medical professionals dealing with the old age problems is not in pace with the developments in this field. Lack of clarity leads to multiple treatments for multiple symptoms, whereas the whole problem could be solved by just testing the male hormones, particularly the free testosterones.”
Talking about how it all started Dr Bansal said, “It started in June 2003 when I was 63 years old and I started experiencing the ramifications of ageing. All of a sudden my blood pressure started shooting up, I felt acute muscle weakness and severe knee joints pain. I saw some good doctors for the concerned problems like neurologist, rheumatologist etc but no concrete solution came out. I was put on every possible symptomatic treatment for six months but to no relief at all.”
“Then my wife, who is a gynaecologist herself, suggested me to go for hormones check-up. I got myself tested for Andropause and my male hormones were found to be considerably low. I took hormone therapy and there was considerable improvement in my health. Since then I started working on this concept and spreading awareness as well as treatment for this problem.”
“I had a good number of medical problems so much so that I had diabetes (blood sugar 130/190 HbA1C – 8.3). Today, I do not have diabetes; my fasting blood sugar is 98 and HbA1C is 6. Earlier, I had hypertension but today without any medicines my BP is 120/70.”
“I continue to work on healthy ageing and today I have nearly 400 patients from all over the country. The philosophy on which I work is solely done by me in the country but near to me is only one body that is in USA under the name AMMG (Age Management Medicine Group). I had published a chapter in Clinical Medicine Update 2007 and recently an article on ‘Andropause – A Clinical Entity‘.”
Medicine is not the only thing that interests Dr Bansal. He is actively involved in rainwater harvesting in his area and has been working upon to spread its awareness too.
“The place where I live and work is in Naraina (New Delhi). On about 5,000 square meter area, this year, because of nearly 90 mm of rain, I have harvested at least about 3 million litres of rainwater and at least 1 million litres of rainwater has charged the underground water directly while raining. This is my own evolution.”
“In one of my letters in October 2012, I had written to the chairman, Central Underground Water Board, that if my approach is followed on rainwater harvesting, we would solve the water logging on the roads and in the process, we could harvest billions of litres of rainwater. So, this is my objective behind this initiative. I have planted nearly 5,000 trees during the last 10 years. Because of these trees and rainwater harvesting together, air pollution and noise pollution in the area have decreased and the number of birds flocking the place has increased. Honey is naturally produced in these parks. Natural products like Aloe Vera, Curry Patta, Khurmi Saag, Gurail, Ashwagandha could be seen proliferating there. If I am given the opportunity I may take up nature cure.”
Dr Bansal also works for the poor people with the help of two NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that are involved in educating children of the lower economic strata. He is also chairman of Hardinge Avenue Welfare Association, where he runs a crèche for the children of the working women.
Well, Dr Bansal has no plan to hang up the boots yet. He said, “I wish to start training programmes for doctors in age management medicines. If government supports I would like to establish a department in this area and run it successfully. So, my future is dedicated to the poor, the aged to keep them healthy and for the environment.”
by Vidhi Rathee