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Dr K K Aggarwal

All about depression

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Depression is a major public health problem and a leading predictor of functional disability and mortality.
  • Optimal depression treatment improves outcome for most patients.
  • Most adults with clinical significant depression never see a mental health professional but they often see a primary care physician.
  • A non-psychiatric physician 50% of times misses the diagnosis of depression.
  • All depressed patients must be enquired specifically about suicidal ideations.
  • Suicidal ideation is a medical emergency.
  • Risk factors for suicide are known psychiatric disorders, medical illness, prior history of suicidal attempts or family history of attempted suicide.
  • The demographic reasons include older age, male gender, marital status (widowed or separated) and living alone.
  • About 1 million people commit suicide every year globally.
  • Around 79% of patients who commit suicide contact their primary care provider in the last one year before their death and only one-third contact their mental health service provider.
  • Twice as many suicidal victims had contacted their primary care provider as against the mental health provider in the last month before suicide.
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death worldwide and accounts for 1.2% of all deaths.
  • The suicide rate in the US is 10.5 per 100,000 people.
  • In the US, suicide is increasing in middle aged adults.
  • There are 10-40 non-fatal suicide attempts for every one completed suicide.
  • The majority of suicides completed in US are accomplished with fire arm (57%), the second leading method of suicide in US is hanging for men and poisoning in women.
  • Patients with prior history of attempted suicide are 5-6 times more likely to make another attempt.
  • Fifty percent of successful victims have made prior attempts.
  • One of every 100 suicidal attempt survivors will die by suicide within one year of the first attempt.
  • The risk of suicide increases with increase in age; however, young adults and adolescents attempt suicide more than the older.
  • Females attempt suicide more frequently than males but males are successful three times more often.
  • The highest suicidal rate is amongst those individuals who are unmarried followed by those who are widowed, separated, divorced, married without children and married with children in descending order.
  • Living alone increases the risk of suicide.
  • Unemployed and unskilled patients are at higher risk of suicide than those who are employed.
  • A recent sense of failure may lead to higher risk.
  • Clinicians are at higher risk of suicide.
  • The suicidal rate in male clinicians is 1.41 and in female clinicians, it is 2.27.
  • Adverse childhood abuse and adverse childhood experiences increase the risk of suicidal attempts.
  • The first step in evaluating suicidal risk is to determine presence of suicidal thoughts including their concerns and duration.
  • Management of suicidal individual includes reducing mortality risk, underlying factors and monitoring and follow-up.
  • Major risk for suicidal attempts is in psychiatric disorder, hopelessness and prior suicidal attempts or threats.
  • High impulsivity or alcohol or other substance abuse increase the risk.

Health Implications of Chaturmas

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The “Chaturmas” begins on Ekadashi in the month of Ashadha (June/July) and ends with Ekadashi in the month of Kartik (overlaps October/November) and has got both spiritual and health implications. It is a period when no marriages and auspicious functions are held.

The four months of monsoon are called holy months of the year or Chaturmas and coincide with many festivals. Chaturmas starts with Guru Poornima, a festival to worship your teacher. Then comes the month of Shravana, in which Mondays are worshiped for Lord Shiva. The Narali Poornima in this month marks the end of heavy rain and the throwing of the coconut in the sea appeases it and it calms down. Nag Panchami and Gokul Ashtami are also a part of this month.

Bhadrapad is the next. The first half is dedicated to the worship of Ganapati, the lord of removal of obstacles and the second half to shradhs when religious ceremonies are held in memory of the departed souls.

The month of Ashwin starts with “Navratri” through Dussehra to Diwali. Kojagiri Purnima in this month is the bright Purnima. The last two days of Ashwin and the first two days of Kartik are usually the days of the Diwali festival. Ekadashi in the first half of the month of Kartik marks the end of the Chaturmas.

The days of monsoon are not usually healthy days. For doctors it is a healthy season as they get a large number of patients.

Health implications

  • In the monsoon, all the three doshas (movement, metabolism and structure) are vitiated.
  • Light diet and less oily food are advised, as digestive power is weak. Stomach upsets are common.
  • Most ground worms come to the surface and contaminate underground and surface vegetables.
  • Community feasts, marriages, social functions, gatherings are therefore prohibited in this season.
  • River water gets contaminated.
  • Observance of regular fast counteracts these unhealthy conditions.
  • Snakes come out and snakes bites are common. Nag Panchami tells us not to kill them unnecessarily as most of them are not poisonous.
  • Green leafy vegetables are avoided in the Shravan month, curd in Bhadrapad, milk in Ashwin and pulses (split variety) and oils in Kartik month. The reason is that in rainy season Vata dosha is aggravated (vegetables aggravate vata) and pitta is accumulating. Pitta producing foods are therefore avoided (curd and fermented foods). In Kartik, the kapha is accumulating and hence oils are restricted. In allopathy, vata is movement, pitta is metabolism and kapha is structural functions.
  • In general, the advice is to abstain from tea, coffee, sugar, rice, wheat, etc., and avoid garlic and onion as it can stimulate unnecessary excitements and cause indigestion.
  • Chaturmas is the time to meditate, read spiritual scriptures and strengthen inner immunity by meditation.
  • Negative thinking and emotions are common in Chaturmas due to vata imbalance and hence most agreements and important celebrations are avoided during this period.

Is caffeine good for health?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Caffeine is the most widely consumed stimulant in the world.
  • It is consumed in the form of coffee and tea.
  • At present there is no scientific data for promoting or discouraging coffee and/or tea consumption in the daily diet.
  • Short-term benefits include mental alertness and improved athletic performance.
  • Short-term adverse effects include headache, anxiety, tremors and insomnia.
  • Long-term adverse effects include generalized anxiety disorder and substance abuse disorders.
  • Long-term benefits are dose-dependent. Caffeine is associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer disease, alcoholic cirrhosis, and gout. Coffee, both caffeinated and decaffeinated, is also associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Heavy coffee intake may trigger coronary and arrhythmic events in susceptible individuals, although coffee intake is not considered a long-term risk factor for myocardial disease.
  • Most studies show a modest inverse relationship between coffee consumption and all-cause mortality.
  • Caffeine withdrawal is a well-documented clinical syndrome with headache being the most common symptom. (Source: Uptodate)

Women above 65 should take extra care of their health

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • All women should exercise a minimum of 30 min per day, but women who need to lose weight or maintain weight loss are now advised to engage in 60 to 90 min of moderate-intensity activity on most, or preferably all, days of the week.
  • A heart-healthy diet should be rich in fruits, whole grains and fiber foods with a limited intake of alcohol and sodium.
  • Saturated fat should be reduced to less than 7 percent of calories.
  • Women at very high risk for heart disease should try to lower their LDL (“bad”) cholesterol to less than 70 mg/dL.
  • Women aged 65 and over should consider taking low-dose aspirin on a routine basis, regardless of their risk. Aspirin has been shown to prevent both heart attacks and stroke in this age group.
  • The upper dose of aspirin for high-risk women is 325 mg per day.
  • Hormone replacement therapy, selective estrogen receptor modulators or antioxidant. supplements such as vitamins C and E should be used to prevent heart disease.
  • Folic acid should also not be used to prevent cardiovascular disease.
  • Women should eat oily fish or some other source of omega-3 fatty acids at least twice a week.
  • Women should not only quit smoking but should use counseling, nicotine replacement or other forms of smoking cessation therapy.

Women above 65 should take extra care of their health

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Women aged 65 and above should take low dose aspirin routinely to prevent heart attack and paralysis.
  • All women are urged to exercise a minimum of 30 minutes per day, but women who need to lose weight or maintain weight loss are now advised to engage in 60 to 90 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most, or preferably all, days of the week.
  • A heart-healthy diet should be rich in fruits, whole grains and fiber foods with a limited intake of alcohol and sodium.
  • Saturated fat should be reduced to less than 7 percent of calories.
  • Women at very high risk for heart disease should try to lower their LDL (“bad”) cholesterol to less than 70 mg/dL.
  • Women aged 65 and over should consider taking low-dose aspirin on a routine basis, regardless of their risk. Aspirin has been shown to prevent both heart attacks and stroke in this age group.
  • The upper dose of aspirin for high-risk women is 325 mg per day.
  • Hormone replacement therapy, selective estrogen receptor modulators or antioxidant supplements such as vitamins C and E should be used to prevent heart disease.
  • Folic acid should also not be used to prevent cardiovascular disease.
  • Women should eat oily fish or some other source of omega-3 fatty acids at least twice a week.
  • Women should not only quit smoking but should use counseling, nicotine replacement or other forms of smoking cessation therapy.

Fat but fit no longer good for health

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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A study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology has challenged the current concept that by being physically fit, individuals who are obese can fully compensate mortality risk. The study suggests that physically fit obese men are at higher risk for death than men who are of normal weight but are physically unfit. And it also found a graded association between aerobic fitness at the age of 18 years and the risk of early death.

The study by Gabriel Högström, PhD, a postgraduate student in the Dept. of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation at Umeå University, Sweden, and colleagues, drew data from the Swedish Military Conscription Registry and included 1,317,713 Swedish men (mean age, 18 years) conscripted into the Swedish military between 1969 and 1996. At the time of conscription, the men underwent baseline assessments that included aerobic fitness testing, in which they cycled until fatigue caused them to stop. The researchers looked at all-cause and cause-specific deaths, using national registers. Mortality information came from the National Cause of Death Registry.

During a mean follow-up of 28.8 years, 44,301 of the men died. After adjusting for age and conscription year, men with the highest aerobic fitness levels had 51% lower risk for all-cause death (hazard ratio [HR], 0.49; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.47 – 0.51vs those with the lowest fitness levels. Similar findings resulted from analyses of weight-adjusted fitness (HR, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.50 – 0.54).

Alcohol and narcotic abuse had the strongest associations with death (HR, 0.20; 95% CI, 0.15 – 0.26).

Obese men benefited less than normal-weight men from being physically fit (P < .001). Normal-weight men in all levels of aerobic fitness had lower risk for all-cause mortality (30% – 48%; P < .05 for all) compared with obese men with the highest levels of aerobic fitness.

The benefits of aerobic fitness decreased as weight increased. After adjusting for age and year, normal-weight men in the upper half of aerobic fitness had 34% lower risk for death than those in the lower half (HR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.64 – 0.68). This benefit decreased to 28% in overweight men, and disappeared entirely in men with the highest levels of obesity… (Medscape)

Definition of Health

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Health is not mere absence of disease; it is a state of physical, mental, social, spiritual, environmental and financial well-being. Allopathy does not define all aspects of health.

During MBBS, medical students are taught more about the physical health. Social and mental health are covered only in few lectures. Community health is a separate subject but never given its due importance. Spiritual health is not defined at all and financial health is hardly covered.

Yet, in day-to-day practice it is the social, financial, spiritual and community health, which is the most important during patient-doctor communication. It is incorporated in the four basic purposes: dharma, artha, kama and moksha.

Dharma and artha together form the basis of karma which is righteous earning. You are what your deep rooted desires are. Most of the diseases today can be traced to a particular emotion, positive or negative. Anger and jealously are related with heart attack, fear with blood pressure, greed & possessiveness with heart failure. Unless the mind is healthy, one cannot be free of diseases.

The best description of health comes from Ayurveda. In Sanskrit health means swasthya, which means establishment in the self. One is established in the self when there is a union of mind, body and soul. Most symbols of health are established around a shaft with two snakes and two wings. The shaft represents the body, two snakes represent the duality of mind and the two wings represent the freedom of soul.

Sushrut Samhita in Chapter 15 shloka 10 defines the Ayurvedic person as under:

Samadosha, samagnischa,

Samadhatumalkriyah,

Prasannatmendriyamanah,

Swastha iti abhidhiyate.

From the Ayurvedic point of view, for a person to be healthy, he must have balanced doshas, balanced agni, balanced dhatus, normal functioning of malkriyas and mind, body, spirit and indriyas full of bliss and happiness.

Human body is made up of structures (Kapha) that perform two basic functions: firstly, metabolism (pitta) and movement (vata). Vata, pitta and kapha are called doshas in Ayurveda. Samana dosha means balance of structures, metabolism and movement functions in the body. Agni in Ayurveda is said to be in balance when a person has normal tejas and a good appetite.

Ayurveda describes seven dhatus: rasa, rakta, mamsa, medha, asthi, majja, shukra and they are required to be in balance. They are equivalent to various tissues in the human body.

Ayurveda necessitates proper functioning of natural urges like urination, stool, sweating and breathing and that is what balances in malakriya means.

Ayurveda says for a person to be healthy he has to be mentally and spiritually healthy which will only happen when his or her indriyas are cheerful, full of bliss and devoid of any negativities. For indriyas to be in balance one has to learn to control over the lust cum desires, greed and ego. This can be done by learning regular pranayama, learning the do’s and don’ts in life, living in a disciplined atmosphere and learn to live in the present.

Regular pranayama shifts one from sympathetic to para sympathetic mode, balances the mind and thoughts and helps in removing negative thoughts from the mind. For living a disabled life one can follow the yama and niyama of yoga sutras of Patanjali or dos and don’ts taught by various religious gurus, leaders and principles of naturopathy. Living in the present means conscious or meditative living. This involves either learning meditation 20 minutes twice a day or learning subtle mental exercises like mind–body relaxation, yogic shavasana, self–hypnotic exercises, etc.

According to Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a person who eats thrice a day is a rogi, twice a day is a bhogi and once a day is yogi. The take home message is: to live more, eat less.

Swar yoga defines the importance of respiration and longevity. According to this yoga shastra, everybody has a fixed number of breaths to be taken during the life span.

Lesser the number a person takes in a minute more is the life. It also forms the basis of pranayama which is nothing but longer and deeper breathing with reduced respiratory rate. To be healthy one can remember to follow the principle of moderation and variety in diet & exercise, regular pranayama & meditation and positive thinking.

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

Definition of Health

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , , , | | Comments Off on Definition of Health

Health is not mere absence of disease; it is a state of physical, mental, social, spiritual, environmental and financial well-being. Allopathy does not define all aspects of health.

During MBBS, medical students are taught more about the physical health. Social and mental health are covered only in few lectures. Community health is a separate subject but never given its due importance. Spiritual health is not defined at all and financial health is hardly covered.

Yet, in day-to-day practice it is the social, financial, spiritual and community health, which is the most important during patient-doctor communication. It is incorporated in the four basic purposes: dharma, artha, kama and moksha.

Dharma and artha together form the basis of karma which is righteous earning. You are what your deep rooted desires are. Most of the diseases today can be traced to a particular emotion, positive or negative. Anger and jealously are related with heart attack, fear with blood pressure, greed & possessiveness with heart failure. Unless the mind is healthy, one cannot be free of diseases.

The best description of health comes from Ayurveda. In Sanskrit health means swasthya, which means establishment in the self. One is established in the self when there is a union of mind, body and soul. Most symbols of health are established around a shaft with two snakes and two wings. The shaft represents the body, two snakes represent the duality of mind and the two wings represent the freedom of soul.

Sushrut Samhita in Chapter 15 shloka 10 defines the ayurvedic person as under:

Samadosha, samagnischa,

Samadhatumalkriyah,

Prasannatmendriyamanah,

Swastha iti abhidhiyate.

From the Ayurvedic point of view, for a person to be healthy, he must have balanced doshas, balanced agni, balanced dhatus, normal functioning of malkriyas and mind, body, spirit and indriyas full of bliss and happiness.

Human body is made up of structures (Kapha) that perform two basic functions: firstly, metabolism (pitta) and movement (vata). Vata, pitta and kapha are called doshas in Ayurveda. Samana dosha means balance of structures, metabolism and movement functions in the body. Agni in Ayurveda is said to be in balance when a person has normal tejas and a good appetite.

Ayurveda describes seven dhatus: rasa, rakta, mamsa, medha, asthi, majja, shukra and they are required to be in balance. They are equivalent to various tissues in the human body.

Ayurveda necessitates proper functioning of natural urges like urination, stool, sweating and breathing and that is what balances in malakriya means.

Ayurveda says for a person to be healthy he has to be mentally and spiritually healthy which will only happen when his or her indriyas are cheerful, full of bliss and devoid of any negativities. For indriyas to be in balance one has to learn to control over the lust cum desires, greed and ego. This can be done by learning regular pranayama, learning the do’s and don’ts in life, living in a disciplined atmosphere and learn to live in the present.

Regular pranayama shifts one from sympathetic to para sympathetic mode, balances the mind and thoughts and helps in removing negative thoughts from the mind. For living a disabled life one can follow the yama and niyama of yoga sutras of Patanjali or dos and don’ts taught by various religious gurus, leaders and principles of naturopathy. Living in the present means conscious or meditative living. This involves either learning meditation 20 minutes twice a day or learning subtle mental exercises like mind–body relaxation, yogic shavasana, self–hypnotic exercises, etc.

According to Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a person who eats thrice a day is a rogi, twice a day is a bhogi and once a day is yogi. The take home message is: to live more, eat less.

Swar yoga defines the importance of respiration and longevity. According to this yoga shastra, everybody has a fixed number of breaths to be taken during the life span.

Lesser the number a person takes in a minute more is the life. It also forms the basis of pranayama which is nothing but longer and deeper breathing with reduced respiratory rate. To be healthy one can remember to follow the principle of moderation and variety in diet & exercise, regular pranayama & meditation and positive thinking.

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

The Concept of Second Opinion

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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In legal system when you are not satisfied with a judge, you re–appeal in the same court and if you are still not satisfied, you go to double bench before going to higher court.

Practice the same when you take a second opinion about your health.

Never go to a different doctor. First go to the same doctor and ask him to give his opinion again and, if you are not satisfied, then go to a team of two doctors and finally go to a doctor with qualification higher than the initial doctor. If your second opinion is from another doctor, it may be wrong or partial.

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

Spiritual prescriptions learnt from patients

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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In a hospital practice, we all witness suffering all the time. When we were young, in medical college, quite often we were disturbed seeing the sufferings of the people. But, in our practice, we have learnt many spiritual prescriptions from our patients. These have not only helped us to heal our patients but also changed our perception to health and sickness.

I recall Swami Bodhanand, a disciple of Swami Chinmayananda, was once hospitalized under our care. When I asked him to give me a spiritual message, he told me only two words “Detached Attachment”. He said, “As a doctor you should behave like a lotus leaf. It is wet as long as a drop of water is there, but once the drop is out, the leaf is as dry as if the water was never there.” The message was that “we should be attached to our patients as long as they are with us. The day they die, we should be completely detached from them or else we will not be able to treat other patients”.

I saw another spiritual guru through our Chief Anesthetist. The fee he paid to me was a spiritual message “Suno Samjho Jano Karo – Hear Understand Wisdom and Do”. He said that hearing is different from listening, listening is different from wisdom and wisdom is different from doing. Unless you hear, understand what you have heard and implement, the learning has no value.

One of my Buddhist patients gave me a spiritual learning, which has helped me a lot in my routine clinical practice. He taught me the basic Buddhist message that there is suffering all over; there is a reason for every suffering and it is possible to maintain sufferings. This message fits into the main message of Hinduism and also the main teaching from Garud Purana.

In Hinduism, we know that the very fact that we are born in this life means that in our last life, we could not get liberation as Hinduism believes that after liberation you are not reborn. Not getting liberated in the last birth means that some sufferings were left in our life. The basic purpose of this birth, therefore, is to face sufferings. When the basic purpose of our birth is to face sufferings, then why suffer from these sufferings. Every time we suffer, we should thank God that he has reduced one more. The period in between two sufferings is called a happy period (Sukh). In fact that period is nothing but a period of rest given by God to us to prepare the body for next suffering. This as a concept of counseling helps my patients in managing most of their mental disturbances.

Sometimes not telling a patient that he is suffering from terminal cancer works. One of my patient’s father aged 83 years was found to have extensive cancer of the prostate. Medically, we all gave him three months’ to live. My patient did not have the courage to tell his father or the family members that he (the father) had extensive cancer. He took me into confidence and played a game with the family. We gathered all the family members and told them that with the surgery this cancer had been cured. A party was organized in the evening to celebrate the cure. The magic happened; he lived almost a symptom–free life for the next 9 years. I have tried this on many of my patients thereafter and it works. The probable explanation was loss of fear of death, a confidence in his doctor and faith in himself.

The way to live up to the age of hundred is to go on working in life. My great grandfather–in–law was 75 years old, when I got married. That year, he gathered all family members across the world and said that his purpose of life was over and, he would like a collective family photograph and like to quit the world. Nothing happened for a year and on 20th July next year, he again played behaved the same way. Family from across the world gathered but he remained alive for another year. This went on for three years. Suddenly, we played a spiritual trick on him and told everyone to convince him that he is going to live for 100 years as he has many more work of the family to be done. Every year, we gave him law students from within the family to be taught (he was a lawyer himself), or gave him the responsibility of finding a boy for some eligible girl in the family. We made him teach and search for suitable bride/bridegrooms for years together and he actually died at the age of 100 years. This is the beauty of positive attitude in life.

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

Is Caffeine Good For The Health?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. Caffeine is the most consumed stimulant in the world,
  2. It is consumed in the form of coffee and tea.
  3. At present there is no scientific data for promoting or discouraging coffee and/or tea consumption in the daily diet.
  4. Short term benefits include mental alertness and improved athletic performance.
  5. Short term adverse effects including headache, anxiety, tremors, and insomnia.
  6. Long term adverse affects include generalized anxiety disorder and substance abuse disorders.
  7. Long–term benefits are dose–dependent. Caffeine is associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease, alcoholic cirrhosis, and gout. Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee are also associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
  8. Heavy coffee intake may trigger coronary and arrhythmic events in susceptible individuals, although coffee intake is not considered a long–term risk factor for myocardial disease.
  9. Most studies show a modest inverse relationship between coffee consumption and all–cause mortality.
  10. Caffeine withdrawal is a well–documented clinical syndrome with headache being the most common symptom. (Source: Uptodate)

Spirituality is the key to health

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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To stay healthy, one needs to eat right, get plenty of exercise and rest, and avoid bad habits such as smoking. But, now it is said that “what you believe in” can have a big impact on health and longevity. There have been a lot of studies that show how patients with strong spirituality can improve their health from a variety of chronic conditions, like hypertension, heart disease, recover from surgery and more.

Research indicates there are real health benefits from spirituality.

  1. People with high levels of religious beliefs or spirituality have lower cortisol responses. Cortisol is a hormone released by the body in response to stress.
  2. Positive thinking produces nearly a 30% drop in perception of pain.
  3. Spirituality and the practice of religion have recently been associated with a slower progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
  4. Those who regularly attend organized religious activities may live longer than those who dont. Regular participation lowers mortality rate by about 12% a year.
  5. People undergoing cardiac rehabilitation are more confident and perceive greater improvements in their physical abilities if they have a strong faith.
  6. Increased levels of spirituality and religious faith may help substance abusers kick their habit.
  7. Spirituality stimulates the relaxation response. When the body is relaxed, the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate all go down, which decrease the bodys stress response.
  8. Spirituality can affect immune system function. Spirituality, faith, church attendance improves immune function in ways that can be measured, like an increase in white blood cells.
  9. Prayer heals the heart.
  10. Positive talking and thinking in the ICU produces better results.

Spirituality is what brings you peace and safety. It can be achieved through God or Goddess, nature, a beautiful sunset, a meditation, Pranayama, religious meeting, chanting, mind body relaxation, etc. Spirituality is something that can help all the way from promoting wellness to helping with recovery.

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

Spirituality, The Key To Health

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , , , , , | | Comments Off on Spirituality, The Key To Health

To stay healthy, one needs to eat right, get plenty of exercise and rest and avoid bad habits such as smoking. But, now it is said that “what you believe in” can have a big impact on health and longevity. Many studies show that patients with strong spirituality can improve their health from a variety of chronic conditions, like hypertension, heart disease, recovery from surgery and more.

Research indicates there are real health benefits from spirituality:

  1. People with high levels of religious beliefs or spirituality have lower cortisol responses. Cortisol is a hormone the body releases in response to stress.

  2. Positive thinking produces nearly a 30% drop in perception of pain.
  3. Spirituality and the practice of religion have recently been associated with a slower progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

  4. Those who regularly attend organized religious activities may live longer than those who don’t. Regular participation lowers mortality rate by about 12% a year.
  5. People undergoing cardiac rehabilitation feel more confident and perceive greater improvements in their physical abilities if they have a strong faith.

  6. Increased levels of spirituality and religious faith may help substance abusers kick their habit.

  7. Spirituality stimulates the relaxation response. When the body is relaxed, your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate all go down, which decreases the body’s stress response.

  8. Spirituality can affect immune-system function. Spirituality, faith, church attendance improves immune function in ways that can be measured, like an increase in white blood cells.

  9. Prayer heals the heart.

  10. Positive talking and thinking in the ICU produces better results.

Spirituality is what brings you peace and safety. It can be achieved through God or Goddess, nature, a beautiful sunset, a meditation, Pranayama, religious meeting, chanting, mind-body relaxation, etc. Spirituality is something that can help all the way from promoting wellness to helping with recovery.

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

Women above 65 to take extra care of their health

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Women aged 65 and above should take low dose aspirin routinely to prevent heart attack and paralysis..

1.      All women are urged to exercise a minimum of 30 minutes per day, but women who need to lose weight or maintain weight loss are now advised to engage in 60 to 90 minutes of moderate-intensity activity
on most, or preferably all, days of the week.
2.      A heart-healthy diet should be rich in fruits, whole grains and fiber foods with a limited intake of alcohol and sodium.
3.      Saturated fat should be reduced to less than 7 percent of calories.
4.      Women at very high risk for heart disease should try to lower their LDL (“bad”) cholesterol to less than 70 mg/dL.
5.      Women aged 65 and over should consider taking low-dose aspirin on a routine basis, regardless of their risk. Aspirin has been shown to prevent both heart attacks and stroke in this age group.
6.      The upper dose of aspirin for high-risk women is 325 mg per day.
7.      Hormone replacement therapy, selective estrogen receptor modulators nor antioxidant supplements such as vitamins C and E should be used to prevent heart disease.
8.      Folic acid should also not be used to prevent cardiovascular disease.
9.      Women should eat oily fish or some other source of omega-3 fatty acids at least twice a week.
10.     Women should not only quit smoking but should use counseling, nicotine replacement or other forms of smoking cessation therapy.

The Concept of Second Opinion

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on The Concept of Second Opinion

In legal system when you are not satisfied with a judge, you re–appeal in the same court and if you are still not satisfied, you go to double bench before going to higher court.

Practice the same when you take a second opinion about your health.

Never go to a different doctor. First go to the same doctor and ask him to give his opinion again and, if you are not satisfied, then go to a team of two doctors and finally go to a doctor with qualification higher than the initial doctor. If your second opinion is from another doctor, it may invariably be wrong or partial.