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Dr K K Aggarwal

Even children can have acidity

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Children who have continuing recurrence of cough and croup could be suffering from stomach reflux problems. Croup or ‘Kali Khansi’ as it is called in local parlance, is recognized by a loud cough that often sounds like the barking of a seal. It can cause rapid or difficult breathing, and sometimes wheezing. Croup is thought to be caused by a virus, but reflux acidity has been suggested as a possible trigger. In GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, stomach acid causes swelling and inflammation of the larynx, which narrows the airway. It can trigger more swelling with any kind of viral or respiratory infection. Identifying children with GERD could help treat and improve recurring croup. It is unusual for a child to have three or more bouts of croup over a short period of time. These children need to be evaluated. The same is true for adults also. Patients with non responding asthma should be investigated for underlying acidity as the cause of acute asthma.

The very purpose of life is to face sufferings

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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According to Hinduism, the very fact we are born means that in our last life, we did not get liberation or Moksha. It also means that some sufferings in our last birth still remained. Therefore, the purpose of this birth is to face those sufferings.

When the purpose of our life is to face sufferings, why suffer from them? This should be considered as ‘sukh’ and not ‘dukh’. As per Vedic literature, every diversity is an opportunity to learn or to do something different. The four notable principles of Buddhism also talk about the same. The first is that suffering exists, second that there is a reason for every suffering and third that it is possible to neutralize the suffering by understanding the 8 paths of cessation of suffering. Also remember that in every ‘dukh’ you think of ‘sukh’ and in every ‘sukh’ you think of a ‘dukh’. Next time you have a problem, think differently and learn to enjoy them.

One of my industrialist friends was once ordered to go to Tihar Jail on a Friday night. He tried his level best and wanted to get admitted in the hospital for the weekend so that he could secure bail on Monday morning. I told him that whether he was in jail or in hospital, it would make no difference as far as his status was concerned. In both the situations, he would be listed as being in the jail on paper. So I told him to go to the jail and enjoy those 48 hours as a holiday. When he came back from the jail, he was a different person and learnt the principle of life which he otherwise could not have learnt.

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

Harvard 4 simple ways to boost your energy

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. Pace yourself: Keep going, but don’t risk overtaxing yourself. Instead of burning through all your battery life in two hours, spread it out between morning tasks, afternoon tasks, and evening activities, with rest and meals between.
  2. Take a walk or a nap: However, if you have trouble sleeping at night, napping can make the insomnia worse. If that’s the case for you, get moving instead. Get up and walk around the block, or just get up and move around. If you are not an insomniac, enjoy that 20– to 30–minute power nap.
  3. Skip most supplements: There is no evidence that they works.
  • DHEA: There is no evidence that dehydroepiandrosterone or DHEA offers any real benefits.
  • Iron. Iron only improves energy if you are clearly deficient.
  • B vitamins. It is true that B vitamins (B1, B2, B6 and B12) help the body convert food into the form of energy that cells can burn, but taking more B vitamins does not supercharge your cells.

4. Fuel up wisely: A sugary bakery roll delivers plenty of calories, but your body tends to metabolize them faster, and then you can end up with sinking blood sugar and fatigue. You’ll maintain a steadier energy level by eating lean protein and unrefined carbohydrates. Try low–fat yogurt with a sprinkling of nuts, raisins, and honey

Desire, Hatred and Ignorance

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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According to Buddhism, the three negative emotions that cause disease are ignorance, hatred and desire. Accordingly physical sickness is classified into three main types.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.”

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

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

Why do we light a lamp during pooja?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Prayer

|| Deepajyothi parabrahma

Deepa Jyotir Janaardanah

Deepo harati paapaani

Sandhyaa deepa namostute ||

“I prostrate to the dawn/dusk lamp; whose light is the Knowledge Principle (the Supreme Lord), which removes the darkness of ignorance and by which all can be achieved in life.”

Light symbolizes knowledge, and darkness, ignorance. Knowledge removes ignorance just as light removes darkness. The purpose of any ritual is to remove internal darkness and attain knowledge.

Vedic scriptures recommend daily lighting of the lamp as a part of pooja. Some do it once at dawn, others twice a day – at dawn and dusk – and some keep a lamp that is always lit (akhanda deepa). No auspicious function can commence without the lighting of a lamp.

Knowledge is the everlasting inner wealth by which all outer achievement can be accomplished. By lighting the lamp, we bow to knowledge as the greatest of all forms of wealth. Knowledge about the self is the greatest wealth. It goes around achieving inner happiness by burning the negativity of a mind that is full of lust and ego.

The traditional oil lamp defines this spiritual significance. The oil or ghee symbolizes our vaasanas (lust, negative tendencies) and the wick, the ego. When lit by spiritual knowledge, the vaasanas get slowly exhausted and the ego too finally perishes. The flame of a lamp always burns upwards signifying that only that knowledge should be acquired, which takes us towards higher ideals.

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

Dentists can diagnose

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Early mouth cancer
  • Scurvy: In the mouth, scurvy can cause gums to swell, bleed and soften which can lead to tooth loss.
  • Eating disorder: regular bouts of vomiting covers the teeth in strong gastric acid from the stomach that can wear down the tooths protective layer of enamel, causing teeth to become discolored, cracked and sensitive.
  • Anemia: Ulcers at the corner of the mouth. A change in color of the gums and tongue
  • Sinus infection: Infected sinuses can cause pain in the jaw and around the teeth, which can be mistaken for a toothache.
  • Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium which helps to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Too little zinc can leave you open to gum disease, dry mouth and loss of sensation in your tongue.
  • Low levels of vitamin B3, or niacin, can cause the tip of the tongue to become red and swollen
  • Vitamin B2 – without it your tongue can become sore and your lips, red and shiny.
  • B12 levels, which can prevent bad breath, loss of taste and a fissured tongue.
  • Diabetics are at a higher risk of early gum disease – gingivitis – and serious gum disease – periodontitis.
  • Biting your nails: If you like a nibble, you are putting undue stress on your teeth, causing them to crack, chip and wear down.

Jaw pain, recessed gums and even headaches are other side effects caused by the grinding and clenching involved in nail biting, as well as the germs being passed into your mouth every time you feel like a nibble.

A woman is at risk of heart attack if:

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Her father or brother below age 55 or her mother or sister below age 65 have had a heart attack, stroke, angioplasty or bypass surgery.
  • She is over 55 years old. (After age 65, the death rate increases sharply for women)
  • She smokes or is exposed to second-hand smoke every day.
  • Her blood pressure is over 135/85 mm Hg. Optimal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg. Drug therapy is indicated when blood pressure is >140/90 mm Hg, or an even lower blood pressure in the setting of chronic kidney disease or diabetes (> 130/90 mm Hg).
  • She does not exercise for at least 30 minutes that includes moderate–intensity physical activity, like taking a brisk walk, on most days. For weight control, women need to exercise for 60–90 minutes with moderate–intensity activity on most days.
  • She has diabetes. After age 45, diabetes affects many more women than men. If diabetic, aim to achieve glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) level less than 7%.
  • Her HDL (High Density Lipoprotein or “good” cholesterol) is less than 50mg/dL.
  • LDL goals are dependent upon risk. The following levels of lipids and lipoproteins in women should be encouraged through lifestyle approaches: LDL–C <100mg/dL; HDL–C >50mg/dL; triglycerides <150mg/dL and non–HDL–C (total cholesterol minus HDL cholesterol) <130 mg/dL. If a woman is at high risk or has hypercholesterolemia, intake of saturated fat should be <7% and cholesterol intake <200 mg/d. For diabetic women, LDL should be <100. For vascular disease and very high risk women, LDL should be<70. HDL of 60 mg/dL is considered cardioprotective. One can raise HDL by taking in 2–3 tbsps of olive oil daily, quitting smoking, getting regular aerobic exercise and maintaining a healthy weight.
  • She is overweight by 20 pounds or more (More than one–third of women are more than 20 pounds overweight.)
  • Either natural or through surgery, early menopause, before the age of 40 is associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • Taking birth control pills greatly increases risk of heart attack and stroke, especially after age 35.
  • She has a high demand/low control job with sustained high levels of stress. Stress is a normal part of life.
  • A healthy diet consists of eating fruits, vegetables and whole grain high–fiber foods (aim for 5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of whole fruit daily); eating fish, especially oily fish, at least twice a week; limiting saturated fat to < 10% of energy, and if possible to <7%, cholesterol to <300 mg/dL. Limiting alcohol intake to no more than 1 drink per day; limiting sodium intake to <2.3 g/d (approximately 1 tsp salt) and avoiding all trans–fatty acids (listed as “hydrogenated oil” in the ingredients section)
  • Pregnant and lactating women should avoid eating fish potentially high in methylmercury.
  • Having at least three of a cluster of symptoms that are listed below put her at risk:

o High blood sugar >100 mg/dL after fasting

o High triglycerides, at least 150 mg/dL

o Low HDL (<50 mg/dL in women)

o Blood pressure of 130/85 or higher

o Waist >35 inches (Waist measurement of 35 inches or more or waist–to–hip ratio greater than 0.80 is a predictor of high triglycerides and low HDL levels).

The Main Principle of Knowing the Truth

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The main figure in the Upanishads is sage Yajnavalkya, known as one of the greatest philosophers. Most of the great teachings of later Hindu or Buddhist philosophy are derived from him. He taught the great doctrine of neti-neti, the view that truth can be found only through the negation of all thoughts about it.

Brhadaranyaka Upanishad is the oldest and the most important of all the Upanishads. Its name actually means the great forest-book.

Sage Yajnavalkya’s dialogues with his wife, Maitreyi are featured in the Muni Kanda or Yajnavalkya Kanda. The doctrine of neti-neti suggests the indescribability of the Brahman, the Absolute. Yajnavalkaya attempts to define Brahman.

Atman is described “neither this, nor this” neti-neti. The Self cannot be described in any way. Na-iti – that is Neti. Through this process of neti-neti you give up everything – the cosmos, the body, the mind and everything – to realize the Self.

Once the Atman is defined in this manner, you become familiar with it, a transformation takes place as realization dawns that the phenomenal world and all its creatures are made up of the same essence of bliss.

Brahman is infinite, amorphous, colorless, characterless and formless Universal Spirit, which is omnipresent and omnipotent, and like cosmic energy, is pervasive, unseen and indescribable.

  • Neti-neti Meditation: The principle of neti-neti has been used in meditation involving gnana yoga. Whenever a thought or feeling comes to mind that is not the goal of the meditation, or is not the soul or the inner self, the meditator simply has to say, “Not this, not this,” and dismiss the thought, image, concept, sound, or sense distraction. Any thought, any feeling, is patiently discarded — again and again if necessary, until the mind is clear and the soul/or the self is revealed.
  • Neti-neti and the mind: When you get into the habit of neti-neti, you can also discard thoughts of worry, doubt, or fear, and become established in the light of your inner self. You can, then, look back at worries and fears with deep insight and handle them.
  • Neti-neti and the medical profession: One of the basic medical teachings is to diagnose a condition by way of excluding other similar conditions. This is called differential diagnosis and this is the mainstay of allopathy. This also makes one investigative-oriented but is the only scientific way of knowing the truth.
  • Neti-neti and multiple choice questions: In any modern exam today, the principle of neti-neti is used. A question has four nearly similar answers and the student has to answer the correct one. He can only answer by the principle of negation.
  • Neti-neti and police investigations: This principle is also used while handling a criminal case. Everyone is a suspect in the crime initially, till a process of elimination clears them.

Hepatitis A, E and typhoid are the hygiene markers of a city

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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It is diseases such as jaundice with hepatitis A in children and E in adults, typhoid, cholera and gastroenteritis that reflect the hygiene status of a city and not the occurrence of dengue and malaria.

Food and water–borne diseases can be eradicated by the following public awareness formula: When in doubt follow the principle, “heat it, boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it”. This means that in an unhygienic environment, one can eat an orange or a banana but not a tomato or apple. Other steps are:

  • Do not eat salad that has been left open for more than 2 hours even if it is washed properly.
  • Do not take cooked food that has been left on the table for more than 2 hours.
  • Vegetables grown under the ground or over the surface of the ground should be washed properly before eating them raw. They may be the biggest source of worm infection in the brain, a condition called neurocysticercosis.
  • Boiled water is the safest water to drink.
  • Ice made from unhygienic water can be the source of most water–borne diseases.

It is our duty to keep our home and city as clean as possible. We must regard our city as our extended home, a garden as our farmhouse and roads as are our personal walking tracks.

Meditation can change genes

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The Amarnath cave was chosen by Lord Shiva to narrate the secrets of meditation, immortality and creation of Universe to Parvati.

A spiritual journey requires a spiritual frame of mind and a commitment of 7-10 days for self-purification. Most spiritual destinations are located at up into mountains to provide a pollution free environment and involve a difficult travel so that nobody can reach the destination before 7-10 days. This duration helps in controlling the mind, intellect, ego and getting rid of the desires, attachments and greed. On the path of spiritual journey as one is travelling alone without carrying the worldly attachments, one invariably reaches the destination in a positive state of mind and in a meditative phase to experience the truth of life and answers to unanswered questions.

The Amarnath Story

Once Parvati asked Shiva to let her know why and when he started wearing the beads of heads (Mund Mala). Shiva said whenever you are born I add one more head in my beads. Parvati said,” My Lord, my body is destroyed every time and I die again and again, but you are Immortal. Please let me know the secret of this.” Shiva replied that it is due to Amar Katha.”

Spiritual Significance

The spiritual significance of the above is, that here Shiva represents the Soul and Parvati the Body. The soul never dies and is immortal. The soul is the energized filed of information and in computer language is like the web of energized information. Every time any work is done (sanskara) a copy of the same is kept in the memory in both the soul and the spirit.

The further part of the story is the katha or the process of doing meditation and its benefits

The story

“Parvati insisted that she may be told that secret. For long Shiva continued postponing. Finally on consistent demand He made up his mind to tell the immortal secret. He started for lonely place where no living being could listen it. He chose the Amarnath Cave.”

Spiritual Significance

The first principle of learning how to meditate is dedication and persistence. Second is silence or a place with no internal and external disturbance. In ashtanga yoga, it is called Pratyahara (the withdrawal of senses).

The story

“Shiva left His Nandi (The Bull) at Pahalgam or Bail Gaon; his moon from his hair (jata) at Chandanwari; his snake at the banks of Lake Sheshnag; his Son Ganesha at Mahagunas Parvat (Mahaganesh Hill) and his five elements at Panjtarni.

As a symbol of sacrificing the earthly world Shiva and Parvati did Tandav dance. After leaving behind all these, Shiva enters the Holy Amarnath Cave along with Parvati. Lord Shiva takes his Samadhi on the Deer Skin and concentrate.”

Spiritual Significance

In the process of meditation, one first gets rid of desires (Bull Nandi or the mind), discriminating, expectations and power of analyzing thoughts (moon or the intellect) and ego (snake). Once that is done one is away from the worldly desires totally (Ganesh and finally the five elements). Now the body is in symphony with the soul (Tandava dance).

The story

“To ensure that no living being is able to hear the Immortal Tale, Shiva created Rudra named Kalagni and ordered him to spread fire to eliminate every living thing in and around the Holy Cave. After this He started narrating the secret of immortality to Parvati. But as a matter of chance one egg which was lying beneath the Deer skin remained protected. It is believed to be non-living and more over it was protected by Shiva-Parvati Asan (Bed). The pair of pigeons which were born out of this egg became immortal having listened the secret of immortality (Amar Katha).”

Spiritual Significance

It again signifies the importance of undisturbed state of mind at the time of meditation. Fire indicates the internally meditation generated spiritual fire or agni which burns all the negative thoughts and negative energies. The egg of the pigeon indicates that spiritual knowledge can transform at the level DNA. It also tells us that those who are sitting near the meditating persons also get benefitted.

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

What type of a vegetarian are you?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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There are 4 main types of vegetarian diets:

  • Lacto–ovo–vegetarian consumes dairy products and eggs but no meat, poultry, or seafood
  • Lacto–vegetarian eats dairy products but not eggs, meat, poultry, or seafood
  • Ovo–vegetarian eats eggs but no dairy products, meat, poultry, or seafood
  • Vegan does not eat any animal products, including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products; many vegans will also avoid honey.

Vegetarian and plant–based diets are associated with a reduced risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer as well as increased longevity. Vegetarian diets are typically lower in fat, particularly saturated fat, and higher in dietary fiber. They are also likely to include more whole grains, legumes, nuts, and soy protein, and together with the absence of red meat, this type of eating plan may provide many benefits for the prevention and treatment of obesity and chronic health problems, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Leverage your strengths

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. Know your strengths.
  2. According to a British study, only about one-third of people have a useful understanding of their strengths.
  3. If something comes easily, you may take it for granted and not identify it as a strength.
  4. If you are not sure, ask someone you respect who knows you well, by noticing what people compliment you on, and by thinking about what comes most easily to you.
  5. Strengths which most closely linked to happiness are gratitude, hope, vitality, curiosity, and love.
  6. Strengths are so important that they’re worth cultivating and applying in your daily life, even if they don’t come naturally to you.

Depression should be treated in patients with diabetes

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Presence of depression in diabetic patients is the most important factor leading to erectile dysfunction in them.

Depression instigates erectile dysfunction and erectile dysfunction perpetuates the symptoms of depression.

Diabetic patients who complained of erectile dysfunction in the study also had higher prevalence of high blood pressure and cholesterol abnormalities. These patients were also of older age with uncontrolled diabetes, history of smoking and longer duration of diabetes. It was also shown that patients who develop erectile dysfunction also had eye disorders, neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease.

Effective control of diabetes may reduce both depressive symptoms and erectile dysfunctions in such cases.

India is the diabetic capital of the world and both the incidence and prevalence of diabetes are increasing day by day. It is, therefore, important for the family physician to look for presence of depression in patients with diabetes.

Leverage your strengths

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. Know your strengths.
  2. According to a British study, only about one-third of people have a useful understanding of their strengths.
  3. If something comes easily, you may take it for granted and not identify it as a strength.
  4. If you are not sure, ask someone you respect who knows you well, by noticing what people compliment you on, and by thinking about what comes most easily to you.
  5. Strengths which most closely linked to happiness are gratitude, hope, vitality, curiosity, and love.
  6. Strengths are so important that they’re worth cultivating and applying in your daily life, even if they don’t come naturally to you.

Use less Salt

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Use spices and other flavor enhancers such as spices, dried and fresh herbs, garlic and ginger, citrus, vinegars and wine. Flavors can be black pepper, cinnamon and turmeric to fresh basil, chili peppers and lemon juice.
  • Use the right healthy fats from roasted nuts and avocados to olive, canola, soybean and other oils.
  • Searing and sautéing foods in a pan builds flavor. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of many vegetables and the taste of fish and chicken. If you do steam or microwave food, perk up these dishes with a finishing drizzle of flavorful oil and a squeeze of citrus.
  • Get your whole grains from sources other than bread. White bread contains salt, not just for flavor but to ensure that the dough rises properly.
  • Shop for raw ingredients with maximum natural flavor, thereby avoiding the need to add as much (if any) sodium.

(Source: Harvard)