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Dr K K Aggarwal

Reasons men die earlier than women

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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On an average, the lifespan is around 5 years greater for women than men in the United States, and 7 years longer worldwide. The composition of people aged 65 years and older is 57% female, and for 85+ it is 67% female.

Why does the ratio of men and women begin to tilt favorably towards women over time when the ratio is roughly equal in early adulthood?

Major reasons include:

  1. Judgment and consideration of consequences of actions are controlled by frontal lobe of the brain, which develops faster in women than men, contributing to fear of death due to violent events and adverse lifestyle decisions.
  2. Men tend to have riskier occupations like the army, construction, etc.
  3. 50% increased likelihood of heart disease related death in men, partly due to lower estrogen levels, and propensity to inadequately controlled blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  4. Men are larger than women; across all specimen, all larger species tend to die younger.
  5. Men are more likely to commit suicide despite women making more nonfatal suicide attempts. 6) Men tend to be less socially connected than women.
  6. Men avoid doctors and health screening more regularly than women.

Early on in life, Y chromosome develops mutations more often than X chromosome in men. Given the lack of a counterpart X chromosome in men, the X-linked abnormalities are not countered by an alternative normal version. Womb survival rates are also less reliable in male fetuses, as are developmental disorders.

All of this evidence possibly explains why longevity in men tends to be lower than female counterparts. As a fact of science, given the behavioral propensities listed, men should take note and change their behavior components to enhance longevity.

The vibrations of the ringing bell produce the auspicious primordial sound ‘Om’, thus creating a connection between the deity and the mind. As we start the daily ritualistic worship (pooja), we ring the bell, chanting:

Agamaarthamtu devaanaam

gamanaarthamtu rakshasaam

Kurve ghantaaravam tatra

devataahvaahna lakshanam

“I ring this bell indicating the invocation of divinity, so that virtuous and noble forces enter (my home and heart); And the demonic and evil forces from within and without, depart.”

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

All About Calcium Carbide

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Under PFA Section 44AA, the use of calcium carbide for artificial ripening of mangoes, apple, plum, banana is prohibited and can attract both imprisonment and fine.
  • Calcium carbide powder is usually kept wrapped in paper between the fruits e.g. unripe mangoes) in a basket or box.
  • Once the basket of mango is closed from the top, calcium carbide absorbs moisture and produces acetylene gas, which accelerates the ripening process of fruits.
  • The health hazards are related to the gastrointestinal tract, kidney, heart, liver and brain and in the long run, cancer.
  • One kg of calcium carbide is sufficient to ripe about 10 tons of fruit.
  • The fruit that has been artificially ripened with calcium carbide will be less tasty, have different aroma, will be uniform in color, have a shorter shelf-life and be overtly soft. There may be multicolored (red, yellow, green) patches on the skin of the mango.
  • Never eat off-season fruits, especially before time.
  • Rinse all fruits in running tap water for few minutes before use.

Man Vachan Kaya

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Man, Vachan, Kaya are the three fundamental principles used to define non-violence (ahimsa) and truthfulness (satya).

Being truthful means what you think, speak and do, are the same. You should be one in whatever you think, do or speak.

Ahimsa is the fundamental principle of Jainism, which means that you should be non-violent not only in your actions but also in your speech and thoughts. Being truthful makes you Satyugi. Only in certain circumstances, you may differ in your thinking, speech and actions. For example, you cannot tell a patient he is going to die in the next week. Here, your mind may be saying something, your speech and actions will be something else.

Any discordance in Man, Vachan and Kaya ends up with guilt and suppressed emotions, which later on can cause blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

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

12 Steps to tackle heartburn

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. Eat smaller meals, but more often.
  2. Eat in a slow, relaxed manner.
  3. Remain upright after meals.
  4. Avoid late night eating (last meal 3 hours before sleep).
  5. Don’t exercise immediately after meals.
  6. Tilt your torso with a bed wedge.
  7. Stay away from carbonated beverages.
  8. Find the foods that trigger your symptoms and avoid them (fatty foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, garlic, milk, coffee, tea, cola, peppermint, and chocolate).
  9. Chew sugarless gum after a meal which promotes salivation and neutralizes acid.
  10. Check your drugs that can loosen the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) or cause acid reflux or inflammation of the esophagus.
  11. Lose weight if you need to.
  12. Avoid hurry, worry and curry.

Honest people look at everybody as honest and dishonest people look at everybody as dishonest. It all depends on the type of people you interact with. If you do not take bribe, nobody will come and offer bribe to you and you will feel everybody is honest. If you take bribe, then everybody will come to you to offer bribe and you will feel that everybody in the society is dishonest.

Never judge people with you personal experience. I recall, one of the doctors said that every doctor takes and gives bribe because he was running an imaging centre and every doctor who approached him asked for a bribe. But he did not take into consideration the doctors who did not approach him.

Heart risks detected by age 7 in overweight kids

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Children at risk of future obesity should be examined for body mass index (BMI) rebound.

BMI rebound is the age at which BMI reaches its lowest point before increasing through later childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

An earlier BMI rebound age is associated with adverse risk factors for heart disease as measured at age 7: higher BMI, higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures, higher serum insulin and leptin levels, higher left ventricular mass and left atrial size.

Early BMI rebound age for children is lower than 4.4 years for boys and 4.2 years for girls. Normal values are 4.4 to 6.6 years for boys and 4.2 to 5.7 years for girls.

All children who start gaining weight between 3-4 years should be classified as a high risk for future diabetes and heart disease.

What is consciousness?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Energy is the raw material of the universe.
  • Information is the organization of energy into reproducible patterns.
  • Consciousness is living information and energy (living energized information).
  • Consciousness is, therefore, intelligence.
  • Intelligence is information and energy that has self-referral or the ability to learn through experiences and the ability to re-interpret and influence one’s own information and energy states.
  • Consciousness is live, advanced, software-driven energized information. A close example: Advanced computer software which can type, correct, interpret, edit and store spoken or read information.

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

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 adversity is an opportunity to learn or to do something different. Buddhism also talks 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.

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

Is microwave safe for cooking and nutrition?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Some people believe that microwave cooking removes nutrients and makes food less healthy.

Microwave ovens cook food using waves of energy that are similar to radio waves but shorter. These waves are remarkably selective, primarily affecting water and other molecules that are electrically asymmetrical — one end positively charged and the other negatively charged. Microwaves cause these molecules to vibrate and quickly build up thermal (heat) energy.

Some nutrients break down when they are exposed to heat, whether it is from a microwave or a regular oven. Vitamin C is perhaps the clearest example. But because microwave cooking times are shorter, cooking with a microwave does a better job of preserving vitamin C and other nutrients that break down when heated.

Cooking vegetables in water robs them of some of their nutritional value because the nutrients leach out into the cooking water. For example, boiled broccoli loses glucosinolate, the sulfur-containing compound that may give the vegetable its cancer-fighting properties (as well as the taste that many find distinctive and some find disgusting). Is steaming vegetables better? In some respects, yes. For example, steamed broccoli holds on to more glucosinolate than boiled or fried broccoli.

The cooking method that best retains nutrients is one that cooks quickly, heats food for the shortest amount of time, and uses as little liquid as possible. Microwaving meets those criteria. Using the microwave with a small amount of water essentially steams food from the inside out. That keeps more vitamins and minerals than almost any other cooking method. (Harvard News Letter)

Wahans (Vehicles) in Mythology

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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In mythology, the negative tendency of a man is symbolized with the animal nature. Gods in Indian mythology are symbolized as living a positive behavior. Every God has been given a vehicle or Wahan. Both God and the Wahan symbolize how to live a positive life and how to control the animal tendencies. Following are a few examples:

  1. Lord Ganesha rides a mouse. Mouse in mythology is symbolized with greed and Ganesha as the one who removes obstacles. The spiritual meaning behind both is – one should learn to control greed to tackle obstacles in life.
  2. Lord Shiva rides Nandi. The bull symbolizes uncontrolled sexual desires and the duo signifies that to learn meditation, one needs to control sexual desires first.
  3. Saraswati (the goddess of knowledge) sitting on a swan symbolizes that to acquire knowledge one must learn the power of discrimination or vivek. A swan can drink milk and leave water from a mixture of milk and water.
  4. Indra (the one who has complete control over the intellect) riding on the elephant Airavat symbolizes that for its development, the intellect (Indra) requires control over masti and madness (elephant).
  5. Durga (the perfect woman) riding a lion symbolizes that to become a perfect woman, she must learn to control agitation or aggression (lion).
  6. Lakshmi (wealth) riding an owl symbolizes that to earn righteously, one must learn to control owl-like properties within us, which is not to be fooled.
  7. Lord Vishnu (the doer) riding the eagle or garuda (Eagles are opportunistic predators, which means, they eat almost anything they can find) means controlling your desires to eat an unbalanced diet.
  8. Krishna riding five horses means one needs to control our five senses.
  9. Kartikeya riding a peacock symbolizes that one should learn to control one’s pride (vanity) or ego.
  10. The vehicle of Goddess Kali is a black goat. Agni rides Mesha, a ram. Kubera, the god of wealth, also has a ram as his vehicle. A ram is an uncastrated adult male sheep. Goat also signifies uncontrolled sexual desires but lesser than the bull.
  11. Yamraj rides a buffalo, which is known for its rampant destruction. Lord Yama or Yamraj is referred to as the God of death, lord of justice, Dharma Raja. One can do justice only if one has control over anger and aggressive behavior.

In mythology, apart from Wahans, animals are also shown to be sacrificed, which means to kill the animal tendency within ourselves. In Kali Pooja, a buffalo is sacrificed, which again means that in extreme situations, you may need to kill your ego or anger.

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

Harvard Medical School’s 4 exercising tips for people with diabetes

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Get a “preflight” check

  • Talk with your doctor before you start or change a fitness routine, especially if you are overweight or have a history of heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, or diabetic neuropathy.
  • A complete physical exam and an exercise stress test are needed for people who are 35 or older and who have had diabetes for more than 10 years. The results can help determine the safest way for you to increase physical activity.

Spread your activity throughout the week

  • Adults should aim for a weekly total of at least 160 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, or 80 minutes of vigorous activity, or an equivalent mix of the two.
  • Be active at least 3 to 5 days a week.

Time your exercise wisely

  • The best time to exercise is 1 to 3 hours after eating, when your blood sugar level is likely to be higher.
  • If you use insulin, it’s important to test your blood sugar before exercising. If it is below 100 mg/dL, eat a piece of fruit or have a small snack to boost it and help avoid hypoglycemia. Test again 30 minutes later to see if your blood sugar level is stable.
  • Check your blood sugar after any particularly grueling workout or activity.
  • If you use insulin, your risk of developing hypoglycemia may be highest 6 to 12 hours after exercising.
  • Do not exercise if your blood sugar is too high (over 250).

Be prepared

  • Should you experience a medical problem while exercising (or at any time), it is important that the people who care for you know that you have diabetes.
  • Keep hard candy or glucose tablets with you while exercising in case your blood sugar takes a sudden nosedive.

Vaishakha Purnima

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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All Purnima Tithis are considered auspicious in India. Vaishakha Purnima, Magh Purnima and Kartik Purnima are considered important as during these months one goes for shahi snana ( holyu bath) in Sun every day and covers the annual quota for Vitamin D. The consumption of Til during these days supplies the required calcium.

Buddha Jayanti falls on Vaishakha Purnima day. Gautam Buddha gained enlightenment at Bodhgaya under a pipal tree on Vaishakh Purnima and on the same day he attained Nirvana at Kushinagar.

People worship Lord Satyanarayana and observe Satyanarayana fasting on Purnima day. On this day of fast one is supposed to have oneness in spoken language, thoughts and actions.

  1. Purnima is the day with high tides in the ocean
  2. The body retains water during this day
  3. On Ikadashi, people often observe water fast to neutralize the water retention during Purnima
  4. Vaishak Purnima, is a special day for sun bath with Shreyat and Krishna til containing water.
  5. According to the Bhavishya Purana, Lord Vishnu took is worshipped in turtle form on Vaishakha Purnima.
  6. Turtle signifies withdrawal of senses. The fast on this day involves not speaking lie and withdrawing all sensual pleasures
  7. This is considered rare and an extraordinary event. That is why Buddha Purnima is celebrated on Vaishakh Purnima every year.
  8. Vaishakh Month is considered to be the ideal month to perform charity, homas, fasts etc.
  9. Mantra: Om Namo Bhagvate Vasudevaya Namah.
  10. Providing a thirsty person with water on this day is equivalent to performing a Rajsun Yagya.

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

Forgetfulness – 7 types of normal memory problems

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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It’s normal to forget things from time to time, and it’s normal to become somewhat more forgetful as you age. But how much forgetfulness is too much? How can you tell whether your memory lapses are within the scope of normal aging or are a symptom of something more serious? Healthy people can experience memory loss or memory distortion at any age. Some of these memory flaws become more pronounced with age, but — unless they are extreme and persistent — they are not considered indicators of Alzheimer’s or other memory-impairing illnesses.

Seven normal memory problems:

  1. Transience: This is the tendency to forget facts or events over time. You are most likely to forget information soon after you learn it. However, memory has a use–it–or–lose–it quality: memories that are called up and used frequently are least likely to be forgotten. Although transience might seem like a sign of memory weakness, brain scientists regard it as beneficial because it clears the brain of unused memories, making way for newer, more useful ones.
  2. Absentmindedness: This type of forgetting occurs when you don’t pay close enough attention. You forget where you just put your pen because you didn’t focus on where you put it in the first place. You were thinking of something else (or, perhaps, nothing in particular), so your brain didn’t encode the information securely. Absentmindedness also involves forgetting to do something at a prescribed time, like taking your medicine or keeping an appointment.
  3. Blocking: Someone asks you a question and the answer is right on the tip of your tongue — you know that you know it, but you just can’t think of it. This is perhaps the most familiar example of blocking, the temporary inability to retrieve a memory. In many cases, the barrier is a memory similar to the one you’re looking for, and you retrieve the wrong one. This competing memory is so intrusive that you can’t think of the memory you want. Scientists think that memory blocks become more common with age and that they account for the trouble older people have remembering other people’s names. Research shows that people are able to retrieve about half of the blocked memories within just a minute.
  4. Misattribution: Misattribution occurs when you remember something accurately in part, but misattribute some detail, like the time, place, or person involved. Another kind of misattribution occurs when you believe a thought you had was totally original when, in fact, it came from something you had previously read or heard but had forgotten about. This sort of misattribution explains cases of unintentional plagiarism, in which a writer passes off some information as original when he or she actually read it somewhere before. As with several other kinds of memory lapses, misattribution becomes more common with age. As you age, you absorb fewer details when acquiring information because you have somewhat more trouble concentrating and processing information rapidly. And as you grow older, your memories grow older as well. And old memories are especially prone to misattribution.
  5. Suggestibility: Suggestibility is the vulnerability of your memory to the power of suggestion — information that you learn about an occurrence after the fact becomes incorporated into your memory of the incident, even though you did not experience these details. Although little is known about exactly how suggestibility works in the brain, the suggestion fools your mind into thinking it’s a real memory.
  6. Bias: Even the sharpest memory isn’t a flawless snapshot of reality. In your memory, your perceptions are filtered by your personal biases — experiences, beliefs, prior knowledge, and even your mood at the moment. Your biases affect your perceptions and experiences when they’re being encoded in your brain. And when you retrieve a memory, your mood and other biases at that moment can influence what information you actually recall. Although everyone’s attitudes and preconceived notions bias their memories, there’s been virtually no research on the brain mechanisms behind memory bias or whether it becomes more common with age.
  7. Persistence: Most people worry about forgetting things. But in some cases people are tormented by memories they wish they could forget, but can’t. The persistence of memories of traumatic events, negative feelings, and ongoing fears is another form of memory problem. Some of these memories accurately reflect horrifying events, while others may be negative distortions of reality. People suffering from depression are particularly prone to having persistent, disturbing memories. So are people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can result from many different forms of traumatic exposures, for example, sexual abuse or wartime experiences. Flashbacks, which are persistent, intrusive memories of the traumatic event, are a core feature of PTSD.

(Source: HealthBeat)