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Dr K K Aggarwal

Smoking in women can increase risk of colorectal cancer

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Women who smoke are at twice the risk of developing cancer of the rectum and the risk goes up with the increase in number of cigarettes smoked per day, duration of smoking and older age at smoking cessation.

Women should never smoke. Current smokers are 95% more likely to develop rectal cancer. Younger adults can develop colorectal cancer; however the odds increase remarkably after 50 years of age. Over 9 out of 10 people with colorectal cancer are above 50.

A history of adenomatous polyps (adenomas), especially if they are large, increases the risk of cancer.

If someone has had colorectal cancer, even if it has been completely removed, the person is more likely to develop new cancers in other areas of the colon and rectum. The odds are higher if they have had their first colorectal cancer at a younger age.

Though the no. 1 cancer in women in urban areas is breast cancer and in rural areas is cancer of the cervix, cancer of the rectum is on the rise.

Ways to get a restful sleep

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Limit caffeine intake: Those who take caffeine find it harder to fall asleep. Even a single cup of coffee taken in the morning may lead to sleeplessness at night. Caffeine tends to inhibit the effects of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that is believed to promote sleep. Caffeine also interrupts sleep as it increases the need to urinate during the night.

Caffeine withdrawal tends to lead to headache, irritability, and fatigue. Therefore, it seems wiser to cut back gradually. Those who can’t or are not willing to give up caffeine should avoid it after 2 p.m., or noon, particularly if they are caffeine-sensitive.

  1. Quit the habit of smoking or chewing tobacco: Nicotine is a known stimulant of the central nervous system, and can cause insomnia. If you continue to use tobacco, try to avoid smoking or chewing it for at least one to two hours prior to bedtime.
  2. Limit alcohol intake: Alcohol tends to depress the nervous system. As a result, a nightcap may appear to help some people fall asleep. Alcohol suppresses REM sleep, and the soporific effects tend to disappear after a few hours. Alcohol can worsen snoring and other sleep-related breathing problems.

[Source: Harvard Health]

Smoking makes you 5 years older

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Men tend to have a higher likelihood of dying than women, and smoking heightens any adult’s risk of death just as if five years were suddenly added to their age.
  • Among men who have never smoked, heart disease seems to be greatest risk for death at any age, exceeding the likelihood of dying from lung, colon and prostate cancer combined.
  • Male smokers have a lung cancer risk greater than that of heart disease taking their lives after age 60, and seems to be 10 times higher than the odds of dying from prostate and colon cancer combined.
  • The odds of dying from heart disease and breast cancer appear to be similar for nonsmoking women until age 60, when heart disease becomes a greater risk.
  • For female smokers, death is more likely to occur from lung cancer or heart disease than from breast cancer after age 40.

Smoking

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Cigarette smoking is a leading preventable cause of death in the country.

  • Six million deaths occur worldwide because of smoking.
  • About 50% of smokers are expected to die because of tobacco-related illnesses.
  • The three most important cigarette-related illnesses, which may be potentially fatal, are heart diseases, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (Chronic bronchitis or asthma of the adult).
  • Smoking cessation is associated with substantial health benefits.
  • Smoking cessation can reduce risk of heart diseases, cancer and COPD.
  • Quitting smoking can help even after development of smoking-related heart diseases, cancer or COPD.
  • Stopping smoking before age 40 is associated with a larger benefit than stopping it at a later stage.
  • Smoking exaggerates bone loss and is a risk factor for hip fracture. Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 10% of heart blockage diseases all over the world.
  • Cigarette smoking is responsible for 33% of all cardiac deaths.
  • Quitting smoking even after age 60 is associated with lower risk of death.
  • Smoking cessation also reduces risk of paralysis.
  • Smoking cessation also reduces the progress of blockages in the leg vessels.
  • Smoking is associated with premature aging in women.
  • Even in smokers older than 80 years, quitting smoking reduces mortality.
  • Quitting smoking means no smoking for three years.
  • Bidi smoking is as bad as cigarette smoking.
  • Tobacco chewing is as bad as cigarette smoking.

Sangat and smoking

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Sewa, Simran and Sangat are the three principles of life as per the most Vedic literature. Even Adi Shankaracharya described Sangat as the main force for living a spiritual life.

Sangat is the company of people you live with. Living in the company of good people makes one good and the reverse is also true.

The same is now being proved in the allopathic context. A new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown that when one person quits smoking, than others are likely to follow. One person quitting can cause a ripple effect, making others more likely to kick the habit.

  1. If your spouse stops smoking, you’re 67 percent less likely to continue smoking.
  2. If your friend kicks the habit, it’s about 36 percent less likely that you’ll be smoking.
  3. When a sibling gives up cigarettes, your risk of smoking decreases by 25 percent.
  4. Your risk of smoking drops by 34 percent if a co–worker in a small office quits smoking. It’s sort of like watching dominoes. If one falls, it very quickly causes others to fall.

We should treat people in groups, rather than as individuals. Friends and family need to be involved. If you want to quit, try to get close friends and family to quit as well.

Quitting smoking may have the side benefit of improving social well–being, just as it improves physical health.

Tips to avert the risk of heart diseases

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Avoid smoking or quit the habit altogether.
  • Aim at getting 30 minutes to 1 hour of exercise at least 5 days a week.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet rich in fiber.
  • Avoid saturated fat in any form.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Keep your blood sugar, blood cholesterol and blood pressure under control.
  • Manage stress through meditation and activities such as yoga.

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 adult’s 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 tenfold 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.

Nine modifiable risk factors for heart attack

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The majority of known risk factors for heart attack are modifiable by specific preventive measures.

The nine potentially modifiable factors include smoking, dyslipidemia, hypertension, diabetes, abdominal obesity, psychosocial factors, regular alcohol consumption, daily consumption of fruits and vegetables and regular physical activity. These account for over 90 percent of the population attributable risk of a first heart attack.

In addition, aspirin is recommended for primary prevention of heart disease for men and women whose 10-year risk of a first heart attack event is 6 percent or greater.

Smoking cessation reduces the risk of both heart attack and stroke. One year after quitting, the risk of heart attack and death from heart disease is reduced by one-half, and after several years begins to approach that of nonsmokers.

A number of observational studies have shown a strong inverse relationship between leisure time activity and decreased risks of CVD. Walking 80 minutes in a day and whenever possible with a speed of 80 steps per minute are the current recommendations.

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.

Sangat and smoking

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Adi Shankaracharya described Sangat as the main force for living a spiritual life.

Sangat is the company of people you live with. Living in the company of good people makes one good and the reverse is also true.

The same is now being proved in the allopathic context. A new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown that when one person quits smoking, than others are likely to follow. One person quitting can cause a ripple effect, making others more likely to kick the habit.

  1. If your spouse stops smoking, you’re 67 percent less likely to continue smoking.
  2. If your friend kicks the habit, it’s about 36 percent less likely that you’ll be smoking.
  3. When a sibling gives up cigarettes, your risk of smoking decreases by 25 percent.
  4. Your risk of smoking drops by 34 percent if a co–worker in a small office quits smoking. It’s sort of like watching dominoes. If one falls, it very quickly causes others to fall.

We should treat people in groups, rather than as individuals. Friends and family need to be involved. If you want to quit, try to get close friends and family to quit as well.

Quitting smoking may have the side benefit of improving social well–being, just as it improves physical health.

Stress may increase smoking habits

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Stress increases the risk of heart attack by pushing people toward bad habits. A British study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that people with psychological stress had a 50% increased risk of a cardiovascular disease event over the follow–up period.

The reasons were higher smoking rates and low exercise levels of individuals who were stressed.

In the study over a 7-year follow–up period, incidence of cardiovascular events –– heart attacks, stroke, bypass surgery and the like –– was 50% higher among the people with a high level of depression and anxiety when compared to happier people. Smoking and lack of physical activity explained about 63% of the increase, with smoking alone responsible for 41%.

Alcohol intake explained less than 2% of the increase, with high blood pressure assigned 13% of the blame. All such patients should be treated with combined physiological approaches with intensive lifestyle changes to reduce modifiable risk.

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.

Some tips on Multiple sclerosis from HCFI

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and omega-3 fatty acids
  2. Movement of the body is crucial in patients with MS at every stage. Regular exercise promotes better flexibility, boosts balance, and can also help with common MS complications.
  3. Practice good sleep hygiene by sticking to a consistent sleep schedule, keeping the room dark and cool, avoiding too many fluids before bedtime, and creating a relaxing bedtime routine.
  4. Get plenty of Vitamin D. As per a recent research, people with MS who are vitamin D deficient tend to suffer more significant progression of the disease.
  5. Smoking is a big risk factor for having MS as well as for the worsening of the disease. Quit this habit as well as drinking to help manage symptoms.
  6. Talk to your near and dear ones if you feel depressed. This will help you feel better and positive. Try meditating for some time during the day.

Hookah as bad as smoking

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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An hour of puffs from a hookah packs the same carbon monoxide punch as a pack-a-day cigarette habit. Hookahs have grown in popularity in recent years and Hookah bars have appeared in cities all over the world that allow people to smoke these water pipes. Users inhale tobacco smoke after it bubbles through water, a process that some people think filters toxins from the tobacco.

Hammond and a student, in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, recruited 27 students who smoked water pipes for an hour on three different evenings in April 2006. Another five students did not smoke the hookahs but stayed in the room with those who did. The participants abstained from water pipe smoking for 84 hours before taking part in the study; the bowls of their water pipes were filled with water and 10 grams of Al Fakher muassal tobacco, and then heated with charcoal. Researchers monitored carbon monoxide in the breath of the participants both before and after the experiment using a machine designed to detect if people are smokers. The exhaled carbon monoxide in participants was an average of 42 parts per million, higher than that reported in cigarette smokers (17 parts per million). The study also found that carbon monoxide levels grew in the room where the subjects smoked hookahs and might reach environmentally unhealthy levels, as determined by the federal government, during longer sessions.

Smoking a water pipe for 45 minutes produces 36 times more tar than smoking a cigarette for five minutes.

Cycling can cause erectile dysfunction

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Age, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, high lipids, smoking, drugs, heart disease, upright cycling for more than 3 hours a week can cause erectile dysfunction in males. For those who ride bicycles for more than 3 hours a week should do so in a reclining position and not upright position.

A man is considered to have erectile dysfunction when he cannot acquire or sustain an erection of sufficient rigidity for sexual intercourse. Any man may, at one time or another during his life, experience periodic or isolated sexual failures.

The term “impotent” is reserved for those men who experience erectile failure during attempted intercourse more than 75 percent of the time. Heart disease increases the risk for later erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction may be an early warning sign of future heart disease. Men with erectile dysfunction without an obvious cause (e.g., pelvic trauma), and who have no symptoms of heart disease, should be screened for heart disease prior to treatment since there are potential cardiac risks associated with sexual activity in patients with heart disease.

Eight of the 12 most commonly prescribed medications list impotence as a side effect and it is estimated that 25 percent of cases of erectile dysfunction are due to drugs.

Depression, stress, or the drugs used to treat depression can result in erectile dysfunction.

Neurologic causes of erectile dysfunction include stroke, spinal cord or back injury, multiple sclerosis, or dementia. In addition, pelvic trauma, prostate. Surgery or priapism may cause erectile dysfunction.

Bicycling, less obvious, but of increasing importance, has been the possible association of erectile dysfunction with bicycling. Anything that places prolonged pressure on the pudendal and cavernosal nerves or compromises blood flow to the penile artery can result in penile numbness and impotence.

Cycling-induced impotence is primarily a problem of serious cyclists and has been reported to occur in Norwegian men competing in a 540 km bicycle race.

The penile numbness is attributed to the pressure on the perineal nerves whereas the erectile dysfunction is thought to be due to a decrease in oxygen pressure in the pudendal arteries.

Recreational cyclists, those who cycle for less than 3 hours per week and men who cycle in a reclining position avoid the sustained intense pressure on the penile nerve and artery and are less likely to experience sexual side effects. Continued cycling in a seated upright position can reduce the penile oxygen levels lasting 10 minutes.