Sub Logo

Dr K K Aggarwal

ECG not a reliable marker for predicting heart disease

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Wellness | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on ECG not a reliable marker for predicting heart disease

Doing an ECG is of little use in predicting future heart problems for people who are examined because of chest pain.

Chest pain is the most common reason people seek medical attention for possible heart trouble, and an ECG is a common test for such people. ECG can be normal in the first six hours even in frank heart attacks. Missing the diagnosis of heart attack on ECG is the commonest mistake done in the emergency rooms.

The classical history and physical findings still remain the most important parameters.

  • Chest pain, which can be pinpointed by a finger, is not a heart pain.
  • Pain lasting less than 30 seconds is not a heart pain.
  • Heart pain is diffuse pain in the center of the chest lasting more than minutes and manifesting as heaviness, burning, discomfort, heaviness or pain often precipitated by physical or mental exertion.

Do an exercise stress test when in doubt; if negative, these patients should be reassessed for risk factors.

If the patient is at high risk, then even with negative treadmill, he/she should undergo risk reduction management for prevention of future heart attacks.

High risk patients are smokers, those with presence of high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes.

How long can one fast?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , , | | Comments Off on How long can one fast?

As per Allopathy, one cannot live without air or oxygen for more than 3 minutes, without water for more than three days and without food for more than 3 weeks.

According to the Chandogya Upanishad, food is responsible for the making of motor organs (Karmaindriyas), sensory organs, Manas (mind, intellect, memory and ego) and Prana.

The fiery foods are responsible for making the motor indriyas, earthy foods for sensory indriyas and manas and water for making Prana Vayu.

Therefore, it is possible for a person to live on water for up to few weeks because he will keep making Prana and keep breathing but absence of food on 14th day onward will start affecting his Gnanaindriyas and Manas. The person will start losing power of hearing, touching and sensing and will start showing impairment in mental status, memory, intellect functions and egoistic behavior.

Five cholesterol- friendly foods

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Wellness | Tagged With: , | | Comments Off on Five cholesterol- friendly foods

  1. Oats: It gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber.
  2. Beans: They are rich in soluble fiber. It also takes a while for the body to digest them.
  3. Nuts: Eating 2 ounces of nuts a day can slightly lower LDL, on the order of 5%.
  4. Foods fortified with sterols and stanols: They gum up the bodys ability to absorb cholesterol from food. Getting 2 grams of plant sterols or stanols a day can lower LDL cholesterol by about 10%.
  5. Fatty fish: Eating fish two or three times a week can lower LDL.

The Spiritual Meaning of Lord Shiva

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , | | Comments Off on The Spiritual Meaning of Lord Shiva

Most of us worship Lord Shiva without understanding the deeper meaning behind him. In Hindu mythology, Shiva is one of the three forms of God (Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh).

The Parmatama or spirit or GOD can be equated to a mixture of three forces representing Generator, (Creator or Brahma); Organizer; (Maintainer or Vishnu); Destroyer (Winding up or Mahesh or Shiva). The same three forces are also present inside our body to perform any work, which can be linked to create or generate an idea, maintain or organize the contents of the idea, and then destroy or wind up so that new work can be undertaken through Ganesha – the Lord of new happenings.

For day to day life, one has to understand and implement the principles of Lord Shiva, which can be known by understanding the meaning of Shiva.

Shiva is worshipped in the sitting meditating pose, sitting on a deer’s skin atop the white Himalaya in the background of a blue sky. Shiva is also depicted as smeared with the ash of graveyard, having a snake around neck, Ganga emerging from his matted hair, three eyes, blue neck, trishul in one hand and damru in his other hand.

All these symbolic representations have a deep spiritual meaning and tell us about Shiva’s principles of success.

Shiva’s third eye means thinking differently or using the eyes of our mind and the soul. The message is, whenever you are in difficulty, use your intelligence and wisdom or think differently for getting different options. The third eye opening also represents the vanishing of ignorance (darkness or pralaya).

Shiva sitting in an open-eye meditating pose indicates that in day to day life, one should be calm as if you are in the meditation pose. Calmness in day to day practice helps in achieving better results. In allopathic language, it is equivalent to mindfulness living.

The snake around the neck represents one’s ego. One should keep the ego out and control it and not let it overpower you. The downward posture of the head of the snake represents that ego should be directed towards the consciousness and not outwards.

The blue neck (Neelkanth) represents that one should neither take the negative emotions out nor suppress them but alter or modify them. The blue color indicates negative thoughts.

The same in the neck indicates that negative slow emotions akin to negative emotions are neither to be drunk nor to be spit out but to be held on to temporarily and with continuous efforts (matted hairs) with cool mind (moon) and with positive thoughts (Ganga), should be directed towards the consciousness, keeping the ego directed towards it (sheshnag).

Suppressed anger or any other negative emotions will release chemicals in the body causing acidity, asthma, angina and diarrhea. Expressed anger on the other hand may result in social unhealthiness.

The ash on the skin of the body of Shiva reminds that everything in the universe is perishable and nothing is going to remain with the person. The message is that ‘you have come in this world without anything and will go back without anything, then why worry’.

The Trishul in one hand represents control of three factors, i.e. mind, intellect and ego. It also represents controlling your three mental gunas, i.e. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. The damru, the hollow structure, represents taking all your ego and desires out of the body.

The blue sky represents vastness and openness and the white mountains represents purity and truthfulness.

If one adapts to Shiva’s principles in day to day life, one will find no obstacles both in his routine life as well as to one’s spiritual journey.

It is customary to fast on Shivaratri day. The fast does not just indicate not eating on that day, but its deeper meaning signifies fasting of all bad things in life like – “seeing no evil, hearing no evil and speaking no evil”. Fasting also indicates controlling the desires for eating foods (like fermented, sweet, sour and salt) and control the negative thoughts both in the mind, deed as well as in actions.

Even the elderly should exercise

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Wellness | Tagged With: , | | Comments Off on Even the elderly should exercise

Research has found that older runners live longer and suffer fewer disabilities than healthy non–runners. This observation applies to a variety of aerobic exercises, including walking.

A study by authors, from Stanford University School of Medicine, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine has shown that being active reduces disability and increases survival.

There are benefits of vigorous activity late in life. Earlier many experts believed that vigorous exercise would actually harm older individuals. And running, in particular, would result in an epidemic of joint and bone injuries. But this new study proves otherwise.

Two hundred and eighty–four runners and 156 healthy “controls,” or non–runners, in California completed annual questionnaires over a 21–year period. The participants were 50 years old or over at the beginning of the study and ran an average of about four hours a week. By the end of the study period, the participants were in their 70s or 80s or older and ran about 76 minutes a week. At 19 years, just 15 percent of the runners had died, compared with 34 percent of the non–runners.

In the study, running delayed the onset of disability by an average of 16 years. It’s so important to be physically active your whole life, not just in your 20s or 40s, but forever.

Exercise is like the most potent drug. Exercise is by far the best thing you can do.

One should take lessons from Yudhishthir in Mahabharata who walked till his death. However a word of caution, if an elderly person is walking or entering into an exercise program, he or she should have a cardiac evaluation done to rule out underlying heart blockages.

Search for happiness in the present moment

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , , | | Comments Off on Search for happiness in the present moment

Happiness should not be considered as being synonymous with pleasure. Pleasure is transient and is always associated with pain later on. Any transient addiction to any of the five senses will either lead to pleasure or pain. Pleasure leads to attachment resulting in more intense and greater desires, and if these are not fulfilled, they cause pain, which manifests as anger, irritability or even a physical disease. This type of transient pleasure is chosen by the individuals who attach themselves not only to the actions, but also to its results.

The soul, which is an energized field of information and energy, is controlled by the person’s action, memory and desire. With every action, a memory is created which either gets stored or is recirculated again as an action. If one does not control the desires, the recurrent actions may cause more problems than happiness.

True happiness, on the other hand, is internal happiness or the happiness of the soul or of the consciousness. It is often said, “You are what you eat, you are what you think and you are what you do.” Hence, your own internal happiness will vary with what you eat, think, and do.

Being in the present moment leads to true happiness. If one laments about the past or keeps fearing about the future all the time, you will never be able to live in the present. Not living in the present is bound to cause unhappiness. One should learn to live and enjoy the present, which can only be done by attaching oneself to the actions and not to its results.

Doing one’s duty with devotion and discipline also helps one to remain in the present. Performing good action is important, but it is equally important to maintain the purity of the mind at the same time. Because any intention in the thought creates the same chemical reaction as when the actual deed is done, abusing a person in thought is the same as abusing him in person. Cultivating positive actions in day–to–day life, like, giving or sharing etc., helps in acquiring internal happiness.

Thoughts ultimately get metabolized into various chemicals and hormones changing the internal biochemistry of the person; hence, by thinking about cancer all the time, one can actually induce it over a period of time. And similarly, cancers can be cured by thinking positive over a period of time.

Internal happiness gives a deep feeling of satisfaction and is not associated with any transient chemical changes which are generally associated with bodily pleasure activities. People who are internally happy are always contented and are devoid of jealousy, anger, irritability, greed and ego.

One should learn to disassociate from, both, external pain as well as pleasure, and only then can one acquire true internal happiness

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

Do not replace saturated fat with refined carbohydrates

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Wellness | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on Do not replace saturated fat with refined carbohydrates

It is wrong to say eat less fat; the real message should be eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.

While advocating low-fat diets, it is easier for patients to understand the advice given in terms of foods, e.g., “Eat more fresh fruit” rather than nutrients, or “Reduce your intake of fat to less than 30% of your total energy intake.”

The message to reduce fat has been translated by food manufacturers and consumers into a potentially harmful set of food choices.

Instead of replacing high-fat foods with naturally low-fat foods with other benefits, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grain foods, consumers have often increased their consumption of low-fat or “fat-free” varieties of naturally high-fat foods, such as fat-free snack or junk foods.

The result is an increase in refined carbohydrates which lowers good HDL cholesterol concentrations with a possible increase in the incidence of type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Spiritual Prescription: Yoga Nidra

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on Spiritual Prescription: Yoga Nidra

Many people in the East and the West are attracted to yogic practices, for they think they can find a solution to every problem therein, be it physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. Hence, much importance is attached to relaxation techniques that one thinks might help a person in easing the tension caused due to chronic stressful lifestyle. Yoga Nidra is one such wonderful technique, not only for physical or mental relaxation but also to prepare the mind for spiritual discipline. It concerns mainly with pratyahara (withdrawing senses from sense-objects) and dharana (concentration).

It is to be understood that ordinary sleep is not complete relaxation, for tension and stress cannot always be resolved completely in ordinary sleep. Yoga Nidra is qualitatively different relaxation. It is a ‘sleep’ where all the burdens are thrown off to attain a more blissful state of awareness, and hence it is a relaxation much more intense than ordinary sleep.

As Swami Satyananda Saraswati (Preface to “Yoga Nidra”, 1982, Bihar School of Yoga, Monghyr, Bihar, India) says: ‘When awareness is separate and distinct from vrittis – mental modifications, when waking, dreaming and deep sleep pass like clouds, yet awareness of Atman remains, that is the experience of total relaxation. That is why, in Tantra, Yoga Nidra is said to be the doorway to samadhi!’

Utility

Yoga Nidra helps in restoring mental, emotional, and physical health by way of relaxation, and makes the mind more conducive to pratyahara – (withdrawing senses from their objects), dharana – (concentration), and meditation. Such a practice helps to harmonize two hemispheres of the brain and the two aspects of autonomous nervous system viz. sympathetic and parasympathetic. The impressions in the subconscious are brought to the surface, experienced and removed. Thus, the fixation of awareness to the body is replaced with the awareness linked to subtler aspects of Prana and spiritual dimensions.

Bystander CPR better when more people help

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Wellness | Tagged With: , , , | | Comments Off on Bystander CPR better when more people help

Patients entering cardiac arrest are more likely to receive good quality bystander-initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation if multiple people assist.

Among cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, CPR quality is associated with multiple rescuers initiating bystander CPR, being in a central or urban setting, and receipt of bystander-initiated CPR and longer duration of resuscitation, as per Dr Hideo Inaba, at Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan in the journal Resuscitation.

Good quality bystander CPR is less commonly performed by a family member, by older bystanders and in home environments.

The key to survival and positive neurological outcomes for those experiencing an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is the initiation of bystander CPR. This CPR should be performed with chest compressions only, without mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Good quality means: Appropriate hand positions or finger positions for infants, compression rate of at least 100 per minute, compression depth of at least 2 inches or at least one third of the anterior-posterior diameter of the chest.

Time to arrest or recognition of arrest to initiation of CPR is significantly shorter among those who provide good quality CPR (median 3 minutes versus 4 minutes).

The very purpose of life is to face sufferings

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , | | Comments Off on The very purpose of life is to face sufferings

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, then 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.

The four notable principles of Buddha 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 Friday night. He tried his level best and wanted to get admitted in the hospital for the weekend so that he could get 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.

Don’t start if you do not drink; if you cannot stop, limit your intake

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Wellness | Tagged With: , , , | | Comments Off on Don’t start if you do not drink; if you cannot stop, limit your intake

  • The definition of a standard drink differs in countries: US = 14–15 gm alcohol equivalent to 12 oz beer, 5 oz wine and 1.5 oz 80 proof liquor; UK 8 gm alcohol, Japan 19.75 gm alcohol and India 10 gm alcohol
  • A standard drink usually means a US drink.
  • Alcohol contents: Beer 5%; Malt liquor 7%; Table wine 12%; Fortified wine (sherry, port) 17%; Cordial liquor (aperitif) 24%; Brandy (single jigger) 40% and 80 proof gin, Vodka, whisky 40%
  • 10 ml of alcohol (hard liquor) = 0.8 gm of alcohol; 1 oz = 30 ml; 12 oz of beer = 360 ml of beer (360×5% = 18 ml of alcohol = 14.4 gm of alcohol); 18 oz of beer = 8 to 9 oz of malt liquor = 5 oz of table wine = 3–4 oz of 45 wine = 2–3 oz of cordial liquor=1.5 oz of brandy=1.5 oz hard liquor
  • Binge drinking means 4 or more drinks at one time (women) or 5 or more at one time (men)
  • Heavy drinking means more than 7 drinks per week or 3 drinks per occasion (women) or more than 14 drinks per week or 4 drinks per occasion (men).
  • Moderate drinking means less than 2 drinks per day (women) and less than 3 drinks per day (men) and for people aged more than 65, less than two drinks per day
  • Safe limits: No level of alcohol compensation can be 100% safe for some people.
  • Contraindications: Pregnancy, present or strong family history of alcoholism, previous paralysis because of brain hemorrhage, liver disease, pancreas disease, running potentially dangerous equipment or machinery
  • Limit alcohol in acute gastritis, esophagitis, strong family history of breast cancer and precancerous gastrointestinal lesions.
  • Ideal dose of alcohol = 6 gm per day
  • 10–15gm of ethanol is found in one glass of wine, one can or bottle of beer or one mixed drink.
  • One should not take more than 2 drinks (for men) and 2 drink daily (for women).
  • Men under the age of 45 may experience more harm than benefit from alcohol consumption.
  • Alcohol benefits for the heart are only in 45+ people

The Science behind Training and Development

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on The Science behind Training and Development

Training in any field requires gaining knowledge, skills and positive mental attitude towards the object of learning.

Knowledge is everything about what and why. In Yoga, it correlates with the Gyan (Gnana) Marg. Skill is all about how to do it and correlates with Karma Marg.

The positive mental attitude is linked to willingness to do any work or in other words one’s Astha in that action. In Yoga, it is synonymous with Bhakti Marg.

In Bhagwad Gita, Lord Krishna talks about all the principles of management including how to train and develop an individual.

Development teaches and increases one’s intelligence quotient (IQ), physical quotient (PQ), emotional quotient (EQ) and moral quotient (MQ).

Normal Aging Changes

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Wellness | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on Normal Aging Changes

  • Heart rate shows less variability.
  • There is altered circadian pattern (24–hour cycle of the body).
  • There is a delayed response of bone marrow to loss of blood or hypoxia (reduced oxygen).
  • The function of the white blood cells is impaired.
  • Advancing age is a procoagulant stage. This means that the blood gets clotted easily.
  • Reflux of the stomach acid in the food pipe is common.
  • Tendency to constipation is common.
  • Painkillers can quite easily cause ulcers in the stomach.
  • Renal functions decline with age.
  • Older kidney is more prone to be damaged with painkillers.
  • Calcification of heart valves may occur.
  • The maximum heart rate may not reach the level as that in the young age in response to exercise.
  • About one–third of the lung volume may be lost.
  • Aging slows the rate of fracture repair.
  • Skin may become atrophic (thin) and elasticity is reduced.
  • A person may not be able to read small print.
  • There may be impaired speech recognition in noisy environment.
  • There may be loss of taste and smell.
  • There may be high frequency hearing loss.
  • Immunity may be reduced.
  • With age, one is more prone to get urinary tract infection.
  • With age, ejaculation may get impaired.

Vedic principles behind cognitive behavior therapy

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , | | Comments Off on Vedic principles behind cognitive behavior therapy

1) What is counseling?

A: The mental process involves generation of a thought or idea, which is analyzed and then acted upon. Thought, analysis and action, therefore, are the primary three processes of human mind. Counseling involves actions at all three levels.

2) What are different types of counseling?

A: Counseling involves basically two principles – Cognitive counseling and behavioral counseling. Behavioral, when the concentration is only on the actions, and cognitive, when the concentration is on the changes in either the thought process or in the interpretation of the thought process.

3) What is cognitive behavior therapy?

A: As against a pure behavior therapy where a person is counseled to do pre-defined things on regular intervals, cognitive behavior therapy involves changing the actions by changing observations of the interpretation of a particular situation.

4) What is the origin of counseling in India?

A: The origin of counseling goes back to Vedic era. Upanishads were basically text books on counseling based on the original knowledge of Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samveda and Atharvaveda.

5) Is there a relationship of Bhagavad Gita with counseling?

A: Bhagavad Gita is counseling done by Krishna to resolve the conflict in Arjuna’s mind whether to fight or not. At that time, there were no doctors and hence counseling was done by the elders in the family.

6) Are the principles of Bhagavad Gita followed today?

A: All the principles of cognitive behavior therapy today are basically principles that have originated from Bhagavad Gita.

7) What is the first principle?

A: The first principle is that “counseling cannot be done in 1 or 2 sessions.” It requires up to 18 sessions which is what Krishna did in Bhagavad Gita. Bhagavad Gita contains 702 dialogues in the form of Shlokas. Therefore, a proper counseling involves in-depth conversation between the counselor and the patient.

8) What is the second principle of counseling?

A: The second principle of counseling is to listen to the patient in the first session in great detail and this is what Krishna did in Bhagavad Gita. In Chapter 1, only Arjuna speaks and Krishna does not utter a word. A patient listening is half the healing done.

9) What is the third principle?

A: As per the third principle, the second (first interactive) session between counselor and the patient should be the longest one. Chapter 2 of Bhagavad Gita is the gist of Krishna’s counseling.

10) What is the fourth principle?

A: The fourth principle is that after giving a detailed counseling in the second session, it is expected that the patient will be confused. This is what happens in the start of Chapter 3 where Arjuna says to Krishna “I am confused. Sometimes you are talking about one path and at other times you are talking about another path. Guide me again.” The third counseling session therefore, is the most important where one has to counsel slowly and in great detail.

11) What is the fifth principle?

A: The next principle is to give reasoning to the counseling. One should not take the patient for granted. Krishna discusses each and every aspect of life with Arjuna in great detail giving scientific reasoning at every stage.

12) What is the sixth principle?

A: Reassure the patient again and again. During his counseling, Krishna assures Arjuna on multiple occasions that you do your job and do not worry. I am with you.

13) What is the seventh principle?

A: The seventh principle involves creating some fear in the patient’s mind. This is what Krishna does while showing his virat swaroop. This especially works in patients of addiction. Some degree of fear with re-assurance from the counselor always works.

14) What is the eighth principle?

A: The summing up counseling session should be as long as the second session. The Chapter 18 of Bhagavad Gita is as big as Chapter 2 where the whole Bhagavad Gita is summarized again.

15) What are the ingredients of counseling?

A: Counseling basically involves in-depth knowledge of dharma, artha, kama and moksha. They are greatly described in Dharmashastra, Arthashastra, Kamasutra and Upanishads through various Vedas.

16) What is stress?

A: Stress is the reaction of the body or the mind to the interpretation of any situation.

17) How can stress be managed?

A: Stress can be managed by either changing the response of the body through yogic living, or changing the interpretation by understanding the principles of counseling or changing the reaction by wilful actions.

18) Are different nitis of our scriptures based on counseling?

A: Yes. Vidur Niti was the counseling given by Vidur to Dhritarashtra when he was not sleeping and Chanakya Niti was based on how to rule a country. Yoga Vashishtha was the counseling given by Vashishtha to Rama to acquire higher levels of spiritual knowledge.

Tips for preventing back and spine problems

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Wellness | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on Tips for preventing back and spine problems

  • Get moving. Physical activity helps in keeping the joints fluid. A person who is not physically active is more susceptible to back problems.
  • Eat healthy. If you maintain good eating habits, you not only will maintain a healthy weight, but you also will not put unnecessary stress on your body.
  • Sleep sideways. The best position for sleeping is on your side. If you are sleeping on your stomach, put a pillow under your lower abdomen to help take stress off your back.
  • Correct your posture and avoid stress. The importance of good posture cannot be overlooked in preventing back problems. Additionally, stress can tense your muscles, and constant tension of this kind can cause back pain. Thus, it is important to find ways to reduce stress.