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Dr K K Aggarwal

Eating fast food can cause liver damage

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Eating at least two fast foods meals every day and restricting levels of physical activity to no more than 5,000 steps a day can lead to signs of liver damage or weight gain as per a Swedish study. At the end of the 4 weeks, the fast food eaters had put on an average of 6.5 kilograms (14.3 pounds). After just 1 week on the fast food diet, blood tests showed sharp increases in a liver enzyme called SGPT. SGPT levels were more than quadrupled over the 4-week study period. Increased SGPT levels are used to diagnose liver disease before symptoms develop. In 11 fast food dieters, SGPT rose to levels suggestive of liver damage. The SGPT increases were linked to weight gain and higher sugar and Carbohydrate intake.

Importance of silence

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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True silence is the silence between thoughts and represents the true self, consciousness or the soul. It is a web of energized information ready to take all provided there is a right intent. Meditation is the process of achieving this silence. Observing silence is another way of getting benefits of meditation. Many yogis in the past have recommended and observed silence now and then. Mahatma Gandhi used to spend one day of each week in silence. He believed that abstaining from speech brought him inner peace and happiness. On these days, he communicated with others only by writing on paper.

Hindu principles also talks about a correlation between mauna (silence) and shanti (harmony). Mauna Ekadashi is a ritual followed traditionally in our country. On this day the person is not supposed to speak at all and keep complete silence throughout day and night. It gives immense peace to the mind and strength to the body. In Jainism this ritual has a lot of importance. Nimith was a great Jain saint, who long ago, asked all Jains to observe this vrata. Some people recommend that on every ekadashi one should observe silence for few hours in a day if not the whole day.

Deepak Chopra in his book 7 Laws of Spiritual Success talks in great detail about the importance of observing silence in day to day life. He recommends that everyone should observe silence for 20 minutes every day. Silence helps to redirect our imagination towards self from the outer atmosphere. Even Swami Sivananda in his teachings has recommended daily observation of mauna for 2 hours for ekadashi, milk and fruits every day, studying one chapter of Bhagwad Gita daily, regular charity and donating one–tenth of the income in the welfare of the society. Ekadashi is the 11th day of Hindu lunar fortnight. Ekadashi is the day of celebration occurring twice a month, meant for meditation and increasing soul consciousness.

Vinoba Bhave was a great sage of our country who is known for this bhoodaan movement. He was a great advocator and practical preacher of mauna vrata. Mauna means silence and vrata means vow; hence, mauna vrata means vow of silence. Mauna was practiced by saints to end enmity. Prolonged silence as a form of silence is observed by rishi munis.

Silence is a source of all that exists. Silence is where conscious dwells. There is no religious tradition that does not talk about silence. It breaks outward communication and forces a dialogue towards inner communication. This is one reason why all prayers, meditation and worship or any other practice whether we attune our mind to the spiritual consciousness within are done in silence. After the death of a person it is a practice to observe silence for two minutes. The immediate benefit is that it saves a tremendous amount of energy. Silence is cessation of both sensory and mental activity. It is like having a still mind and listening to the inner mind. Behind this screen of our internal dialogue is the silence of spirit. Meditation is the combination of observing silence and the art of observation.

Facts about exercise

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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• Exercise for 80 minutes a day and brisk exercise 80 minutes a week.
• The speed of walking should be at least 80 steps per minute.
• Do resistance or weight-bearing exercises twice in a week.
• Avoid doing strenuous exercises for the first time in life after the age of 40.
• According to Ayurveda, one should exercise to his or her body type.
• Diabetics who exercise should not exercise if blood sugar is lower than 90.
• In conditions of smog, avoid walking early in the morning till sunlight appears.

Vedic Fasting

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Fasting and starvation are two different terms commonly confused with each other. Starvation means not eating or drinking altogether, while fasting means control and restrain of five sensory and five motor senses. During fasting one may continue eating or drinking but under discipline. Vedic fasting or spiritual fasting is mentioned in Karam Kanda in Yajurveda. Every fast in our mythology has a scientific basis and rituals are added so that the common man can follow it.

Donating blood reduces chances of heart attack

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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One should donate blood at least once in a year. Donating blood regularly has been shown in many reports to reduce chances of future heart attacks. Blood donation is also one of the best charities that one can do as it can save multiple lives through various components taken out of a single blood transfusion.

All those who are going for elective surgery should donate their blood well in advance and the same should be used at the time of surgery.

In the current medical tourism scenario, many patients who are Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse blood transfusion on religious grounds. They do not accept transfusion of whole blood or any of the four major components (blood cells, platelets, plasma and white cells). They are prepared to die rather than receive the blood. They also do not accept transfusion of stored blood including their own due to the belief that blood should not be taken out of the body and stored for any length of time. In such cases, every effort should be made to reduce blood loss, conserve blood and give drugs that can enhance hemoglobin formation.

A new concept called Bloodless Medicine has now become a reality where treatment, surgery and even emergency surgery can be done without using any blood.

How to remove negative thoughts

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Darkness is absence of light and similarly negative thoughts are absence of positive thoughts. The answer to negative thoughts is to bring positive thoughts back. Ideal mind is devils workshop and will always think negative.

Here are the ways
• Think differently as taught by Adi Shankaracharya. Once Menaka approached Arjuna with lust and said that she wanted to have a son like him with him. Arjuna said that why wait for 25 years consider me as you son from today.

• Think opposite as taught by Patanjali. For example if you are thinking of stealing, then silently start thinking of charity.

• Think positive as taught by Buddha. Make a list of positive action to be done today as the first thing in the morning and concentrate on that list. Divert your mind to the pending works. It’s a type of behavioral therapy.

PPIs may be associated with a higher risk for Clostridium difficile–associated diarrhea

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The FDA has announced that use of prescription and OTC PPIs may be associated with a higher risk for CDAD and attendant gastrointestinal complications. Symptoms of Clostridium difficile–associated diarrhea (CDAD) may include persistent watery diarrhea, abdominal pain and/or fever. Clinicians should prescribe the lowest dose of a PPI for the shortest duration that is effective for the condition being treated. According to an FDA review of AERS reports and published case reports of CDAD in patients being treated with PPIs, many patients had factors predisposing them to the development of CDAD, but the FDA could not definitively exclude the role of PPI use in contributing to the risk for CDAD. The FDA warns that patients with at least one of these predisposing risk factors and concomitant PPI use may have serious outcomes from CDAD. Colectomy and, rarely, death have been reported. Clinicians should counsel their patients who are taking PPIs to seek immediate care from a healthcare professional if they develop watery stool that does not go away, abdominal pain, and/or fever. However, patients should not discontinue their prescription PPI drug without medical advice. Patients taking OTC PPIs should be advised to carefully follow package directions.

Aastik Vs Nastik

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Traditionally, people believe that Nastik are people who do not go to temples or related places of worship. They also do not believe in God. To differentiate between Astik and Nastik, we need to first understand the concept of Sanatan Dharma and Arya Samaj Dharma. People who believe in Sanatan Dharma consider God as separate from the self and worship him in the form of an idol. They believe in Dualism theory.

Arya Samaj followers do not do idol worship and believe in non–dualism and treat God and self as one. Arya Samajis, therefore, will not go to a temple where the idols of Gods are placed. Being an Arya Samaji does not mean that the person is Nastik.

The word Nastik means someone who does not believe in God at all, therefore, he or she also does not believe in self as God is nothing but self. In medical sciences, these are the people who have no insight and will usually be suffering from depression and loss of self–esteem.

Sitting over 3 hours a day may reduce life expectancy

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Sitting for three hours per day or longer may reduce an individual’s life expectancy. A study calculated that limiting the time people spend sitting to 3 hours or fewer each day would increase the life expectancy of the population by two years. Cutting down TV watching to fewer than two hours each day would bump life expectancy up by another 1.4 years.

When you are sitting, your leg muscles (the largest in the body) are completely inactive, which causes problems with how you handle your blood sugar and how you handle cholesterol.

Try to get what you like and try to like what you get

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Most people get frustrated when they do not get what they desire. The frustration can manifest as anger, jealousy or irritation, which can ultimately cause much more damage to the person. The law of nature is that you get what you deserve and not what you desire. Each action has a karmic expression, which ultimately leads to a result, which can be desirable or undesirable. Each action, therefore, invariably ends into either a feeling of pleasure or pain. And the one which ends with pleasure creates more desire and attachment further leading to frustration. What you are depends on your past karmic expression and what you will be in future will depend on your present karmic actions. For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction which is the natural law of karma. According to Vedanta scriptures, every karmic debt has to be paid sooner or later.

Every result should be accepted as a gift of the nature or the gift of God. One should not get excited nor tainted with results. According to Bhagavad Gita, one should be attached to the actions but detached from their results. Once you have controlled your mind and won over the duality of pleasure and pain, you attain internal happiness and the realization of your true Self.

Every karmic expression should be accepted as a message from the God, the results of which may be evident later. Any bad experiences with your present karma need not necessarily mean that it is a result of your bad past karma or is a repayment of the past debt. It may also be taken as an experience to prevent occurrence of the same in future and also an opportunity to teach others through your own experience, so that they can prevent themselves from getting into such a bad experience. ‘The more you give, the more you get’ is another law of nature. If you want others to love you, you will also have to learn to love others. The bad karmic actions done today can only give you a momentary pleasure, but in long run you will be a loser.

One should be content with what one gets, both in terms of one’s profession as well as day-to-day life. Contentment is the key to self-happiness. However, this does not means that one should not have any desire and one should leave everything to destiny. With continuous effort and repeated attempts, one can change one’s destiny.

Fulfillment of desires should also obey the laws of nature. Substantial fulfillment of desires is a supernatural power. People, who are committed or self-realized, attain these powers happenings and experience substantial effortless fulfillment of any desire. But even if one achieves that, one should not get attached to it. Fulfillment of desires should be seen as any ordinary karmic action and one should learn to detach oneself from the result of such an action.

Extreme exercise may not pose danger to heart

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Extreme exercise may not pose danger to heart: The Wall Street Journal reported that a study of Tour de France cyclists found that they had longer lives than the general population and were less likely to die from heart troubles.

Faster heart attack care has not led to better in–hospital survival: USA Today reported that research published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that while hospitals have “shaved 16 minutes off the time it takes to get heart attack patients into treatment from 2005–2006 to 2008–2009, reducing that time from 83 minutes to 67 minutes,” investigators “found that the percentage of heart attack patients who die while in the hospital, about 5%, hasn’t changed.”

Gut bacteria may play role in determining weight: The investigators found that mice who received bacteria from the obese twin became fat, while the mice who received bacteria from lean individuals remained lean.

CDC: One in four deaths from cardiovascular disease preventable: USA Today reported currently, there are approximately 800,000 deaths annually in the US from cardiovascular disease, but about 200,000 of these deaths “could be prevented if people made healthy changes including stopping smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, doing more physical activity, eating less salt and managing their high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

What is the difference between smile, hug and laugh?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Smile is a sign of joy, while hug is a sign of love. Laughter on the other hand is a sign of inner happiness. None of them are at the level of mind or intellect. All come from within the heart. They are only the gradations of your expressions of your happiness. It is said you are incomplete in your dress if you are not wearing smile on your face. Hug comes next and laughter the last. Laughter is like an internal jogging and has benefits like that of doing meditation. But be careful we must know when not to laugh. The most difficult is to laugh on oneself

Role of Folate or Folic Acid in Cancer Prevention

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Several large observational studies have shown a decrease in risk of colorectal and other cancers with dietary folate, while other randomized trials of folic acid supplementation have raised the possibility of increased cancer risk from folic acid supplementation.

In the largest meta-analysis of individual patient data from randomized trials of folic acid for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (10 trials, n = 49,969) and colorectal adenoma (3 trials, n = 2652), during an average of 5.2 years of treatment, there was no significant difference in overall cancer incidence for patients assigned to folic acid or placebo.

There was also no significant effect on the incidence of specific cancers, including cancers of the large intestine, prostate, lung, or breast. (Lancet 2013;381:1029)

Why do we do Pradakshina?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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We cannot draw a circle without a center point. The Lord is the centre, source and essence of our lives. We go about doing our daily chores, recognizing Him as the focal point in our lives. This is the significance of pradakshina, which is a Sanskrit word meaning circumambulation or walking in a circle around the deity. Pradakshina is done only in a clockwise manner. The right side symbolizes auspiciousness. During pradakshina, we remind ourselves to lead an auspicious life of righteousness, with the Lord on our right side. Also every point on the circumference of a circle is equidistant from the center. This means that wherever or whoever we may be, we are equally close to the Lord. His grace flows towards us without partiality.

Indian scriptures enjoin us – “Matru devo Bhava, Pitru devo Bhava, Acharya devo Bhava” – May you consider your parents and teachers as you would the Lord. With this in mind we also do pradakshina around our parents and divine personages.

After the completion of the traditional worship (pooja), we customarily do pradakshina around ourselves. In this way we recognize and remember the supreme divinity within us, which alone is idolized in the form of the Lord that we worship outside.

Sodium phosphate enemas in the elderly should be avoided

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Sodium phosphate enemas are used in the treatment of constipation and for preparation for flexible sigmoidoscopy. Sodium phosphate enema use in older adults (mean age 80 years, range 61 to 89 years) is associated with hypotension, volume depletion, hyperphosphatemia, hypo– or hyperkalemia, metabolic acidosis, severe hypocalcemia, renal failure and EKG changes (prolonged QT interval). In patients over the age of 70 years use warm water enemas rather than sodium phosphate enemas.