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Dr K K Aggarwal

Alternative Therapies Lower BP

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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A group of experts has reviewed all the existing studies and concluded that there are indeed alternative treatments for lowering blood pressure – with aerobic exercise leading the pack as far as strong evidence goes.

Other alternative treatments – namely isometric handgrip and dynamic resistance exercises and guided breathing –– also got high grades when it came to reducing high blood pressure in some patients, according to a scientific statement from the American Heart Association published online in the journal Hypertension.

“The evidence is not as strong for transcendental meditation and acupuncture, but they may help as well,” said co–senior author Sanjay Rajagopalan, MD, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Ohio State University School of Medicine in Columbus.

For the report, an expert panel headed by the University of Michigan’s Robert D. Brook, MD, reviewed 1,000 studies published from 2006 to 2011. They divided the studies into three major classes of alternative treatments: behavioral therapies, noninvasive procedures and devices, and exercise. The panel did not review dietary and herbal treatments. Based on the level of evidence, they gave each an “A,” “B,” or “C” recommendation –– with “A” being the highest –– for implementation into clinical practice.

The panel found:

  • Exercise–based regimens did the best overall, with dynamic aerobic exercises getting an “A” class of recommendation, with a level of evidence of I, the highest possible.
  • Dynamic resistance exercises got a “B” and isometric handgrip exercises got a “C” grade, with levels of evidence of IIA and IIB, respectively.
  • Still, 4 weeks of isometric hand grip exercises resulted in some of the most impressive improvements in several studies –– a 10% drop in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. However, isometric exercise should be avoided among people with severely uncontrolled hypertension (180/110 mm Hg or higher).
  • As for noninvasive procedures or devices, device–guided breathing got a “B” with a level of evidence of II. Device–guided slow breathing proved most effective in lowering blood pressure when performed for 15–minute sessions three to four times a week. Acupuncture also got a “B,” but its level of evidence was III, meaning no benefit.
  • Among behavioral techniques, transcendental meditation and biofeedback both received “B” grades, with IIBs for levels of evidence. Yoga got a C, with level of evidence of III, or no benefit, as did other meditation techniques.
  • The alternative approaches that work reduce systolic blood pressure by only 2 to 10 mm Hg; whereas standard doses of a blood pressure–lowering drug reduce systolic blood pressure by about 10 to 15 mm Hg.
  • Alternative approaches are best for patients with blood pressure levels over 120/80 mm Hg who can’t tolerate or don’t respond well to standard medications.

The Seven Dhatus in Ayurveda

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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As per Ayurveda physiology, food is Brahman and contains the same consciousness as in us and this consciousness is the essence of any food.

Any food digested is converted into three portions, the gross undigested food is converted into waste (feces); the middle one is converted in one of the Dhatus and the subtlest form gets converted into ojas or the immunity.

As per standard Ayurveda, food once eaten is converted into the first Dhatu i.e. Rasa. Once the formation of Rasa is complete, the remaining is converted into Rakta (blood).The left over essence of food makes Mamsa (muscles), left over of which makes (Medha (adipose tissue) and so on to form Asthi (Bone), Majja (bone marrow) and Shukra (sperm/ova).

As per this physiology, the second Dhatu will only form once the first Dhatu is of good quality and so on and at any step in Dhatu, if not formed properly, subsequent Dhatu will also show defective formation.

For example, defective Dhatu at the stage of Asthi (bone) will have normal plasma (blood), muscle and adipose tissue but may have an impaired immunity/sperm/bone marrow. Similarly, defective Dhatu at the level of bone marrow may have only impaired immunity with no impairment of other Dhatus. On the other hand, impairment of Dhatus at the level of plasma or blood will involve all other Dhatus in sickness. Isolated disorders of Shukra may have no involvement of other Dhatus at all.

This Ayurveda principle can help us in answering many unanswered questions in modern allopathy. Like – why in typhoid fever all the organs are involved and why in azoospermia no other organ is involved.

Upanishads talk about formation of Dhatus in much more detail. According to them, different types of food make different types of Dhatus. The fiery foods like oil and ghee are responsible for formation of Karamendriyan (part of shukra), bone and bone marrow (Dhatu).

The earthy foods are responsible for formation of Gnanandriyan and Manas (shukra) and muscle (flesh) and water in food is responsible for formation of Rasa and Rakta (plasma and blood) and Pran (Shukra).

That means every different type of food would make different types of Dhatus and a balanced food with a combination of fire, water and earth will only be responsible for formation of shukra, immunity or the essence.

Cholesterol tips released

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Blood lipid levels may exhibit mild seasonal variation with a drop in the summer and total cholesterol level peaking in the winter. The variation can be up to 5 mg/dL.

Serum total and HDL–cholesterol can be measured in fasting or non–fasting individuals. There are only small clinically insignificant differences in these values when measured in the fasting or non–fasting state.

The total cholesterol can vary by 4 to 11 percent within an individual due to multiple factors including stress, minor illness and posture. Values may also vary between different laboratories, with data suggesting that a single measurement of serum cholesterol can vary as much as 14 percent. Therefore in an individual with “true” serum cholesterol concentration of 200 mg/dL the range of expected values is 172 to 228 mg/dL.

More than one measurement of total cholesterol should therefore be obtained when treatment considerations demand a precise determination. Measurement of serum HDL–C and triglycerides may demonstrate even greater variability.

A standard serum lipid profile consists of total cholesterol, triglycerides, and HDL–cholesterol. Lipid profile should be performed after 12 to 14 hours of fasting to minimize the influence of postprandial hyperlipidemia. One can use either plasma or serum specimen. The serum cholesterol is approximately 3 percent lower than the plasma value.

Why in hypothermia the body can be revived even after hours of death?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • It is a well–known phenomenon that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is not successful if the body temperature is less than 35°C.
  • In hypothermic deaths, a person can be revived even after hours of cardiac arrest. Only once the body temperature is brought back to normal CPR will be effective.
  • That would mean that consciousness gets frozen and does not leave the body when the temperature is below 35°C.
  • This forms the basis for induced hypothermia after death to revive the brain.
  • Modern science is silent about this mechanism but the ancient Indian literature talks about it in great detail. As per Chandogya Upanishad (6.15.1), the process of death takes time and is a sequential process.
  • First, the motor indriyas organs (Karma Indriyas) stop functioning followed by sensory indriya organs (Gnanaindriyas) followed by cessation of pana or respiration.
  • Once this happens, the frozen sensory organs, motor organs, manas (mind, body, memory and ego) and prana have to get dissolved in Tej and then leave the body, which means presence of Tej is the most important factor for consciousness to leave the body.
  • In modern science, Tej would be governed by the body temperature. That means if the body temperature is low, the motor and sensory indriyas and manas Product (Vritti) will find no heat or Tej to dissolve and come out of the body.
  • Therefore, till the body temperature (Tej) is brought back to normal, the indriyas will seize to function but still be revivable.
  • This process may take upto 48 minutes in presence of Tej and there is no time limit if Tej is absent.
  • A clinically dead person with cardiac arrest therefore will have absent functioning of Manas organs, Sensory organs, mind, intellect, memory and ego with no respiration but yet revivable back to life.

Why is My Nose Bleeding?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Nosebleed is a common problem, occurring in up to 60 percent of the general population and is often because of a respiratory illness or dry conditions. Nasal drying is common in the hot summer months because of the extreme temperature and dry air due to use of air conditioners.

Here are some typical reasons for nosebleeds:

  • Nasal allergies
  • Blowing your nose too hard or trying to remove something from inside the nose
  • A result of “popping” the ear
  • Nasal exposure to chemicals
  • Frequent sneezing or having an upper respiratory infection
  • Use of nasal spray or a blood–thinning drug, such as aspirin
  • Inhaling air that is extremely dry or cold
  • Having recent surgery on the nose or elsewhere on the face
  • Breaking the nose or a similar injury
  • Uncontrolled blood pressure

Bleeding can be controlled by direct pressure i.e. compression of the nostrils rasping the alae distally so all mucosal surfaces are opposed. Direct pressure should be applied continuously for at least five minutes, and for up to 20 minutes. The patient should be encouraged not to check for active bleeding. Patients who are properly instructed may control their bleeding while the evaluation gets underway.

Other maneuvers include bending forward at the waist while sitting up (to avoid swallowing blood), placing a plug of cotton wool or gauze into the bleeding nostril (sometimes coated with antibiotic ointment), expectorating out blood that accumulates in the pharynx and a cold compress applied to the bridge of the nose.

These maneuvers also should be taught to high–risk patients for use at home. Many ENT specialists recommend initial treatment with two puffs of oxymetazoline to hasten hemostasis.

How to Be Happy and Healthy

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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A disciple once asked Lord Buddha, “After meditating for years, I have not been able to gain anything.” Then Lord Buddha asked, “Did you lose anything?” The disciple said, “Yes, I lost my anger, desires, expectations and ego.” Buddha smiled and said, “That is your gain by meditating.”

To be happy, one must learn to let go of the following:

  • Let go of your desires. In Amarnath Yatra, Lord Shiva firstly let go of the Bull, which represents sexual desires. In Hanuman’s Lanka yatra, desires are represented by Samhiki, a creature who used to catch birds by their shadows. Hanuman killed the desires. So, it is possible to kill your desires. Again in Ramayana, desires are linked to Rajasik mind and in mythology, Meghnath represents the Rajsik mind. Meghnath was killed by Lakshman, the determined mind. Therefore, one should let go of the desires by killing them by focused concentration of the mind on the desires.
  • Let go your expectations. In Amarnath Yatra, the second thing which Lord Shiva discarded is moon which in mythology is symbolizes the letting go of expectations.
  • Let go your ego. In mythology, ego represents Kansa in Krishna era and Ravana in Rama era. Both were killed by Krishna and Rama respectively who symbolized the consciousness. Ego can never be killed by the mind and only can be killed by the consciousness (conscious based decisions). Ego is also represented by Sheshnaag and we have Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu both having a Sheshnaag each with a mouth downwards indicating the importance of controlling one’s ego.
  • Never hurt ego of others. One should let go his or her ego but also remember to never hurt somebody’s ego. Hurting somebody’s ego in terms of allegations of sexual misconduct, financial corruption or abusing one’s caste is never forgotten and carries serious implications. In Hanuman’s Lanka Yatra, ego is represented by Sursa and Hanuman managed her by humility and not by counter ego. In Naag Panchami also, we worship Naag the ego by folded hands and by offering milk.
  • Let go your inaction. One should learn to live in the present. In Hanuman’s Lanka Yatra, Hanuman first meets Menak mountain, which indicates destination to rest. One should never do that and willfully divert his or her mind towards action.
  • Let go your attachments. Let go of your attachments to your close relatives and the worldly desires. In Amarnath Yatra, Lord Shiva first leaves Bully desires, moon (expectations), sheshnaag (ego) and then he gives up Ganesha and worldly desires (five elements). In mythology, this is practiced as detached attachment and in Bhagavad Gita is equated to Lotus. In Islam, detached attachment is practiced in the form of Bakra Eid.
  • Let go of your habit of criticizing, complaining and condemning people. One should always practice non–violent communication and speak what is truth, necessary and kind. One should not criticize, condemn or complain about people, situation and events. Wayne Dyer said, “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you do not know anything about.” Most of us often condemn people without knowing their capabilities and label them as unmatchable to us. One should also let go habit of gossiping as it is a form of violent communication.
  • Let go your habit of blaming others. One should learn to take responsibilities and believe in team work. A good leader is one who learns to be responsible in life.
  • Let go of your need to be always right. It is a form of ego. Remember, in an argument either you can win arguments or relationships. One should always try to win relationship and not arguments.
  • Let go your need to control situation, event and people. Learn to accept people as they are. The world is won by those who let this habit go.
  • Let go your habit and need to impress others. This is also a type of ego where we always want appreciation.
  • Give up your belief that you cannot do it. Remember ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ is ‘I M POSSIBLE’. A belief is not an idea held by the mind but it is a mind that holds the mind. (Elli Roselle).
  • Give up your resistance to change. Remember change is the only constant which will happen and always welcome it. Joseph Campbell once said that one should follow one’s bliss and will open doors to your where there are only walls.
  • Let go your fear and let go all negative thoughts. Remember, the mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. It becomes very destructive if used badly. (Eckhart Tolle).
  • Let go your habit of excuses
  • Let go being in the past.

Can blood pressure be higher in one arm?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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A small difference in blood pressure readings between arms is normal. However, a difference of more than 20 mm Hg for systolic pressure (top number) or more than 10 mm Hg for diastolic pressure (bottom number) can be a sign of an underlying narrowing of the main arteries to that arm.

A difference of 10 to 15 mm Hg for upper systolic pressure that shows up repeatedly is a risk marker for vascular disease and future heart attacks.

Always have the doctor check both your arms for blood pressure and whichever is higher, use that arm for future blood pressure readings.

Is the time and place of death pre-defined?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Some gurus teach that the time and place of death is predefined while some do not. I personally feel that life and respirations are predefined and not the day and time of death.

It is something like water in a sponge will become empty when every drop of water comes out but it does not matter how much time it takes to come out. It is therefore possible to postpone or prolong the fulfillment of Prarabhdha Karma and postpone death.

As per the Karma theory, unless our Prarabdha Karmas (decided at the time of death and birth) are enjoyed and fulfilled, one cannot die. But once the Prarabhdha Karmas are fulfilled, death is inevitable.

Another unanswered question is can Prarabdha karmas be modified? Fate or destiny may not change, which means one may not be able to prolong the quantity of life but can definitely change the quality of life. The quality of life can be changed by modifying Agami (present Karmas).

Sanchit Karmas can be burnt with the file of knowledge about self. Prarabdha Karmas have to be experienced and Agami Karma can be neutralized by positive and negative Karmas to Zero in the present life.

The last few Prarabdha Karma experienced can thus be slowed down by the net positive result of their Agami karmas.

Women above 65 to take extra care of their health

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Women aged 65 and above should take low dose aspirin routinely to prevent heart attack and paralysis.
  • All women are urged to exercise a minimum of 30 minutes per day, but women who need to lose weight or maintain weight loss are now advised to engage in 60 to 90 minutes of moderate–intensity activity on most, or preferably all, days of the week.
  • A heart–healthy diet should be rich in fruits, whole grains and fiber foods with a limited intake of alcohol and sodium.
  • Saturated fat should be reduced to less than 7 percent of calories.
  • Women at very high risk for heart disease should try to lower their LDL (“bad”) cholesterol to less than 70 mg/dL.
  • Women aged 65 and over should consider taking low-dose aspirin on a routine basis, regardless of their risk.
  • Aspirin has been shown to prevent both heart attacks and stroke in this age group.
  • The upper dose of aspirin for high–risk women is 325 mg per day.
  • Hormone replacement therapy, selective estrogen receptor modulators nor antioxidant supplements such as vitamins C and E should be used to prevent heart disease.
  • Folic acid should also not be used to prevent cardiovascular disease.
  • Women should eat oily fish or some other source of omega–3 fatty acids at least twice a week.
  • Women should not only quit smoking but should use counseling, nicotine replacement or other forms of smoking cessation therapy.

Inspirational Story

Girl and the Plants

A little girl was enjoying the beauty of the garden in her home. Her father had a good collection of rare and exotic plants. He grew them with tender care.

The girl was fascinated by a plant full of fine and fragrant flowers. She went near the plant and enjoyed its beauty and the fragrance of its fine flowers. Suddenly she noted that the plant was growing in a heap of filth. She could not tolerate the presence of dirt at the bottom of the plant with such fantastic flowers.

She conceived a plan to clean the plant. She pulled the plant with all her might and uprooted it. She then carried it to the tap and washed the shoot and roots in running tap–water till all traces of dirt were washed away. She then placed the plant on a clean stone and went away, thinking that she had done a great deed indeed.

Later her father came to the garden and saw the uprooted plant. Its flowers and leaves had wilted and the plant had almost died in the scorching sun. His little daughter ran to him to exhibit her achievement. ‘I have cleaned it, Daddy, she reported innocently. It was placed in dirty soil. Now it is clean.

The father showed her how her treatment had almost killed the plant. He told her that he had collected the filthy soil and placed it to cover the plant’s roots as it was the best medium to grow that plant. It could grow up healthily and produce fine flowers only if grown in filthy soil. She was sad that the plant had suffered and withered by her cleaning.

Pain, poverty and illness may cause agony in our life. Sight of successful persons may make us depressed and envious. A great gardener mixes the right soil for each plant. In the same way God provides each of us with the best environment required for optimum spiritual growth. But it may appear to be unpleasant to us and we may even complain to God about our plight.

Why are Doctors called God?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Modern medicine is only couple of hundred years old. Prior to that traditional medicine was used based on the local needs of the country; the oldest of them being the Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine originating from the Atharveda. Unani, Chinese, and Tibetan medicine probably are all offshoots of Ayurveda.

Doctors in India since Vedic times have been equated to God. This has continued today even after modern medicine has taken over. No other profession whether it is priest, lawyers, judges, politicians, commands the same status as that of the medical doctors. Medical profession is the noblest profession.

The role of a doctor is to remove the miseries and save the life of a person and that is one reason most of us think that a medical doctor has been given designation equivalent to that of God. But it has many other perspectives also.

A common man’s perspective of God is a force which can do and undo anything, for whom nothing is impossible, who is the final decision maker, whose decision cannot be challenged, who can give an instantaneous relief, who can punish and reward and he who overcomes miseries. He can also answer the unknown as he is supposed to know everything. In Bhagwad Gita and other Vedic texts, GOD is equated to consciousness, a network of energized information, a force which cannot be burnt by fire, wet by water, dried by air or cut by weapon; a force which is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient and still ever–pervading.

A trained qualified medical doctor who has his understanding based on the mind, body and soul has nearly the same characteristics. He overcomes miseries, mystifies his presence as soon as he touches the patient, gives immediate relief, which begins right from the time he gives a healing touch to the patient, his decision often is considered final and his decisions are almost predictable to 100%.

God is the person on whom one has blind belief and faith. At the time when a person is sick or in acute emergency the same belief and faith is seen in doctors.

Deepak Chopra in his book ‘How to Know God’ has explained God of different levels. According to him, God is a person from amongst the society with one step higher level of consciousness. He describes, as per the Vedic text, seven different levels of consciousness a person can posses and they are at the level of fight & flight, reactive consciousness, restful alertness consciousness, intuitive consciousness, creative consciousness, sacred consciousness and unified consciousness. If we take this as the classification then even a ruler of the society may be considered God by many people. But if you take universal criteria then a person who has achieved sainthood, who sees the same consciousness in everybody, treats individuals without caste, creed and religion, who overcomes miseries of people irrespective of their age, status or paying capacity is GOD. A doctor fits into these criteria.

For him every patient is same and his job is to remove his or her miseries at that particular moment. Probably, this is another reason why doctors have been regarded as God at every level of perception and from every segment of the society.

Most people have fear of death, fear of unknown, fear of loss and fear of disability. Whenever there is an unknown fear they think of God. A medical doctor is also remembered whenever there is a health crisis.

Ayurvedic text clearly describes chapters & chapters on the subject ‘how to predict death’. It describes symptoms, which, if present, with certainty one can say that this person is going to die in how many hours, days, months or years. That level of prediction gives public a feeling that doctors are God because they have seen doctors for thousands of years giving verdict that this person is not going to survive after a particular period and that used to happen.

According to Bible every work God does he does through his messenger. Medical doctors are the only certified universal messenger of God in the society. Rest all become God for a particular period, for a particular instance or a particular person.

Health is not mere absence of disease but a state of physical, mental, social, spiritual, environmental and financial well being. This definition fully was used by the Eastern philosophy and Eastern pathies. Modern doctors, however, practice more often an instant practice with emphasis on quick treatment, handling acute emergencies and lifestyle illnesses. They hardly take mental and spiritual health into consideration. That may be one reason why slowly people are withdrawing the status of God from the doctors. They have started equating a medical doctor with any other marketing profession.

Out of four purposes of life: dharma, artha, kama & moksha, dharma is the most important. The literal meaning of dharma is to hold. God is the force with 100% dharma in his life. Dharma of a doctor is to treat and save the life of a person at any cost. One recalls the movie Achanak where the doctor saved the life of a person who has been sentenced to death and the day he saves him the police officer takes him for hanging. The movie ends with a message that a doctor has to do his dharma and police officer has to do his.

At the time of miseries, a doctor is treated as a healer. Nobody bothers whether the doctor came from which religion, caste, race or whether the doctor is male, female or from third gender. People do not bother about the ill habits or out of profession activities of the doctor; they are only concerned about the fact that doctor is a universal healer and overcomes the miseries of everybody who approaches him. A doctor provides free treatment to those who cannot afford or comes to an emergency ward without any money.

Putting doctors under Consumer Protection Act is the biggest blunder done by the government. How can one make God accountable? Can a child born blind at birth abuse or curse God for making him blind.

I think all of us should introspect and remember that doctor is the messenger of God born to remove miseries of the sick individuals.

Dark Chocolate good for the heart

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Dark chocolate thought to promote relaxed arteries, also have biochemical effects that may discourage atherosclerosis suggests a report published in the March 2014 issue of the FASEB Journal.

In a randomized, double–blind study, eating dark chocolate—acutely and over weeks—not only improved objective measures of endovascular function, it also improved biochemical markers that reflect leukocyte activation, inflammation, and other signs of atherogenesis.

Changes in endothelial function were reflected in improved flow–mediated dilation (FMD), blood pressure, and augmentation index (AIX), while “changes in leukocyte–cell counts, plasma cytokines, and leukocyte adherence markers after chocolate consumption point toward a less–activated state of cellular adherence and, hence, a less atherogenic milieu, according to the authors, led by Dr Diederik Esser (Top Institute Food and Nutrition and Wageningen University, the Netherlands).

Why Spirituality is Friendly to wellbeing

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • What you believe in can have a big impact on health and longevity. People with high levels of religious beliefs or spirituality have lower cortisol responses. Cortisol is a hormone the body releases in response to stress.
  • Positive thinking produces nearly a 30 percent drop in perception of pain.
  • Spirituality and the practice of religion are associated with a slower progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Those who regularly attend organized religious activities may live longer than those who don’t. Regular participation lowers mortality rate by about 12 percent a year.
  • People undergoing cardiac rehabilitation feel more confident and perceive greater improvements in their physical abilities if they have a strong faith.
  • Increased levels of spirituality and religious faith may help substance abusers kick their habit.
  • Spirituality stimulates the relaxation response. When the body is relaxed, the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate all go down, which decreases the body’s stress response.
  • Spirituality can affect function of the immune system. Spirituality, faith, church attendance improves immune function in ways that can be measured, like an increase in white blood cells.
  • Prayer heals the heart. Positive talking and thinking in the ICU produces better results.
  • Spirituality is what brings you peace and safety. It can be achieved through God or Goddess, nature, a beautiful sunset, a meditation, Pranayama, religious meeting, chanting, mind body relaxation, etc. Spirituality is something that can help all the way from promoting wellness to helping with recovery.

Vegetarian diet and soya products help reduce BP

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Vegetarian diet and soya products help reduce BP

Ingestion of a vegetarian diet may reduce systolic blood pressure by 5 mmHg. A 5 mm reduction in blood pressure may reduce the risk of heart disease by 21%.

One major feature of a vegetarian diet that may affect blood pressure is the amount of dietary fiber; with an increased amount being associated with decreased systemic pressures. Multiple meta-analyses have shown benefits with dietary fiber intake on blood pressure. Vegetarians, in general, have lower blood pressure levels and a lower incidence of hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. Experts postulate that a typical vegetarian’s diet contains more potassium, complex carbohydrates, polyunsaturated fat, fiber, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin A, all of which may have a favorable influence on blood pressure.

More significant reductions were observed in older (greater than 40 years) and hypertensive individuals.

Soya is good for high blood pressure because it is naturally high in potassium and low in sodium. Potassium and sodium are electrolytes, and a high-potassium, low-sodium diet promotes a healthy blood pressure.

Soya can be good for high blood pressure when you eat it as an alternative protein source to unhealthy meats. Soya-based meat substitutes, such as veggie burgers, veggie bacon and meatless cold cuts, can be higher in fiber and lower in sodium than animal-based meat products. They can lower your risk for heart disease because they are lower in saturated fat. However, soya does not contain the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fatty fish and shellfish; these may lower your blood pressure, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.

Even though soya is low in unhealthy saturated fat, some soya products are high in total fat and calories, and as a result will contribute to weight gain if you eat too much. Losing weight if you are overweight, or maintaining your current weight if you are already at a healthy weight, improves your chances of lowering your high blood pressure.

The Scientific Aspects of Prayer

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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It is natural for us to promise or offer to pray for someone who suffers from sickness. So many people believe in the power of prayer that it has now caught the attention of scientists and doctors. Today most hospitals and nursing homes are building prayer rooms for their patients, based on the principle that a relaxed mind is a creative mind. During prayer, a person is in touch with the consciousness, and is able to take correct decisions. Most doctors even write on their prescriptions “I treat He cures”.

Medically it has been proved that the subconscious mind of an unconscious person is listening. Any prayer therefore would be captured by the patient building inner confidence and faith to fight terminal sickness.  We have seen the classical example of the effect of mass prayer on a person’s health in the case of Amitabh Bachchan’s illness.

“Praying for health is one of the most common complementary treatments people do on their own,” said Dr Harold G Koenig, co-director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Duke University Medical Center.

About 90% of Americans and almost 100% Indians pray at some point in their lives, and when they’re under stress, such as when they’re sick, they’re even more likely to pray.

 

More than one-third of the people surveyed in a recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine said they often turned to prayer when faced with medical concerns. In a poll involving more than 2,000 Americans, 75% of those who prayed said they prayed for wellness, while 22% said they prayed for specific medical conditions.

 

Numerous random studies have been conducted on this subject. In one such study, neither the patients nor the healthcare providers had any idea who was being prayed for. The coronary-care unit patients didn’t even know there was a study being conducted. And, those praying for the patients had never even met them. The result: While those in the prayer group had about the same length of hospital stay, their overall health was slightly better than the group that didn’t receive special prayers.

“Prayer may be an effective adjunct to standard medical care,” wrote the authors of this 1999 study, also published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. However, a more recent trial from the April 2006 issue of the American Heart Journal suggests that it’s even possible for some harm to come from prayer. In this study, which included 1,800 people scheduled for heart surgery, the group who knew they were receiving prayers developed more complications from the procedure, compared to those who had not been a focus of prayer.

Many patients are reluctant and do not discuss this subject with their doctors. Only 11% patients mention prayer to their doctors. But, doctors are more open to the subject than the patients realize, particularly in serious medical situations. In a study of doctors’ attitudes toward prayer and spiritual behavior, almost 85% of the doctors thought they should be aware of their patients’ spiritual beliefs. Most doctors said they wouldn’t pray with their patients even if they were dying, unless the patient specifically asked the doctor to pray with them. In that case, 77% of the doctors were willing to pray for their patient.

Most people are convinced that prayer helps. Some people are ‘foxhole religious’ types and prayer is almost a reaction or cry to the Universe for help. However, many people do it because they’ve experienced benefit from it in the past.

If a patient wants to pray and feels it might be helpful, there’s no reason he should not. If he believes that prayer might work, then he should use it.

ABO blood type is a risk factor for coronary heart disease

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Wellness | Tagged With: , , , | | Comments Off on ABO blood type is a risk factor for coronary heart disease

Two prospective cohort studies have identified the ABO blood group as a risk factor for the development of heart disease. People with blood groups A, B, or AB were 5-23% more likely to develop coronary heart disease compared with those with O blood type. The study by Dr Meian He from Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA included 62 073 women from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and 27 428 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) and is published in the September 2012 issue of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.

In the NHS and HPFS, the incident rates of coronary heart disease per 100 000 person-years were 125, 128, 142, and 161 for women with type O, A, B, and AB, respectively, and 373, 382, 387, and 524 for men with type O, A, B, and AB, respectively. Compared with individuals with O blood type, individuals with blood group A, B, or AB had a respective 5%, 11%, and 23% increased risk of developing coronary heart disease in an age-adjusted model.

In non-O individuals, plasma levels of factor VIII-von Willebrand factor (vWF) are approximately 25% higher than in individuals with type O blood type. Elevated levels of factor VIII-vWF have been previously identified as a risk factor for coronary heart disease. The vWF has an important role in hemostasis and thrombosis by mediating platelet adhesion to the vascular wall, especially under high shear stress conditions.