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Dr K K Aggarwal

An analysis from the large international PURE trial reopened the debate over the link between sodium and blood pressure. Presenting PURE SODIUM at the European Society of Cardiology 2013 Congress, Dr Andrew Mente (McMaster University, Hamilton, ON) and colleagues said that only certain subgroups will actually experience blood pressure benefits from restricting their sodium consumption.

Ayurveda has been talking about it for some time. People with Kapha personality and pitta personality will benefit and not those with vata personality.

Confession is one of the many ways of detoxifying the mind. It has its roots in Hindu mythology but today it is mainly practiced in Christian religion as a hardcore ritual. Among Christians one usually goes to a Church and confesses to the Bishop without disclosing his or her identity.

In Hindu mythology, confession is a routine spiritual practice. People can confess to their Guru, to their God in the temple or their mentor. Confession can also be done to a plant (Peepal tree), an animal (dog or a cat) or birds. It is a common saying that taking a dip in Yamuna or Ganga removes all your sins. The dip in water involves a ritual of confessing guilt every time we make a dip.

Giving food to birds is also a way of confession where with each offering one does a confession. The easiest way to confess is 3 minutes of free writing, which can be done every night. One can tear off the paper after writing. This involves writing from the heart and not giving time to the mind to think.

Earlier people used to confess and de–stress their emotions by writing in a diary or making a folder in the computer and writing.

However, the best confession is to meditate, which is equivalent to reformatting the hard disk and removing viruses and corrupt files from our body computer. Meditating with intent to get rid of guilt washes them over a period of time.

Confession involves the process of forgiving and forgetting. Forgiving is at the level of mind and forgetting is at the level of heart.

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

How to make bones strong

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Everyone builds bone up to the age of 30, and then, the process of bone resorption begins. It is, therefore, important for children to build strong bones so that they are not susceptible to fractures when they grow old. Here are some tips:

  • For maximizing big bone mass during the bone forming years, one should live a healthy lifestyle, which includes adequate calcium intake, adequate vitamin D intake, optimal physical activity and avoidance of smoking and alcohol.
  • To prevent subsequent bone loss in adults, one should adopt a similar approach, which includes regular weight-bearing exercise, avoidance of oversmoking and limitation of alcohol to an average of not more than 2 drinks per day.
  • Cigarette smoking is associated with reduced bone mass and increased risk of fractures.
  • Calcium supplements are recommended. The recommended daily intake of calcium for post menopausal females is 1200 mg daily (double diet + supplements).
  • Vitamin D supplementation is recommended if dietary intake is inadequate. In India, the recommendation is 2000 units per day.
  • It is recommended that 40% of the body should be exposed to sunlight uninterrupted for 40 minutes for 40 days in a year so that the body can form adequate vitamin D.
  • Regarding weight-bearing exercises, the general recommendation is a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity such brisk walking on most, if not all, days of the week.
  • Heavy alcohol intake predisposes to hip fractures due to osteoporosis.
  • Heavy drinking means more than 14 drinks in a week. One drink is equivalent to 30 ml of whiskey.
  • Many drugs, including steroids and antiepileptic drugs, can cause bone thinning over a period of time.

For spirituality, one needs to control two things, first, lust and then the ego. Among, Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha and Ahankara, ego and lust both are slow poisons and do not allow one to be spiritually healthy. There are many examples of how to control ego in mythology. Fundamentally, it is said that one should learn to kill ego of oneself and never hurt the ego of others.

Ego in Ramayana is equated to Ravana and in Krishna’s era to Kans. One should learn to kill the ego. In Ramayana, Kumbhkarana is Tamas killed by the self, i.e. Rama, Meghnad is Rajas and is killed by the mind, i.e. Lakshman, and ego, the Ravana, is killed again by self, i.e. Rama. In Krishna’s Yuga, Kansa is killed by consciousness or Lord Krishna.

Mythology also teaches us to keep our ego under control.

  • The door of any temple is always low in height so that nobody can enter without bending. Bending is sign of humility. Most temples have caves, which have the same significance. Older the temple longer will be the cave and smaller will be the entry gate.
  • Ego in mythology is depicted by Sheshnaaga with its hood directed inwards indicating keeping your ego under control. The Sheshnaaga over Vishnu, when he is resting, indicates the same. In Krishna’s birth also, the snake represents controlled ego and protects Krishna when Vasudev takes him out in the rain.
  • Lord Shiva is also shown wearing a snake on his neck with hood directed inwards. Shiva is also said to have a blue neck or Neelkanth indicating that to control anger one should neutralize the anger continuously (matted hairs) with cool mind (Moon) using positive flow of thoughts (ganga) with ego controlled (naag).
  • In Hanuman ki Lanka Yatra, Sursa snake is handled by Hanuman with humility. Sursa, the ego, went on increasing in size when Hanuman increased his size.
  • No Hindu marriage is complete without Varmala, which again indicates the need to bow in front of each other.

Smoking makes you 5 years older

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Men have a greater chance of dying than women, and smoking increases any adults risk of death just as if five years were suddenly added to their age.
  • For men who have never smoked, heart disease presents their greatest risk for death at any age, exceeding the odds of dying from lung, colon and prostate cancer combined.
  • Male smokers face a lung cancer risk that is greater than the odds of heart disease taking their lives after age 60, and is 10-fold higher than the chance of dying from prostate and colon cancer combined.
  • The chances of dying from heart disease and breast cancer are similar for nonsmoking women until age 60, when heart disease becomes a greater risk.
  • For female smokers, dying from lung cancer or heart disease is more likely than dying from breast cancer after age 40.

Music therapy can ameliorate physical and emotional distress. It can improve distress caused by pain, decrease muscle tension and promote relaxation, decrease anxiety, improve chemotherapy-related nausea and emesis, and improve overall mood [1,2], help manage postoperative nausea and vomiting [3] and reduce pain intensity levels and opioid requirements [4,5].

Music has significant effect on anxiety, perception of hospitalization or procedure, relaxation and stress levels in brain tumor patients undergoing surgery [6,7].

Music therapy in treatment areas and hospital rooms may help to improve mood and decrease anxiety in cancer patients.

References

  1. J Adv Nurs. 2006;54:553.
  2. Music Ther Perspect. 1992;9:91.
  3. West J Nurs Res. 1989;11:298.
  4. J Adv Nurs. 1999;29:1130.
  5. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006; :CD004843.
  6. Hawaii Med J. 2007; 66:292.
  7. J Music Ther. 2008; 45:349.

Prevention strategy relies on lifestyle

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Stenting may not always be the answer to treating heart disease with stable angina.

A German study has shown that patients with stable coronary artery disease who were put on an exercise regimen had significantly higher rates of event–free survival than those who had undergone percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). In the study, 70% of patients in the exercise program had event–free survival –– no stroke, heart attack, or death –– compared with 50% of stented patients after four years.

Exercise is an important part of any type of prevention, and it should be instituted for “anyone with stable coronary heart disease.”

The study on stenting versus exercise was a continuation of a pilot study first reported in 2004 in the journal Circulation. That study of 101 male patients found that after one year, 88% of patients who exercised had event-free survival compared with 70% of stented patients.

The updated data reflect an additional 100 patients, who performed moderate intensity exercise for two weeks under hospital supervision, and then were given an exercise bike to continue their regimen at home. Patients with stable angina exercised at 80% of their threshold, and that after four weeks of exercising, their angina threshold increased.

The clear message for patients is to get 30 to 60 minutes of moderate–intensity aerobic activity every day, noting that 30% of heart disease could be prevented by 2.5 hours of walking per week.

Persist in your efforts and you will be successful

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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All success stories are stories of great failures. The only difference is that every time they failed, they bounced back. This is called failing forward, rather than backward. You learn and move forward. Learn from your failure and keep moving.

The third avtara of Vishnu, the boar, signifies the same. The answer is persistence in your objectives.

Here are few quotes and success stories

  • “So never mind these failures, these little backslidings; hold the ideal a thousand times, and if you fail a thousand times, make the attempt once more. The ideal of man is to see God in everything”. II.152 (Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda)
  • “It is in the nature of things that many should fall, that troubles should come, that tremendous difficulties should arise, that selfishness and all other devils in the human heart should struggle hard, when they are about to be driven out by the fire of spirituality. The road to good is the roughest and the steepest in the universe. It is a wonder that so many succeed; no wonder that so many fall. Character has to be established through a thousand stumbles”. VIII.383 (C W of SV)
  • “Therefore, stand up, be bold, be strong. Take the whole responsibility on your own shoulders, and know that you are the creator of your own destiny”. II.225 (CW of SV).
  • “Successful people don’t do great things, they only do small things in a great way”
  • “One day a partially deaf four year old kid came home with a note in his pocket from his teacher, “Your Tommy is too stupid to learn, get him out of the school.” His mother read the note and answered, “My Tommy is not stupid to learn, I will teach him myself.” And that Tommy grew up to be the great Thomas Edison. Thomas Edison had only three months of formal schooling and he was partially deaf”.
  • “Henry Ford forgot to put the reverse gear in the first car he made”.
  • “Thomas Edison failed approximately 10,000 times while he was working on the light bulb”
  • “Henry Ford was broke at the age of 40”.
  • “Lee Iacocca was fired by Henry Ford II at the age of 54”.
  • “Young Beethoven was told that he had no talent for music, but he gave some of the best music to the world”

(With inputs from Dr Vivek Chhabra and Ravi Ponangi)

Can blood pressure be higher in one arm?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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A small difference in blood pressure readings between arms is normal. However, a difference of more than 20 mmHg for systolic pressure (top number) or more than 10 mmHg for diastolic pressure (bottom number) can be a sign of an underlying narrowing of the main arteries to that arm.

A difference of 10 to 15 mmHg for upper systolic pressure that shows up repeatedly is a risk marker for vascular disease and future heart attacks.

Always have your doctor check blood pressure in both your arms and use that arm, with higher reading, for future blood pressure readings.

Vedanta Laws

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Love is the law.
  • Everybody is born with a unique talent. Search for it and respect it.
  • The Universe is the macrocosm, man is the microcosm” (Return of the Rishi, p. 113).

There’s an ancient saying in Ayurveda:

“As is the atom, so is the Universe. As is the microcosm, so is the macrocosm.

As is the human body, so is the cosmic body. As is the human mind, so is the cosmic mind.”

All about Diabetes

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • India is the diabetes capital of the world.
  • People with diabetes are nearly two times more likely than people without diabetes to die from heart disease, and are also at greater risk for kidney, eye and nerve diseases, among other painful and costly complications.
  • Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented, and both types 1 and 2 diabetes can be managed to prevent complications.
  • In type 1 diabetes, the body does not make insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the body makes insufficient insulin or does not use insulin well.
  • Gestational diabetes occurs in some women during pregnancy. Though it usually goes away after the birth, these women and their children have a greater chance of getting type 2 diabetes later in life.
  • Type 2 diabetes has begun to affect young people.
  • Losing a modest amount of weight — about 15 pounds — through diet and exercise can actually reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes by as much as 58 percent in people at high risk.
  • In type 1 diabetes, tight control of blood sugar can prevent diabetes complications.
  • Choose healthy foods.
  • Take a brisk walk every day.
  • Talk with your family about your health and your family’s risk of diabetes and heart disease.
  • If you smoke, seek help to quit.
  • Make changes to reduce your risk for diabetes and its complications — for yourself, your families and for future generations.

Is it necessary to take a dip in Ganga to remove your sins?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati, the sangam of the three rivers in Allahabad is believed to be the holiest place in the country where if one takes a dip, one washes away his or her past sins.

After death, ashes are also submerged in the Ganga with an assumption that the past sins will be removed.

In Vedic era, what was the intention of the rishis and munis while making this ritual?

In mythology, moon represents cool mind and Ganga represents the positive flow of thoughts. And sea turmoil indicates the disturbed state of mind.

Hanuman’s samudra yatra indicates the meditative journey through the flow of thoughts. Samudra manthan represents the journey of the mind during meditation.

Taking a dip can be equated to shifting your mind towards your consciousness. This may occur when you introspect in a relaxed state of mind or when you practice meditation. Meditation is defined as a journey from sympathetic and parasympathetic state of mind or a journey from disturbed state of consciousness to undisturbed state of consciousness.

Every time you meditate, you dip into your consciousness and clean your guilt and negative thoughts. It is something like reformatting your hard disk and removing the bad sectors and viruses in your software.

It is, therefore, possible for you to do Ganga snan (bath) at your house in the morning while meditating or during pooja by drifting away from disturbed state of mind to non disturbed relaxed state of mind, clearing your guilt and negative thoughts.

Gaining weight losing strength vs losing weight gaining strength

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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When we gain weight, we must acquire more strength and when we lose weight, we must lose the strength. This is a fundamental principle.

If we gain weight and feel weak, it is a disease and when we lose weight and gain strength, we are recovering from the disease. One should not gain more than 5kg of weight after the age of 20 years. Any weight gain after that will only be due to accumulation of fat, which leads to insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance does not allow food to convert into energy. In the state of insulin resistance, whatever you eat is converted into fat. As it is not converted into energy, you feel weak. When you reduce insulin resistance by drugs or walking, the metabolism becomes normal and whatever you eat gets converted into energy and you start gaining strength.

How to Finish your Pending Work?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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1. This involves principles of time management including some Vedic principles.

2. The first thing to do is to make a checklist of all the pending work by writing it down and re-categorizing them depending upon the urgency and importance.

3. Pending work can be classified under following four sections:

  • Urgent and important: Should be done immediately
  • Important but not urgent: Should be scheduled as per the time available
  • Urgent but not important: This work should be delegated to others
  • Not important and not urgent: One should learn to say no and dump it.

4. Urgency of the work is decided by the deadlines available.

5. The importance of the work is decided by directing the result of the work to the mind, body or the soul. One should see whether the result of the work gives pleasure to the body, mind or the soul. The one that gives pleasure to the soul will be free of fear or guilt.

6. When choosing between simple or difficult tasks, choose the difficult first so that you do not carry them back home in the mind. In terms of importance, difficult files are more important than simple files.

7. When choosing right versus convenient action, give priority to the right action and not the convenient action.

8. Delegation of work: Team work is very important.

9. When deadlines are available, it is always better not to keep the work just near the deadlines.

10. Anticipate delay and keep time for unforeseen movements.

11. Work is work and not something personal.

12. Always remember the spiritual principle that you get what you deserve and not what you desire. So never associate yourself to the results of your actions.

13. Yoga, pranayama, afternoon naps and meditation help to prioritize your work.

14. Follow the principles of creativity and learn to take breaks in between the work so that the mind is relaxed and can take soul boosting decisions.

15. Remember, Yudhishthir never kept anything pending for tomorrow. This way you can have a fearless, undisturbed sleep.

16. Organizing your pending list always helps.

17. Do not waste time on learning material on which you are already an expert.

18. Take advantage of down time. If you find free time in your routine, then convert it into a creative time so that you can plan strategies or do something new.

19. Always get up at the same time and never disturb your sleep time.

Confession

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Confession is one of the many ways of detoxifying the mind. It has its roots in Hindu mythology but today it is mainly practiced in Christian religion as a hardcore ritual. Among Christians one usually goes to a Church and confesses to the Bishop without disclosing his or her identity.

In Hindu mythology, confession is a routine spiritual practice. People can confess to their Guru, to their God in the temple or their mentor. Confession can also be done to a plant (Peepal tree), an animal (dog or a cat) or birds. It is a common saying that taking a dip in Yamuna or Ganga removes all your sins. The dip in water involves a ritual of confessing guilt every time we make a dip.

Giving food to birds is also a way of confession where with each offering one does a confession. The easiest way to confess is 3 minutes of free writing, which can be done every night. One can tear off the paper after writing. This involves writing from the heart and not giving time to the mind to think.

Earlier people used to confess and de–stress their emotions by writing in a diary or making a folder in the computer and writing.

However, the best confession is to meditate, which is equivalent to reformatting the hard disk and removing viruses and corrupt files from our body computer. Meditating with intent to get rid of guilt washes them over a period of time.

Confession involves the process of forgiving and forgetting. Forgiving is at the level of mind and forgetting is at the level of heart.

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