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Dr K K Aggarwal

Precautions to stay healthy during the winter months

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • To prevent winter depression, one should either sit in the sunlight for long or stay in indoor spaces with illuminated light.
  • Early morning blood pressure is higher in winter than in the summer months. Therefore, people with high blood pressure should ask their doctor to increase their blood pressure medicine during the winters.
  • There are more heart attacks in the winter months than in the summer months and therefore, any chest pain especially in the morning in winter should not be ignored.
  • During the winter season, one should avoid food that is excessively sweet, sour or salty
  • Everyone should ask their doctor for pneumonia and flu vaccine.
  • Pneumonia during the winters can be deadly in very young and old people. The flu vaccine should be given to all those who are at high risk, especially, people with asthma, diabetes and heart diseases.
  • During the winters, one should avoid sleeping in closed rooms with electric gadgets like heaters on
  • One should check the earthing of all the electric devices especially the geyser
  • One should avoid using sugar while preparing sweets; instead one can use either Stevia or jaggery especially in Gajar Ka Halwa.
  • One should avoid switching from one temperature to another without giving their body time for adjustment.
  • Vitamin D is essential for good health. Each person should spend 40 minutes in the sunlight each day, especially before 10 am and after 4 pm.

Prevention is always better than cure. A little extra care can help make the holiday months, more enjoyable and heart healthy.

Winter can be divided into wet and dry winter. Wet or early winter is characterized by fall in temperature along with high humidity. Environmentally, we see fog and smog during this season. Dry or late winter on the other hand is characterized by absence of fog, smog and presence of chilly airy winds.
Most hypothermia illnesses occur in dry late winter. The transition phase between wet and dry winter is on the day of Lohri. In terms of Ayurveda, this means shifting from Kapha to Vata atmosphere. The onset of dry winter is also the time for accelerated movement disorders in the body. Accelerated hypertension, arrhythmias, paroxysmal atrial tachycardia, brain hemorrhage, heart attack etc. all occur when dry late winter starts.
The correct lifestyle in this season has been defined in Ayurveda and it involves reducing consumption of stringent, bitter and pungent foods

Winter is the Month of depression and Uttarayana Start of an Optimistic Form of Mind

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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In Indian mythology, the word “Sankranti” relates to any transformation or change. Makar Sankranti, which falls on 14th of January, one day after Lohri, indicates change in the direction of the sun, as it starts moving north resulting into longer days and shorter nights. In Hindu mythology, it is called Uttarayana. This was the period during Mahabharat when Bhishma Pitamah waited for his death. The Uttarayana and Dakshinayana are not only time periods mentioned in the Vedic literature but also represent the states of mind. Uttarayana means a period for a positive state of mind and Dakshinayana a period for relatively negative state of mind. A positive state of mind in Uttarayana makes meditation easier in this period and more fruitful. Beginners should learn the process of meditation and pranayama during this period. Bhagwad Gita talks about Moksha and liberation. Those who believe in the philosophy of rebirth know that once a soul is liberated at death, a person is not reborn. For others who believe that hell and heaven are in this birth only, liberation means dying peacefully and without sufferings. The theory of rebirth is well described in Bhagwad Gita in Chapter 8. The gist of Lord Krishna’s teaching is: • Whatever you think throughout your life will be your thought at the time of death. • Whatever is the state of mind at the time of death will be the atmosphere you will get in the rebirth. For example if your state of mind is in cruelty at the time of death, you will be born in a cruel family. • If you are relaxed, thinking of God or chanting AUM at the time of death, there are chances your soul will be liberated. • Fire, illumination, daytime, fortnight before full moon and Uttarayana are the paths for liberation. It means these are the periods/ways for spontaneous positive thinking. From mental health point of view, this knowledge can be converted into medical prescription. Uttarayana means satwik healthy state of mind and dakshinayana means a depressed state of mind. Performing and attending to Yagna, sitting in well–illuminated light or exposing oneself to sunlight during the day can be an adjunct to depression treatment. During the first fortnight of full moon and during Uttarayana, psychotherapy and counseling invariably will work better and the requirement of drugs may get reduced. Uttarayana is also the period for ‘Snana’ (bath); ‘Daan’ (charity); ‘Dhyana’ (concentration), ‘Upwas’ (detoxification) and ‘Sun worship’ (Sunbath). Snana means cleansing of the body, mind and the soul and combined with fast or ‘upwas’ and sun bath is the procedure for detoxification. Once the body is detoxified, it’s in a positive state of mind, can concentrate better and gets detached to material things. One should also start donating in charity whatever one has in excess. Uttarayana can also be described in chakra language. From mooladhara chakra to anahata chakra is the Dakshinayana path and from anahata chakra to ajna chakra is the Uttarayana path. Those who travel on the Uttarayana path travel from anahata chakra. Those who travel on the Dakshinayana path start from mooladhara.

Winter is the Month of depression and Uttarayana Start of an Optimistic Form of Mind

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , , | | Comments Off on Winter is the Month of depression and Uttarayana Start of an Optimistic Form of Mind

In Indian mythology, the word “Sankranti” relates to any transformation or change. Makar Sankranti, which falls on 14th of January, one day after Lohri, indicates change in the direction of the sun, as it starts moving north resulting into longer days and shorter nights. In Hindu mythology, it is called Uttarayana. This was the period during Mahabharat when Bhishma Pitamah waited for his death.

The Uttarayana and Dakshinayana are not only time periods mentioned in the Vedic literature but also the state of minds. Uttarayana means a period for a positive state of mind and Dakshinayana a period for relatively negative state of mind. A positive state of mind in Uttarayana makes meditation easier in this period and more fruitful. Beginners should learn the process of meditation and pranayama during this period.

Bhagwad Gita talks about Moksha and liberation. Those who believe in the philosophy of rebirth know that once a soul is liberated at death, a person is not reborn. For others who believe that hell and heaven are in this birth only, liberation means dying peacefully and without sufferings.

The theory of rebirth is well described in Bhagwad Gita in Chapter 8. The gist of Lord Krishna’s teaching is:

1. Whatever you think throughout your life will be your thought at the time of death.
2. Whatever is the state of mind at the time of death will be the atmosphere you will get in the rebirth. For example if your state of mind is in cruelty at the time of death, you will be born in a cruel family.
3. If you are relaxed, thinking of God or chanting AUM at the time of death, there are chances your soul will be liberated.
4. Fire, illumination, daytime, fortnight before full moon and Uttarayana are the paths for liberation. It means these are the periods/ways for spontaneous positive thinking.

From mental health point of view, this knowledge can be converted into medical prescription. Uttarayana means satwik healthy state of mind and dakshinayana means a depressed state of mind. Performing and attending to Yagna, sitting in well–illuminated light or exposing oneself to sunlight during the day can be an adjunct to depression treatment. During the first fortnight of full moon and during Uttarayana, psychotherapy and counseling invariably will work better and the requirement of drugs may get reduced.

Uttarayana is also the period for ‘Snana’ (bath); ‘Daan’ (charity); ‘Dhyana’ (concentration), ‘Upwas’ (detoxification) and ‘Sun worship’ (Sunbath).

Snana means cleansing of the body, mind and the soul and combined with fast or ‘upwas’ and sun bath is the procedure for detoxification. Once the body is detoxified, it’s in a positive state of mind, can concentrate better and gets detached to material things. One should also start donating in charity whatever one has in excess.

Uttarayana can also be described in chakra language. From mooladhara chakra to anahata chakra is the Dakshinayana path and from anahata chakra to ajna chakra is the Uttarayana path. Those who travel on the Uttarayana path travel from anahata chakra. Those who travel on the Dakshinayana path start from mooladhara.

Winter blood pressure 5 mm Hg higher than summer blood pressure

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Winter blood pressure 5 mm Hg higher than summer blood pressure

The systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressures rise and fall with change of season.

In a study by the Institute National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale of Paris and published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine involving 8801 people aged 65 or older, average systolic blood pressure was five points higher during the winter than in summer.

Instances of high blood pressure (systolic blood pressure higher than 159, or diastolic higher than 94 mmHg) in the study were found in 33.4 percent of participants during winter but just 23.8 percent during summer.

The reason could be related to the baroreflex, a mechanism of blood pressure regulation that is modified in elderly subjects or a function of the sympathetic nervous system, which helps control involuntary actions such as stress response. A 5 mm change in blood pressure can explain why more heart patients die in winter.

Winter Is the Month of depression and Uttarayana Start of Optimistic Form of Mind

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In Indian mythology, the word “Sankranti” relates to any transformation or change. Makar Sankranti which fell on 14th of January, one day after the Lohri, indicates change in the direction of the sun, as it starts moving north resulting into longer days and shorter nights.  In Hindu mythology, it is called uttarayana. This was the period during Mahabharat when Bhishma Pitamah waited for his death.

The uttarayana and dakshinayana are not only time periods mentioned in the Vedic literature but also the state of minds. Uttarayana means a period for a positive state of mind and Dakshinayana a period for relatively negative state of mind. A positive state of mind in Uttarayana makes meditation easier in this period and more fruitful.  Beginner should learn the process of meditation and pranayama during this period.

Bhagwad Geeta talks about Moksha and liberation. Those who believe in the philosophy of rebirth know that once a soul is liberated at death, a person is not reborn.  For others who believe that hell and heaven are in this birth only, liberation means dying peacefully and without sufferings.

The theory of rebirth is well described in Bhagwad Geeta in Chapter 8. The gist of Lord Krishna’s teaching is:

1. Whatever you think throughout your life will be your thought at the time of death.

2. Whatever is the state of mind at the time of death will be the atmosphere you will get in the rebirth. For example if your state of mind is in cruelty at the time of death, you will be born in a cruel family.

3. If you are relaxed, thinking of God or Chanting AUM at the time of death, there are chances your soul will be liberated.

4. Fire, illumination, daytime, fortnight before the full moon and Uttarayana are the paths for liberation. It means these are the periods / ways for spontaneous positive thinking.

From mental health point of view, this knowledge can be converted into medical prescription.  Uttarayana means satwic healthy state of mind and dakshinayana means a depressed state of mind. Performing and attending to Yagna, sitting in well illuminated light or exposing oneself to the day sunlight can be an adjunct to depression treatment. During the first fortnight of full moon and during uttarayana, the psychotherapy and counseling invariable will work better and the requirement of drugs may get reduced.

Uttarayana is also the period for ‘Snana’ (bath); ‘Daan’ (charity); ‘Dhayana’ (concentration), ‘Upvas’ (detoxification) and ‘Sun worship’ (Sunbath).

Snana means cleansing of the body, mind and the soul and combined with fast or ‘ upvas’ and sun  bath is the procedure for detoxification. Once the body is detoxified it’s in a positive state of mind, can concentrate better and gets detached to material things. One should also start donating in charity whatever one has in excess.

Uttarayana can also be described in chakra language. From mooladhara chakra to anahata chakra is the dakshinayana path and from anahata chakra to ajna chakra is the uttarayana path.  Those who travel on the uttarayana path travel from anahata chakra. Those who travel on the dakshinayana path start from mooladhara.

Winter Exercise Tips for Asthmatics

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Exercise is a common trigger for asthma and may cause symptoms in 80-90% of asthmatics. Cold dry winter air can also make breathing difficult for asthmatics, which may result in shortness of breath, wheezing, cough or chest tightness. The symptoms can occur during, just after or several hours after exercise.

The Heart Care Foundation of India released few exercise tips for asthmatics during the winter season.

  • Get your asthma fully controlled during winter
  • Cooling and drying of the bronchial airways can trigger an asthma attack.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise in cold dry air.
  • Avoid winter sports, such as skiing, snowboarding, or ice skating.
  • Use the bronchodilator inhalers, 20 minutes prior to exercise.
  • Keep the inhalers warm in order to avoid a cold aerosol spray.
  • “Warm-up” and “cool-down” after strenuous exercise.
  • When exercising in cold air, wear a scarf or facemask over the nose and mouth to warm the air one is breathing.
  • Drink plenty of liquids before and after exercise to prevent drying of the airways.
  • Exercise indoors when outdoor temperatures drop.

There is a seasonal pattern of deaths from heart attacks with more fatal events (20 to 30 percent variation) occurring in the winter than the summer. But this seasonal pattern is absent in diabetics or those taking beta blockers or aspirin.

The heart attack trends are independent of gender, geographic location, age, and the type of heart attack (ST elevation or non-ST elevation). In-hospital mortality fatality rates for heart attack also follow a seasonal pattern, with a peak of 9 percent in winter and 8.4% in the summer.

Deaths from heart attack are highest in January and lowest in September, with a relative risk difference of 18.6 percent.

About the author: Dr K K Aggarwal is Padmashri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee, President Heart Care Foundation of India, Dean Board of Medical Education Moolchand Medcity, Sr. Physician & Cardiologist, Chairman Ethics Committee Delhi Medical Council, Visiting professor Clinical Research DIPSAR, Past President Delhi Medical Association and Past Academic and Research Wing Heads IMA.