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Dr K K Aggarwal

Tips for preventing back and spine problems

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • 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.

Relieve stress by changing the interpretation

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Stress is the reaction of the body or the mind to the interpretation of a known situation. Stress management, therefore, involves either changing the situation, changing the interpretation or taming the body the yogic way in such a way that stress does not affect the body.

Every situation has two sides. Change of interpretation means looking at the other side of the situation. It is something like half glass of water, which can be interpreted as half empty or half full.

Studies have shown that anger, hostility and aggression are the new risk factors for heart disease. Even recall of anger has been reported to precipitate a heart attack.

Many studies have shown that when doctors talk positive in front of unconscious patients in ICU, their outcome is better than those in whose presence doctors talk negative.

The best way to practice spiritual medicine is to experience silence in the thoughts, speech and action. Simply walking in the nature with silence in the mind and experiencing the sounds of nature can be as effective as 20 minutes of meditation. He said that 20 minutes of meditation provides the same physiological parameters as that of seven hours of deep sleep.

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

Some health tips from HCFI

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. Be aware of the products you use in your home and on your skin. For example, cleaning products with harsh chemicals.
  2. Eat healthy and include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. They contain fibre and substances that can help in flushing toxins out of your system.
  3. Take steps to combat stress as this lowers your immune system function. Exercise, sleep well, and meditate. You can also opt for yoga to get rid of stress.
  4. Sleep well as it reduces cortisol produced by the body during stress. It also balances leptin, which determines how much food we eat. If our leptin is off balance, most likely the body will feel that it never gets enough food, which leads to overeating.
  5. Reduce or quit smoking and drinking.

Some tips on thyroid disorders from HCFI

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. Hypothyroidism is linked to weight gain. Thus, a person with this condition can find it difficult to lose weight. Consume a diet rich in fibre and low in fat to maintain a healthy weight.
  2. Although it may be difficult to get moving in those with a sluggish thyroid, it is a good idea to push yourself to do some physical activity.
  3. Stress is known to exacerbate thyroid disorders. Do something to reduce those stress levels. It could be yoga, meditation, dance, or anything.
  4. Know the symptoms. Understand what the common symptoms of thyroid cancer are.
  5. Get Tested. Have your GP check for nodules and test TSH levels every few years if you have risk factors for cancer.

Why Spirituality is Friendly to wellbeing

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. What you believe in can have a big impact on health and longevity. 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 are associated with a slower progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
  4. Those who regularly attend organized religious activities may live longer than those who do not. Regular participation lowers mortality rate by about 12 percent 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, the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate all go down, which decreases the body’s stress response.
  8. Spirituality can affect function of the immune system. 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. Positive talking and thinking in the ICU produces better results.
  10. 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 entirely my own.

Some tips from HCFI to manage workplace stress.

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. Form positive relationships and take your colleagues into confidence when you feel a task is getting out of hand.
  2. Start your day by eating a healthy and filling breakfast. This will not only help you concentrate but also ensure that you stay away from stress.
  3. Get enough sleep and do not let work seep into your sleep time. Make sure you go to sleep around the same time every day.
  4. Get about 30 minutes of physical activity every day. This will release endorphins, feel-good hormones that can help uplift your mood.
  5. Prioritize and organize your work. This will ensure that you avoid any backlogs that can spill on to your leisure time.

How to keep your memory sharp?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. Manage your stress, especially pressures of deadlines and petty arguments.
  2. The biggest stress is an ongoing sense of extreme anxiety. This can be managed by deep breathing, meditation, yoga and by mindful approach to living.
  3. Get a good night’s sleep. The most common reason for poor sleep is difficulty in falling asleep and staying asleep. Many drugs are used to treat insomnia, which can also impair memory.
  4. If you need a sleeping medicine, it should be used in the lowest dose for the shortest period of time.
  5. Get up at the same time in the morning.
  6. If you smoke, quit.
  7. If you do not drink, do not start.
  8. Alcohol makes it difficult to perform short term memory tasks such as memorizing list. Alcohol induces vitamin B1 deficiency, which can cause dementia.
  9. Protect your brain from injury as repeated minor head trauma can cause brain damage. Wear seat belt when riding in motor vehicle. Wear helmet while driving or riding motorcycle.

5 ways to keep your memory sharp

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. Manage your stress. .
  2. Get a good nights sleep.
  3. Quit smoking.
  4. If you drink alcohol, avoid drinking too much alcohol,.
  5. Protect your brain from injury.

Think Differently

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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There are three ways to manage stress. One is to think opposite, second is to think different and the third is to think positive.

Thinking opposite was advocated by Patanjali, thinking differently by Adi Shankaracharya and thinking positive by Gautam Buddha. Out of three approaches, the Indian Vedic philosophy focuses on thinking differently. Thinking positive and thinking opposite may not be feasible at the time of any adversity.

Thinking differently has been emphasized in mythology at multiple places. The 10 heads of Ravana, five heads of Brahma, elephant head of Lord Ganesha, fish incarnation of Lord Vishnu and third eye of Lord Shiva remind us of the principle of thinking differently.

We can see or analyze a person or a situation with the eyes of our physical body (physical eye) or eyes of the mind (thinking and analyzing) and eyes of the soul (conscious-based decision).

Lord Buddha once said that a good action should be based on truth, should be necessary and bring happiness both for the person doing it and the society.

The 3H principle advocated in the West is also based on the same principle, which means before any action think from your Head and from the multiple options available, choose from the Heart and then order the Hands to do the job.

The first incarnation of Lord Vishnu, fish, indicates the capacity of swimming against the stream. The third eye of Lord Shiva symbolizes thinking from the mind and choosing the right answer from the heart. The 10 heads of Ravana and five heads of Brahma also denote thinking to get multiple options.

The example of thinking differently comes from the dialogue between Urvashi and Arjuna. Once Urvashi in a mind full of Kama went to Arjuna and said “If you are not going give me a son like you today, I am going to curse you”.

Arjuna was in a dilemma but he thought differently and said – “Why do you want to wait for 25 years to get a son like me from today I am your son, Mother.”(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).

Dealing with Stress

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Stress broadly comprises of three components, namely a “known situation, interpretation of a situation and the physical and mental reaction to that interpretation of the situation”.

Stress is a situation: There cannot be a stress without a situation. One cannot be stressed about some event occurring in USA without knowing the person or the situation. The situation requires familiarity with the particular sensory object (known situation).

Stress is an interpretation of a situation: Without interpretation, stress is not possible. The same situation can be interpreted differently by different people. A stimulus may be stressful to one but not to another.

Stress is a physical and mental response to the interpretation of the situation: Stress manifests because of a chemical imbalance resulting due to sympathetic overactivity, which manifests as mental and or physical symptoms.

Stress, therefore, is the body’s physical and mental response to the interpretation of a situation. Management of stress, therefore, involves either changing the situation, changing the interpretation of the situation or making the body resistant to physical and mental changes in the situation.

Practicing Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga via living a yogic lifestyle, adhering to the various Dos and Dont’s in life as taught in various religious teachings, and learning to meditate help our body to resist these sympathetic–activating changes and handle the stressful situation. These involve proper diet, exercise, meditation and relaxation exercises.

Changing the interpretation of a situation involves counseling. Cognitive behavior therapy used in counseling is one such example. Change in interpretation requires deeper understanding of the problem and removal of the obstacles. This can be done by using Ganesha’s principles of stress management, Rosenburg’s Principle of Non–Violent Communication, or the principles of counseling from Bhagawad Gita.

Change of the situation is the final resort for solving the problem, even though this may not be always possible. For example, in a dispute between husband and wife, divorce should be the last choice, after all counseling efforts have failed to resolve the issue.

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

Spirituality, 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. 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).

Seven Common Causes of Forgetfulness

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Lack of sleep is the most common cause. Too little restful sleep can also lead to mood changes and anxiety, which in turn can contribute to memory impairment.

  • Many drugs can affect memory, which includes tranquilizers, antidepressants, blood pressure drugs and anti–allergic drugs.

  • Low functioning thyroid can affect memory.

  • Drinking too much alcohol can interfere with short–term memory.

  • Stress and anxiety can lead to memory impairment. Both can interfere with attention and block the formation of new memory or retrieval of old memories.

  • Forgetfulness can be a sign of depression or a consequence of it.

  • If you are vegetarian, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause memory impairment.

Seven Common Causes of Forgetfulness

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. Lack of sleep is the most common cause. Too little restful sleep can also lead to mood changes and anxiety, which in turn can contribute to memory impairment.
  2. Many drugs can affect memory, which includes tranquilizers, antidepressants, blood pressure drugs and anti–allergic drugs.
  3. Low functioning thyroid can affect memory.
  4. Drinking too much alcohol can interfere with short–term memory.
  5. Stress and anxiety can lead to memory impairment. Both can interfere with attention and block the formation of new memory or retrieval of old memories.
  6. Forgetfulness can be a sign of depression or a consequence of it.
  7. If you are vegetarian, vitamin B12 deficiency can loss memory impairment.

Cant avoid anger: Take aspirin

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Emotionally stressful events, and more specifically, anger, immediately precede and appear to trigger the onset of acute heart attack. Episodes of anger are capable of triggering the onset of acute heart attack and aspirin can reduce this risk. People who cannot control their anger should ask their doctors to consider taking aspirin.

The Onset Anger Scale identified 39 patients with episodes of anger in the 2 hours before the onset of heart attack. The relative risk of heart attack in the 2 hours after an episode of anger was 23. Regular users of aspirin had a significantly lower relative risk (1.4) than nonusers (2.9). Anger in response to stress is also of particular importance for the development of premature heart attack in young men. An episode of anger may also trigger an acute heart attack in the next 2 hours.

Tips to manage Type 2 diabetes in young adults.

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. Maintain a healthy weight by exercising every day and consuming a healthy diet.
  2. Get your blood glucose levels monitored at regular intervals.
  3. Do not consume refined sugar in any form as this can get absorbed into the blood stream more easily and cause further complications.
  4. Reduce stress through activities such as meditation and yoga.