Header image alt text

Dr K K Aggarwal

Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee

Women are not diagnosed or treated as aggressively as men. Even though more women die of heart disease each year compared to men, they receive only 33% of all angioplasties, stents and bypass surgeries; 28% of implantable defibrillators and 36% of open-heart surgeries, reported the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease. Although the traditional risk factors for coronary artery disease, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity, have a detrimental impact in men and women, certain factors may play a bigger role in the development of heart disease in women.

  • Metabolic syndrome — a combination of increased blood pressure, high blood glucose and triglycerides — has a greater impact on women than men.
  • Mental stress and depression affect women’s hearts more than they affect men’s.
  • Smoking is much worse for women as compared to men.
  • Low estrogen level before menopause is a significant risk factor for developing microvascular disease.
  • Though women will often have some chest pain or discomfort, it may not be the most prominent symptom. Diffuse plaque formation and diseased smaller arteries are two reasons why symptoms can be different in women.
  • In addition to chest pain, pressure or discomfort, signs and symptoms of heart attack in women include: Neck, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort; shortness of breath; nausea or vomiting; sweating; light-headedness or dizziness and unusual fatigue.
  • Endothelial dysfunction is more common in women. The lining of the artery does not expand (dilate) properly to boost blood flow during activity, thus increasing the risk of coronary artery spasm and sudden death.
  • WISE study results suggest that the commonly used treatments for coronary artery disease — angioplasty and stenting — are not the best options for women with more diffuse plaques.
  • Typical tests for coronary artery disease — angiogram, treadmill testing and others — are not reliable in women.
  • The WISE study showed that in some women, plaques accumulate as an evenly spread layer along artery walls, which may not be identified using traditional testing methods.

Ganga, Jamuna and Saraswati, the trio Sangam in Allahabad, is believed to be the holiest place in the country where taking a dip can wash away all past sins. After death, ashes are also submerged in Ganga water 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 ki 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, which can happen 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.

Middle-aged women who tend to move around more in their daily life have lower levels of intra-abdominal fat, which is a known risk factor for heart disease. A slight modification in daily routine – reducing the time watching TV or increasing the walk time to work – can make a difference in the long-term health.

Visceral fat is a hot topic because of metabolic syndrome, which predisposes people to diseases.

Intra-abdominal fat, or the fat that is present around the organs in the abdomen and chest, usually accumulate at midlife and can play a role in developing diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. The fat around the organs is known to be related to heart disease and diabetes. A woman does not necessarily need to appear outwardly heavy to have troublesome extra fat around her organs.

Exercise for long has been known to reduce the amount of intra-abdominal fat.

Satt means ‘truth or knowingness’

Chitta means ‘consciousness-based’

Ananda means ‘bliss or inner happiness’

The soul in Vedic description is described as Sattchittaananda. People in touch with their soul speak the truth, take consciousness-based decisions and experience inner happiness.

The great rishis of India have described a formula of how to be in touch with your soul and get inner happiness. The formula is based on three questions, which you should ask yourself before performing any action.

  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is it consciousness-based?
  3. Will it give happiness?

If the answer to all three is ‘yes’, go ahead. In other words, if the answer to any of the three is ‘no’, do not perform that action.

Later on, many dharma groups modified this formula for their own use.

1. Buddha’s Law of Action summarizes these questions as:

  • Is it the truth?
  • Is it necessary?
  • Will it bring happiness to me?
  • Will it bring happiness to others?

If the answer to any of the question is ‘no’, then do not do that action.

2. Buddha’s Law of Speech summarizes the questions as:

  • Is it the truth?
  • Is it necessary?
  • Is it kind?

If the answer to any of the question is ‘no’, do not speak.

3. The Rotary four-way test comprises of:

  • Is it the truth?
  • Is it fair to all concerned?
  • Will it build goodwill and better friendship?
  • Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

If the answer to any of the question is ‘no’, do not perform that deed.

4. Formula of three H: Head, Heart and Hand

Before doing any action, ask your head for the choices. Then listen to the heart to give you the best consciousness-based advice and finally order the hand to do the action.

5. The formula Satyam Shivam Sundaram is based again on three questions: Is it the truth; is it God (consciousness-based); and is it going to build my inner beauty (happiness).

6. ‘May I help you?’ is another formula given in Srimad Bhagwad where once you agree to help, you end up with truth, tapa of hard work, purity of mind and daan or charity.

  • Exercise for 80 minutes a day and brisk exercise 80 minutes a week.
  • The speed of walking should be at least 80 steps per minute.
  • Do resistance or weight-bearing exercises twice in a week.
  • Avoid doing strenuous exercises for the first time in life after the age of 40.
  • Ayurveda says that one should exercise to his or her body type.
  • Diabetics who exercise should not exercise if blood sugar is lower than 90.
  • In conditions of smog, avoid walking early in the morning till sunlight appears.

Fasting and starvation are two different terms commonly confused with each other.

Starvation means not eating or drinking altogether, while fasting means control and restrain of five sensory and five motor senses.

During fasting, one may continue eating or drinking but under discipline. Vedic fasting or spiritual fasting is mentioned in Karam Kanda in Yajurveda. Every fast in our mythology has a scientific basis and rituals are added so that the common man can follow it.

Different exercises produce different impacts on the knee joints. The best and safest exercises causing minimum impact on the knee for patients post knee replacement or knee arthritis are walking, biking, hiking, riding an exercise bike, riding an elliptical trainer and walking on the treadmill. In sports, one can play doubles tennis and not singles. One can also participate in downhill or cross-country skiing.

The maximum stress-producing exercises are jogging and golf swings.

Impact

Biking produces the minimum force, yielding an impact of about 1.3 times the person’s body weight.
Treadmill walking is next best, producing forces of 2.05 times the body weight.
Walking on level ground generates forces of 2.6 times the body weight.
Playing tennis generates forces of 3.1 to 3.8 times the body weight; serving produces the highest impact.
Jogging produces forces of 4.3 times body weight.
Golf swings produce forces of 4.5 times body weight on the forward knee and 3.2 times body weight in the opposite knee.

As per Garud Puran and Hindu mythology, one of the reasons for suffering is the debts of your past birth. Your purpose of life is to face sufferings to pay these debts. The second reason is your present deeds till today starting from birth. If your sum total of bad deeds is more than good deeds, they get added to your previous birth’s debts.

The third reason for suffering is the form of struggle, which you entertain to attain future success. Some people do not call it as suffering.

The last reason for suffering is that some people acquire yogic powers to take on the sufferings of others. The classical examples are Shirdi Sai Baba and Jesus Christ who were known to cure others by adding their suffering to their own account. Most Gods or holy people had suffered in their last time, be it Jesus Christ, Krishna, Buddha or Sai Baba. Only Rishi Munis can remain alive and die at will even after they have paid for all their debts.

Top 10 ways to keep the kidneys healthy

Filed Under Wellness  | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on Top 10 ways to keep the kidneys healthy

  1. Monitor blood pressure and cholesterol.
  2. Control weight.
  3. Dont overuse over-the-counter painkillers.
  4. Monitor blood glucose.
  5. Get an annual physical exam.
  6. Know if chronic kidney disease (CKD), diabetes or heart disease runs in your family. If so, you may be at risk.
  7. Dont smoke.
  8. Exercise regularly.
  9. Follow a healthy diet.
  10. Get tested for chronic kidney disease if youre at risk.

Wahans (Vehicles) In Mythology

Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals  | Tagged With: , , , | | Comments Off on Wahans (Vehicles) In Mythology

In mythological world, the negative tendency of an individual is symbolized with animal nature. Gods in Indian mythology have been symbolized as living a positive behavior. Every God has a vehicle or Wahan. Both God and the Wahan symbolize how to live a positive life and how to control the animal tendencies.

A few examples:

  • Lord Ganesha’s vehicle is a Mouse. Mouse in mythology symbolizes greed and Ganesha is the one who removes obstacles. The spiritual meaning behind the two is “one should learn to control greed to tackle obstacles in life”.
  • Lord Shiva rides Nandi, the Bull. Bull symbolizes uncontrolled sexual desires. The duo signifies that to learn meditation, one needs to control sexual desires first.
  • Saraswati is the Goddesses of knowledge. She is depicted sitting on a Swan, which symbolizes that to acquire knowledge, one must learn to control the power of discrimination or Vivek. A swan can drink milk and leave water from a mixture of milk and water.
  • Indra has complete control over the intellect. He is shown riding on the elephant Airavat. This symbolizes that intellect (Indra) can be developed by controlling Masti and madness (elephant).
  • Durga symbolizes the perfect woman. Ma Durga rides a lion. This symbolizes that to become a perfect woman, one must learn to control agitation or aggression (lion).
  • Lakshmi symbolizes wealth. Lakshmi riding an owl symbolizes that to earn righteously, one must learn to control the owl-like properties within us, which is not to get befooled.
  • Lord Vishnu (the doer) rides eagle or Garuda. Eagles are opportunistic predators. They eat almost anything they can find. This means controlling desires to eat unbalanced meals.
  • Krishna riding five horses means one needs to control the five senses.
  • Kartikeya rides on Peacock. This symbolizes that one should learn to control one’s pride (vanity) or ego.
  • Goddess Kali rides a black goat, Agni rides Mesha – a ram, Kubera, the God of wealth, also rides a ram. A ram is an uncastrated adult male sheep. Goat also signifies uncontrolled sexual desires but lesser than the bull.
  • Yamraj rides a buffalo, which is known for its rampant destruction. Lord Yama or Yamraja is referred to as the God of death, lord of justice, Dharma Raja. One can do justice only if one knows how to control anger and aggressive behavior.

Poor hygiene habits may lead to typhoid

Filed Under Wellness  | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on Poor hygiene habits may lead to typhoid

Typhoid fever is caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi and is transmitted through the ingestion of food or drink contaminated by the feces or urine of infected people.

Insects feeding on feces may occasionally transfer the bacteria to humans due to poor hygiene habits and public sanitation conditions. Though the cases occur all through the year, the number is higher during the summer and rainy seasons.

Symptoms usually develop 1 to 3 weeks following exposure, and may be mild or severe, including high fever, malaise, headache, constipation or diarrhea and enlarged spleen and liver. A healthy carrier state may follow acute illness.

Typhoid fever can be treated with antibiotics. However, resistance to common antibiotics is widespread. Healthy carriers should be excluded from handling food. Good sanitation and hygiene are critical measures to prevent typhoid.

  • Typhoid does not affect animals and therefore transmission occurs only from human to human.
  • Typhoid can only spread in conditions where human feces or urine can come into contact with food or drinking water.
  • Careful food preparation and hand washing are the cornerstones of typhoid prevention.
  • In most cases, typhoid fever is not fatal.
  • Prompt treatment with antibiotics limits the case fatality rate to about 1%.
  • If left untreated, typhoid fever may persist for three weeks to a month.
  • Resistance to common antibiotics is widespread.
  • Typhoid resistant to common antibiotics is known as multidrug-resistant typhoid (MDR typhoid).
  • Ciprofloxacin resistance is a common problem, especially in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
  • Azithromycin is a new drug for drug-resistant typhoid.
  • Typhoid vaccine taken every three years is the best preventive approach.

The message of Rakshabandhan is that of love and purity

Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals  | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on The message of Rakshabandhan is that of love and purity

India is a land of diverse faith and myriad cultures. The festival of Rakhi, though rooted in mythology and ancient Indian history, has not really been understood for what it actually represents.

Rakhi traditionally celebrates the bond of love between a brother and a sister. Tying of rakhi, exchanging of sweets, a gift from the brother to his sister/s –this is the common perception and this is how most of us celebrate this festival.

But how many of us have given a thought to what this bond actually denotes?

First and foremost, Rakhi is synonymous with purity of the relationship and purity of the self and therefore of the soul. It is not just a thread tied by the sister on her brother’s wrist whereby the brother pledges to protect her from any worldly harm. In a broader spectrum, it is a chance to free oneself from one’s internal enemies, the vices. A man is pulled down by his negative energies and the festival of Rakhi gives him a chance to retrospect and pull out of that dark side.

This colored thread with multiple decorations and motifs is tied not necessarily only by one’s sister, but can be tied by any woman who shares a platonic relationship with a man. There is a complete absence of a physical relationship and has no age or space barriers between the two connected by this sacred thread. Simultaneously, it is absurd to think that a mere child or one who stays miles away would be able to offer protection to his “rakhi” sister. The issue which is of prime importance here is the bond of spiritual love established between two individuals of the opposite gender.

The message of Rakshabandhan is that of love and purity. It can be viewed as a thread tied on behalf of God to set us on the right path.

The initial representation of Rakhi as a pledge to protect the sister and her right to be protected by the brother has gained wide propagation due to the fact that in Indian history and mythology there have been instances when this aspect of the festival has been highlighted. Rani Karnavati sent a rakhi to the Mughal Emperor Humayun to ask for help when she was besieged by enemies. In the realm of the Gods, we have Indrani tying a rakhi on Lord Indra. There is also the tradition of tying rakhi by a Brahmin to a Yajman.

Tips to relieve heartburn

Filed Under Wellness  | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on Tips to relieve heartburn

  • Avoid foods that seem to trigger your symptoms.
  • Eat small portions and dont overeat; chew food slowly and completely.
  • Avoid smoking, eating quickly, chewing gum, and drinking carbonated beverages as they lead to swallowing excess air.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Get enough rest.
  • Dont lie down within 2 hours of having a meal.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.

(Source: Harvard Healthbeat)

The science behind observing Shradhs

Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals  | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on The science behind observing Shradhs

According to the Vedas, every individual has three debts to be paid off – firstly, of the Devtas (Dev Rin), secondly of Guru and teachers (Rishi Rin) and, thirdly, of Ancestors (Pitra Rin). From the scientific point of view, devtas represent people with Daivik qualities; teachers the ones who have taught us and Pitra, three generations of our ancestors. Rin from scientific point of view would mean unfinished desires or tasks.

The rituals scientifically would mean detaching oneself from the guilt of unfinished tasks of our ancestors by detoxifying our mind.

Debt means desires of our ancestors that had not been fulfilled during their lifetime. The responsibility to fulfil them automatically falls onto the eldest son in the family and they need to be carried out. If not, it is a sign of guilt disorder in the family and may present with loss of wealth, loss of direction and courage and health. The resultant problems faced were called Pitra Dosh in mythology.

The ritual of performing Shradhs originated to remove this guilt and the resultant illnesses. Shradh has many components:

  • Tarpan (offering water to the ancestors while reciting Mantras)
  • Arpan (preparing food what the ancestors used to like on the day of Shradh)
  • Brahmin bhoj (offering Satvik food to Brahmins)
  • Pind Daan (offering black sesame, Kusha Grass, Jwar and boiled or baked rice); observed by some
  • Observing a spiritual holiday or incubation period (taking a break from the routine worldly desires and going to a distant place like Gaya)
  • Remembrance: Once the unfulfilled desires of the ancestors are over, remembering our ancestors every year on the day of their death anniversary.

In the rituals, Tarpan of Jal (water) is offered to ancestors. Jal in mythology means flow of thoughts and offering Jal in mythology equates to confession and getting connected. Tarpan is always done with an aim to purify the mind and wash off the guilt.

Tarpan is always done after the desires of our ancestors have been fulfilled by the person performing the Shradh. Tarpan and Arpan on the day of Shradh mean getting connected to our consciousness and informing that all the unfinished tasks are over so that we can get rid of the long persisting guilt from our mind. Offering and making food which was liked by our ancestors on that day is just to remember and pay respect to them.

Confession is only possible in a Satwik state of mind, which requires eating of Satwik food for a few days. The ritual of offering Satwik food to Brahmins during the Shradh means making only Satwik food on that day so that everyone in the family is forced to eat Satwik food during Shradhs.

Pind Daan denotes medicinal ways of detaching oneself from the guilt. All the four offerings (black sesame, Kusha grass, Jwar and boiled or roasted rice) in Ayurveda have been described to detoxify the mind and making it Satwik by removing Rajas and Tamas.

If the guilt does not go by repeated Shradhs, then one is required to go for a spiritual vacation during Shradh period so that he is away from the worldly desires for a few days before the Shradh and this is what going to Gaya means. This spiritual retreat works like an incubation period to the disturbed mind and gets rid of the disturbed mind and allows the undisturbed state of mind to confess and purify.

The Pitra ceremonies are usually performed either on Amavasya every month (period of most negativity in a month) or on the death anniversary or the Hindu Tithi (day) of the death of the ancestors coinciding with the day during Shradh days. If the date of death is not known then the Shradh is observed on Amavasya.

Some people perform Shradh for full 15 days and others perform it from the first day till the day of their ancestors’ Shradh.

It is said that once a Shradh is successfully performed or Gaya Shradh is performed, there is no need to perform Shradh rituals thereafter. Once the guilt is over, there is no need for further detoxification of the mind. After that the only ritual that needs to be performed is remembrance, which is usually performed on the death anniversary of the deceased ancestor, usually by doing some charity on their names.

One is not supposed to do auspicious things during Shradh as during this period, the mind is in a process of detoxification.

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

Eating refined sugar can cause diabetes

Filed Under Wellness  | Tagged With: , | | Comments Off on Eating refined sugar can cause diabetes

  • Eating too much refined white sugar can cause insulin resistance and future diabetes.
  • If one has diabetes, it does not mean that he/she cannot have desserts forever. While eating too many sugary foods should be avoided, one can have an occasional dessert, especially if one exercises and otherwise eats healthy. It’s better to substitute brown sugar or Jaggery in that case. Artificial sweeteners including stevia are the other options.
  • Fruits are healthy for diabetics but cannot be consumed in huge amounts, as they contain carbohydrates.
  • As per Ayurveda, diabetes is a Kapha disorder and diabetics should limit the intake of sweet, salt and sour taste in the diet. Bitter and dark green fruits and vegetables have anti-diabetic properties.
  • One should combine a bitter taste with a sweet taste when choosing a vegetable or a fruit. For example, one should not combine peas with potatoes but one can combine potatoes with fenugreek (methi) leaves or spinach (palak).
  • Diabetics are not more susceptible to colds and other illnesses but may have more complications of flu.
  • Taking insulin does not cause hardening of the arteries or high blood pressure.
  • Diabetes is not contagious and one cannot catch diabetes from someone else.