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Dr K K Aggarwal

The month of Magh is observed as Kalpvas where for one month people from all over gather, do sun worship (vitamin D), eat sesame (high in calcium) and do tulsi or basil pooja (high fertility and high in calcium). The significance behind is to accrue one year’s vitamin D quota. To make enough vitamin D we need to expose 40% of the body for at least 40 minutes at a stretch for 40 days in a year (Formula of 40).

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Expanding areas of arid land, air pollution and greater exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation all present potential health hazards to the eyes.

The cornea, eyelid, the sclera and even the lens—are all exposed directly to the environment. Rising temperatures and shifting atmospheric circulation patterns force dry air into regions. Drier air means that more people are likely to suffer from dry eye, a condition in which tears aren’t produced properly or evaporate too quickly. There is no evidence that drier conditions cause dry eye but they can accelerate symptoms in people who are prone to dry eye.

Air pollution has long been linked to respiratory disorders; more recently it’s been shown to play a role in eye disease.

Exposure to wood or charcoal cooking fires—ubiquitous in many developing countries—appears to accelerate the scarring caused by trachoma. Recurrent infections over a lifetime lead to scarring inside of the eyelids, which in turn causes the eyelashes to turn inward and brush against the cornea, eventually resulting in damage that impairs vision.

Ozone depletion can lead to higher levels of UV light exposure, which is a known risk factor for cortical cataract. Chronic exposure to the sun’s damaging rays can alter the orderly arrangement of proteins in the lens of the eye or damage lens epithelium, causing the lens to become cloudy. Wearing a hat can reduce UV exposure by 30%. Sunglasses, even simple plastic lenses that offer full UV protection, can reduce exposure by nearly 100% and should be used judiciously.

Entire community should take note of the severe damage that can be caused to the eyes. It becomes all the more important to note these precautions as Indians tend to be vitamin D deficient.

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An extremely auspicious day, Lohri marks the sun’s entry in to the ‘Makar Rashi’.  The next day after lohri is Makar Sankranti. One can remember lohri as the end of winter and Makar Sankranti as the first day of summer.

The word Sankranti means “change of direction” and the sun changes its direction north wards on the day of Makar Sankranti.

The period, beginning from 14 January (Makar Sankranti) lasting till 14 July, is known as Uttarayana (“Uttar” North and “ayan” movement towards).  It is also the last day of the month of Maargazhi, which is the ninth month of the lunar calendar. The Bhagawad Gita deems it as an extremely sacred and auspicious time when Lord Krishna manifests himself most tangibly.  Bhishma Pitamah in Mahabharata also waited for this period (not day) to relieve his body.  Uttarayana is considered to be the holiest half of the year. In Bhagavad Gita, the Lord says, “I am Uttarayana among the Ayanas.”

In chapter 8 shloka 24 Lord Krishna has said “Those who know the Supreme Brahman attain that Supreme by passing away from the world during the influence of the fiery god, in the light, at an auspicious moment of the day, during the fortnight of the waxing moon, or during the six months when the sun travels in the north.”

The earth, farthest from the sun at this point of time, starts its journey towards the sun, thus ending the coldest month of the year (peak winter), Paush, and announcing the start of the month of Magh.

As per the “Puranas” Dakshinayana (The other six month period) is the night of the deities whereas Uttarayana is their day. It’s the time to take a dip in the Ganges at sun rise and at sunset and say good bye to winter foods.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).

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While automobile vehicles need preventive servicing every three months, the human body needs it every two months.

According to Ayurveda, the seasons change every two months, approximately in the middle of the month.

Ayurveda describes these changes and precautions to be taken in great detail. The current makar rashi season, which starts today with sun changing its direction northwards resulting into lengthening of day and shortening of night time needs many lifestyle changes to balance health and prevent diseases. Vata gets aggravated, kapha gets accumulated and pitta gets depleted in this season.

In allopathic language, pitta denotes metabolic functions, vata signifies movement functions and kapha stands for secretory functions of the body.

Lohri, Makar Sankranti and Pongal are celebrated with khichdi, milk, gur, bhaat, sesame (Til) laddu, light hot food and beverages, etc. all indicating measures to reduce vata and kapha and to increase pitta in the body.

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Who is a good teacher?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Health Care - Ask Dr KK | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off

A good teacher is the one who follows the principles of listening first, teaching in detail till confusion arises and then teaching with reasoning while going into the minutest details and finally summarizing the ‘take–home’ messages.

This is how Lord Krishna discoursed to Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita. In the first chapter, he only listens, in the second, he gives detailed counseling and from chapters 2 to 17, he gives reasoning and in 18th chapter, he revises.

 (Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).

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Eating Out Tips

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Wellness | Tagged With: , , , , | | Comments Off

  1. Curb portions: Always order for one if you are two people and if you are alone set aside some of what is on your plate to bring    home.
  2. Resist refined carbohydrates.
  3. Load your plate with colorful choices at the salad bar with vegetables, fruits, and small amounts of lean protein. Skip the creamy dressings.
  4. Choose dishes that are grilled, roasted, steamed, or sautéed.
  5. Don’t be afraid to request a salad, vegetables, or fruit instead of starchy side dishes.
  6. In non–vegetarian food, order only fish or seafood.
  7. If you decide to have dessert, share it with your dining companion(s).
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According to Buddhism, the three negative emotions that cause disease are ignorance, hatred and desire. Accordingly, physical sickness are classified into three main types.

  1. Disorders of desire (Ayurvedic equivalent of Vata imbalance): These are due to disharmony of the wind or energy. The seed of these disorders are located in the lower part of the body. It has cold preferences and is affected by mental desires. In this, the person mainly suffers from the disorders of movement functions.
  2. Disorders of hatred (Ayurveda equivalent of Pitta imbalance): It is due to disharmony of the bile. The seed of these disorders is centered in the middle and upper part of the body and is caused by the mental emotion of hate. The person suffers from metabolic and digestive abnormalities.
  3. Disorders of ignorance (Ayurveda equivalent of Kapha imbalance): It is due to the disharmony of phlegm, the seed of which is generally centered in the chest or in the head and the disorder is cold in nature. It is caused by the mental emotion of ignorance.

Desire, hatred and ignorance are the main negativities mentioned in Buddha’s philosophy. They are all produced in the mind, and once produced they behave like a slow poison. The Udanavarga once said, “From iron appears rust, and rust eats the iron”, “Likewise, the careless actions (karma) that we perform lead us to hellish lives.

According to the other scriptures, six afflictions are most troublesome, namely ignorance, hatred, desire, miserliness, jealousy and arrogance. Patience is the most potent virtue a person can acquire. According to the Shanti Deva, “There is no evil like hatred, and there is no fortitude like patience. Therefore, dedicate your life to the practice of patience.”

Bhagvad Gita classifies the enemies as Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha and Ahankara; of these, Kama, Lobha and Ahankara, are the three gateways to hell.

 (Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).

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Chronic kidney disease patients with kidney function less than 60% are included in the list of criteria for defining people at highest risk for future heart attacks. In a large cohort Canadian study published in The Lancet led by Dr Marcello Tonelli at University of Alberta, patients with only chronic kidney disease had a significantly higher rate of heart attacks than those who only had diabetes. Those who had already had a heart attack had the highest overall rate of heart attacks.

Chronic kidney disease should be regarded as a coronary heart disease risk equivalent, similar to diabetes, as patients with the condition have high rates of cardiovascular events, particularly when they also have proteinuria. When chronic kidney disease was defined more stringently with kidney function less than 45% and increased proteinuria, the rate of first heart attack was higher in those with both chronic kidney disease and diabetes than in those with either disorder alone.

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