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Dr K K Aggarwal

Why is Gayatri Mantra one of the main mantras in any pooja?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Any activity should always engage the 3H model – of heart, the head, and the hand. The same has been advocated by the western scholars. The concept means that while doing any work one should ask the head for choices, then refer these choices to the heart to choose one and finally order the hands to do the action. Dr Deepak Chopra also talks about this in great detail in his book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. He writes that conscious-based decisions are the best decisions. Before taking any decision he recommends asking the body for the signals of comfort or discomfort and if the signals of discomfort are perceived, then one should not indulge in that action. All of these concepts come from ancient Vedic knowledge. The two main mantras are the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra and the Gayatri Mantra. The Mahamritunjaya Mantra comes from the Rig Veda. This is the greatest reliever from all evils: ‘Aum Trayambakam Yajamahe, Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam, Urva Rukamiva Bandhanan, Mrityor Mokshiye Mamritat’. It means ‘we worship Shiva – The Three-Eyed Lord; who is fragrant and nourishes all beings; May he protect us (bandhan) from all big (urva) diseases (aarookam). May he liberate us (mokshiye) from death (mrityor), For the sake of immortality (mamritat, amrit); as the cucumber is automatically liberated, from its bondage from the creeper when it fully ripens.’ The manta speaks of the importance of the third eye and its benefits. The two eyes are at the level of the physical body. The third eye means the eyes of the mind and the soul. It also indicates that in difficulty one should look inward with the eyes of the mind and ask for choices. Like the cucumber, one should choose the good ones and drop the bad choices. (‘Jo acha lage use apna lo; Jo bura lage use jaane do’). The mantra for conscious-based decisions comes from Gayatri Mantra. ‘Om Bhur Bhuva Svah Tat Savutur Varenyam Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayaat’. It means: ‘we meditate on the glory of the Creator; who has created the Universe; who is worthy of Worship; who is the embodiment of Knowledge and Light; who is the remover of all Sin and Ignorance; may He enlighten our Intellect.’ It talks about the importance of conscious-based decisions and its directions to the intellect to choose the right and not the convenient actions. The Gayatri Mantra is the Vedic prayer to illuminate the intellect. Gayatri is considered Vedasara or “the essence of the Vedas”. Veda means knowledge, and this prayer fosters and sharpens the knowledge-yielding faculty. As a matter of fact, the four mahavakyas or ‘core-declarations’ enshrined in the four Vedas are implied in the Gayatri Mantra. Making the right decision from the consciousness was later defined by Buddha. He taught that before any action ask yourself the following four questions and if the answer to any of the questions is ‘no’, that action should be avoided. These four questions are: • Is it the truth? • Is it necessary? • Will the action bring happiness to you? • Will the action bring happiness to others?

Keep your kidneys healthy

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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We all want our kidneys to last for a lifetime. We all should show our love for kidneys by adopting a 10-step program for protecting kidney health. Begin with monitoring blood pressure and controlling weight and then move on to the rest of the kidney-healthy tips. 1. Monitor blood pressure and cholesterol. 2. Control weight. 3. Don’t overuse over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers. 4. Monitor blood glucose. 5. Get an annual physical exam. 6. Know if chronic kidney disease (CKD), diabetes or heart disease runs in your family. If so, you may be at risk. 7. Don’t smoke. 8. Exercise regularly. 9. Follow a healthy diet. 10. Get tested for chronic kidney disease if you are at risk.

What is charity?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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After returning from a free health check-up camp sometime back, I met a Professor of Cardiology from Lucknow and began to boast that I had seen 100 patients today free of charge. He said do not get excited. Charity is a positive, but still not the absolute positive, unless it is done without any motive or done secretly. He said that you were honored on the stage, you received blessings from the patients and people talked about you in positive sense. It was an investment in the long run and not an absolute charity. When you serve, never get yourself honored on the stage by the people whom you are serving. If you do, then it is like give and take. The purpose of life should be to help others without any expectations.

All about depression

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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• Depression is a major public health problem as a leading predictor of functional disability and mortality. • Optimal depression treatment improves outcome for most patients. • Most adults with clinical significant depression never see a mental health professional but they often visit a primary care physician. • A physician, who is not a psychiatrist, misses the diagnosis of the depression 50% of times. • All depressed patients must be enquired specifically about suicidal ideations. • Suicidal ideation is a medical emergency. • Risk factors for suicide are known psychiatric disorders, medical illness, prior history of suicidal attempts, or family history of attempted suicide. • Demographic reasons include older age, male gender, marital status (widowed or separated) and living alone. • World over about 1 million people commit suicide every year. • Seventy–nine percent of patients who commit suicide contact their primary care provider in the last one year before their death and only one–third contact their mental health service provider. • Twice as many suicidal victims had contacted with their primary care provider as against the mental health provider in the last month before suicide. • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death worldwide and account for 1.2% of all deaths. • In the US,the suicidal rate is 10.5 per 100,000 people. • In the US,incidence of suicide is increasing in middle aged adults. • There are 10–40 non–fatal suicide attempts for every one completed suicide. • The majority of suicides completed in US are accomplished with firearm (57%); the second leading method of suicide in US is hanging for men and poisoning in women. • Patients with prior history of attempted suicide are 5–6 times more likely to make another attempt. • Fifty percent of successful victims have made prior attempts. • One of every 100 suicidal attempt survivors will die by suicide within one year of the first attempt. • The risk of suicide increases with increase in age; however, younger and adolescents attempt suicide more than the older. • Females attempt suicide more frequently than males but males are successful three times more often. • The highest suicidal rate is amongst those individuals who are unmarried followed by widowed, separated, divorced, married without children and married with children in descending order. • Living alone increases the risk of suicide. • Unemployed and unskilled patients are at higher risk of suicide than those who are employed. • A recent sense of failure may lead to higher risk. • Clinicians are at higher risk of suicide. • The suicidal rate in male clinicians is 1.41 and in female clinicians it is 2.27. • Adverse childhood abuse and adverse childhood experiences increase the risk of suicidal attempts. • The first step in evaluating suicidal risk is to determine presence of suicidal thoughts including their concerns and duration. • Management of a suicidal individual includes reducing mortality risk, underlying factors and monitoring and follow up. • Major risk for suicidal attempts is in psychiatric disorders, hopelessness and prior suicidal attempts or threats. • High impulsivity or alcohol or other substance abuse increase the risk.

Why do we Flame Camphor in any Pooja

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Camphor represents our inherent tendencies or vaasanas. When lit by the fire of knowledge about the self the vaasanas burn themselves out completely, not leaving a trace of ego. Ego is responsible for a sense of individuality that keeps us separate from the Lord or consciousness. Apart camphor when burns emit a pleasant perfume. This signifies that as we burn our ego we can only spread love and nothing else.

Tackling tension headaches

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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If you suffer from headaches often, more than once or twice a week, then try the following. 1. Don’t skip meals. 2. Get enough sleep. 3. Avoid stress and fatigue. 4. Learn physical and relaxation therapies. 5. Apply heating pad to the neck and shoulders to relax the muscles. 6. Exercising the muscles of neck and shoulders by strengthening and stretching them. 7. Relaxation exercises that focus your attention on various parts of your body in order to relax and release tension and stress can also help. 8. Learn Biofeedback relaxation techniques. Learn to recognize when you are becoming tense and then find ways to relax the muscles before they tighten so much that you develop a tension headache. 9. Identify trigger points, at the back of the neck or in the shoulders. Injecting a local anesthetic into these areas may eliminate the pain and prevent headache.

The Mantra to acquire spiritual health is to think positive and differently. When you think positive, it creates positive hormones and takes you from sympathetic mode to parasympathetic mode. When you think different, it gives you opportunities and from multiple options available, you can ask your heart to choose one of them. Thinking positive was a message given by Lord Buddha and thinking different by Adi Shankracharya. The candle light march which was done for fighting justice in Jessica Lal murder case has been picked up by most of the protest campaigns because it was positive and different. I have seen three examples in my life where I used this and prolonged the life of those persons. My grandfather-in-law at the age of 85 thought it is time to go but when we made him work positively and differently, he die at the age of 100 years. He was asked to teach youngsters law, write to Prime Minister everyday on certain issues and find matrimonial matches for the youngest persons in the family. In other two cases, one was suffering from terminal prostate cancer and the other terminal brain cancer. The first one lived for ten years and the other is still alive. Both were told that they had a very early cancer and that was cured by a surgery. When you think different, it creates creativity and when it is with positive attitude, it is accepted by all.

Do I need multivitamin tablets?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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1. Multivitamin tablets are not needed unless there is a scarcity of a particular vitamin. 2. If you include all seven colors and six tastes in your food, there is no need for vitamin supplementation. 3. Wheat grass and barley grass juice contain folic acid and vitamin B12. 4. Anything which is green contains vitamin B. 5. Anything which is red contains lycopene. 6. Citrus foods contain vitamin C. 7. All dry fruits contain vitamin E. 8. Sunlight is an excellent source of vitamin D. 9. Carrots contain vitamin A. 10. Folic acid is lost if the food is boiled and the water is discarded. 11. Vitamin D is not absorbed if exposed to sunlight is through glass. 12. Vitamin D is not absorbed through clothes if you are fully-clothed in sunlight.

Why do people suffer?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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1. As per Garud Puran and Hindu mythology, one reason for suffering are the debts of the past birth. Your purpose of life is to face sufferings to pay these debts.

2. Second reason is your present deeds till today starting from birth. If your sum total of bad deeds is more than good deeds, they are added to your previous birth’s debts.

3. Third reason for suffering is in the form of struggle which you entertain to attain future success. Some people do not call it as suffering.

4. The last reason for suffering is some people acquire yogic powers to take sufferings of others. The classical examples are Shirdi Sai Baba and Jesus Christ who were known to cure others by adding their suffering to their own account. If you see most of the Gods or holy people had suffered in their last time, be it Jesus Christ, Krishna, Buddha or Sai Baba.

Only Rishi Munis can remain alive and die at will even after they have paid for all their debts.

Reduce liquids to reduce weight

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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When it comes to losing weight, cut down on liquid calories rather than food.

Body is able to self-regulate its intake of solid food. If you eat too much solid food at lunch, you’ll tend to eat less at dinner. But the same self-regulation is not in place for what you drink. The body does not adjust to liquid calories, so over time, you gain more weight.

Cutting back on calories from sugary drinks – by only one serving per day – can account for nearly two-and-a-half pounds of lost weight over 18 months.

Beverages are categorized into eight categories

  1. Sugar-sweetened beverages (including soft drinks, fruit drinks, fruit punch, or high-calorie beverages sweetened with sugar)
  2. Diet drinks such as diet soda and other diet drinks that were artificially sweetened
  3. Milk (including whole milk, 2 percent milk, and 1 percent skim)
  4. 100 percent fruit and vegetable juice
  5. Coffee and tea with sugar
  6. Coffee and tea without sugar
  7. Alcoholic beverages
  8. Water with no calories

The best drinks are water, plain soda and tea/coffee with no sugar.

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 similar to that obtained from meditation.

But be careful… we must know when not to laugh. The most difficult is to laugh at oneself.

How to eat salt?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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As per WHO, one should not take more than 5gm of salt in a day. If salt intake is reduced, the incidence of heart attack, heart failure, will be reduced substantially.

Here are some ways to reduce salt intake:

  1. Substitute white salt with black salt wherever possible.
  2. Do not keep salt shaker on the table.
  3. Do not add salt in your food except in pulses and cooked vegetables.
  4. Do not add salt to salads.
  5. Avoid adding salt to foods at the table.
  6. Take stock of the sources of salt in your diet, such as restaurant meals, salt-based condiments and convenience foods. Some of these are really loaded with salt.
  7. Read the labels when shopping. Look for lower sodium in cereals, crackers, pasta sauces, canned vegetables, or any foods with low-salt options. Or, eat less processed and packaged foods.
  8. Ask about salt added to food, especially at restaurants. Most restaurant chefs will omit salt when requested.
  9. Remember the word ‘Na’, which is present in many drugs, soda etc.
  10. Nothing can be preserved without adding salt to it, therefore beware of processed and frozen fruits.
  11. Many sweet food items have significant hidden salt in them.
  12. To cook with reduced salt, add more lemon, garlic, amchur (mango powder) etc.
  13. It takes three months of salt-free diet to get adjusted to it and to ultimately start liking it.
  14. Never add salt to milk.
  15. Beware of salt in tooth pastes.
  16. Replace sodium with potassium salt.

Achar, papad, chutney traditionally used in Indian diet have very high salt content. Most sauces will also have very high salt content.

What is the significance of the Swastika (Sathiyo)?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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During a marriage ceremony, the swastika is painted on the wall or entrance of the house to wish for the well-being and happiness of the newlyweds. The word swastika means auspicious in the Sanskrit language. It is regarded as a divine sign by Hindus and is usually found in temples, symbolizing the four directions, thus making it a universal symbol. It sends out pure vibrations for universal peace and prosperity.

The lines turning inwards tell us that each individual being a part of the Universe has to turn inwards in order to attain salvation. Each person has to strive for his or her self-realization by turning inwards.

Restricting salt in diet can lower heart disease risk

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Restricting salt in the diet can lower the risk of developing heart disease by 25 percent and the risk of dying from heart disease by 20 percent.

Dietary intake of sodium among Indians is excessively high. Among hypertensive individuals, lowering sodium is quite well established to lower blood pressure, but now it has been shown that reducing salt also has an effect on cardiovascular disease as shown in a Harvard Medical School study published in British Medical Journal.

When people with pre hypertension (blood pressure more than 120/80 and lower than 140/90), reduced their salt intake by about 25 to 35%, they were 25% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease 10 to 15 years after the trial ended. There was also a 20 percent lower death rate from cardiovascular disease among those who cut their salt consumption.

Salt restriction is best achieved by avoiding salted, salt cured and salt smoked foods such as lunch meat, hot dogs, ham, olives, pickles and regular salted canned foods, and other prepared foods, which often use more salt than homemade equivalents. Foods we would never think of as salty, such as breakfast cereals, cookies, and even some soft drinks, often contain copious additions of sodium.

Cholesterol tips

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.