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Dr K K Aggarwal

Why should we eat seasonal fruits and vegetables?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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God will grow only those fruits and vegetables, which are necessary in that season in that particular location. For example, during summer, the body requires more liquids and regular flushing of the kidney because of extreme heat so that dehydration does not damage kidney. To prevent this, nature produces vegetables and fruits in this season that are juicier and increase urination.

All summer fruits like mango, lichi, watermelon, musk melon, wood apple (bel), etc. are juicy fruits. All vegetables grown in summer such as bottle gourd (ghiya), snake gourd (torai), apple gourd (tinda) grow on creepers and they all have a mild diuretic action.

In summer, where the humidity is not so high like in Delhi, one need not take coconut water, which is only required as a treatment of humidity–related diseases. Therefore, nature grows coconuts only in the coastal areas.

White Rice Most Dangerous

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • White rice is much more dangerous in terms of glycemic index than white bread. It has glycemic index of 102.
  • We often tell people not to take a cola drink but they end up in eating white bread. The glycemic index for white bread is 100% and that for cola drink is 90%.
  • Traditional Indian drinks like Rooh Afza, Khas Khas may also contain more than 10% sugar.
  • The recommended sugary drink does not contain more than 2–3% sugar, which is the amount present in oral rehydration solution.
  • People leave a cola drink and take mashed potato which has glycemic index of more than that of a cola drink (102 versus 90).
  • Pizza has a glycemic index of only 86. So it is better to eat pizza than fried white rice or taking white bread.
  • Table sugar has a glycemic sugar of 84 and jam of 95.
  • French fries have a glycemic index of only 95.
  • To avoid refined carbohydrates in diet, if one has to choose than most dangerous is white rice, followed by white bread and then comes white sugar.
  • Most people add sugar in food and snacks because sugar is preservative. Less the sugar earlier the food will be spoiled.

What a Doctor should know about a Christian patient?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Christians believe in the doctrine of the holy trinity which affirms that there are only three persons in one God – Father, son (Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit.

Christians believe that Jesus is both fully divine and fully human. The basic tenet of Christianity is Jesus. By his life, death and resurrection (return to divine), he has broken the bonds of death and one eternal life for all.

Christians strive to develop unconditional love and care for others. Jesus provided a different model of suffering and the sufferings are the means of redeeming human mind. Some Christians consider their sufferings as punishment for sin. Christians believe in prayers, rituals, meditation and formal religious services.

Some people choose to fast on particular religious holy days. Catholic Christians fast and abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Some abstain from eating meat on all Fridays of the year but hospitalized or ill patients are excused from these rituals.

Death is seen in Christianity as a natural part of life. Some Christians welcome death as an opportunity to realize union with the God. Christians belief in the afterlife is based on the resurrection of the Christ. The family, friends, priests or ministers pray or sit at the bedside of the dying person.

Children and adolescents with congenital heart disease should avoid body piercing

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Children and teenagers with congenital heart disease should be strongly discouraged from getting a tattoo or piercing their ears or other body parts, because it could lead to a potentially deadly infection of the heart called endocarditis.

Infective endocarditis occurs when bacteria or fungi attaches and begins to grow on the valves of the heart. If left untreated, it can lead to a fatal destruction of heart muscle.

Most people are not aware that they should talk to their doctor before tattooing or piercing their body.

Body art in the form of tattoos and piercing has become increasingly popular among children and teenagers.

Most experts today strongly discourage all forms of body art. For those who cannot be dissuaded, the recommendation is to give antibiotics prior to tattooing or piercing, “with strong advice for prompt treatment of any signs of subsequent infection”.

Vedic Science behind Post– traumatic Stress Disorder

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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PTSD is a type of stress that lasts for up to 13 days if handled properly and for months or years if not handled after an acute stress. This can be a serious disorder.

The reference to mourning a death can be found in the Vedic literature. There is a custom that the grieved partner is made to weep till she or he is overwhelmed with emotions. In fact, all relatives and friends participate in the exercise, depending upon their respective closeness to the deceased.

In the antim yatra most relatives join and after that the grieved person is made to sit for 90 minutes every day as a part of the ceremony which either ends on chautha or tervi where again everybody known gather together to end the ceremony. Thereafter, normal activities of life are resumed.

In some sections of the society there is also a custom of shaving the head or doing ‘daan’ of hairs and or wearing white clothes.

Is there a scientific explanation for these customs? The plausible explanation are many and are based on the observation that a grieved person may go into depression, which if not treated properly may last for months together, or even forever. For example the acute stress after the death of somebody very close will be called acute traumatic stress and the condition Post–Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Clot dissolving therapy or angioplasty in early acute heart attacks

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Outcomes are comparable between primary removal of clot in heart artery with stent angioplasty and clot dissolving drugs in patients with ST–elevation heart attacks who present early.

Results of STREAM study

  • Stent angioplasty is the best if it can be done within one hour of presentation to the hospital
  • In those who presented within three hours of chest pain and stent angioplasty cannot be done in one hour, there was no difference between the two treatments (stent angioplasty of clot dissolving drugs) in the primary composite end point of major adverse cardiovascular events at 30 days.

Comments: In most non busy cardiac centers, stent angioplasty labs needs to be informed and angiographer called for doing the procedure and that take time. In such cases give clot dissolving drugs.

Spiritual prescriptions: Namaskar and Namaste

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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We are virtually nobodies, while the Cosmos is the Ultimate Being

While greeting any one in Hindu culture one takes the name of GOD, the supreme Brahma. It reminds us that we are nothing, every thing is GOD.

This traditional greeting of India has a deep spiritual meaning. It signifies non-arrogance or negation of ego.

NAMASKAR is made of three words: NAMAH + OM + KAR

NAMAH means NOT ME. It is a negation of one’s identity and hence of one’s ego or arrogance. It signifies that I am nothing.

OM is the sound of life, the primordial sound of nature. In Vedic language it signifies soul, the spirit or the GOD.

KAR means shape/form of or manifestation of.

OMKAR therefore signifies manifestation of OM, the UNIVERSE, the cosmos, BRAHMA, SHIVA or GOD. OMKAR is omnipresent and omnipotent.

NAMASKAR therefore indicates that I am nothing while OMKAR is everything. IT also gives respect to the one you say Namaskar. That I am nothing and you are GOD. In Vedantic text we are taught to give respect to atithi (atithi devo bhava).

When you bow to say namaskar, try to get angry. You cannot, because the body posture does not allow you to do so. For an angry posture you must have expansion of the chest wall and not the flexion of the chest wall.

Other schools of thought

NAMASKAR= NAM + AS + KAR

NAM is the root form of NAMAH and has the same meaning as NAMAH – NOT ME. (I am nothing).

AS means “To Be” or “To Exist” … a word derived from Astitva which means existence.

KAR means doer or one who makes or creates. For example, KAR can be seen in the words Kalakar, Chitrakar, Karmkar, Charmkar. In the above words, the suffix kar leads to the meaning of one who creates work.

ASKAR therefore means the creator of all that exists, the GOD.

Namaskar therefore has the same meaning: I am nothing every thing is the GOD

Other meanings

1. Some people interpret NAMAH as “I Bow to”. Ultimately the deeper meaning remains the same. I bow to GOD. Here you are considering the other person as GOD, which is one of Mahavakyas from Chandogya Upanishad in Sam Veda, “Tat Tyam Asi” (you are that).

2. “I salute the Almighty within you.” The true Namaste gesture is accompanied by bowing the head and shoulders slightly. This is a gesture that lessens our sense of ego and self-centeredness, requiring some humility to do it well — whereas shaking hands can be quite an arrogant event.

3. It is a sign of respect and peace

4. I bow to God in you; I love you and I respect you, as there is no one like you.”

5. The word ‘Namo’ can be split into ‘Na’ + ‘Mama’ – meaning ‘Not mine’.

6. In AHIRBUDNYA SAMHITA, Siva explains the meaning of Namah in three ways:

• STULA ARTHA: Gross etymological derivation referring to the inherent nature of the Jeeva as Sesha. Bowing the body is acceptance of the greatness of the one bowed to; when done with the eight angas (limbs), it is ‘Sashtanga’ and is the perfect Namas.

• SUKSHMA ARTHA: Subtle meaning as seen in ‘Nirukta’ when it refers to bowing in thought, word and deed with an understanding of the bowing to be a Sadhyopaya (means).

• PARA ARTHA: Supreme meaning derived from the Shastras thus: NA indicating the Upaya; MA indicating its importance and S indicating Bhagavan, the Siddhopaya.( goal )

NAMASTE

Namaste = NAMAH + TE
Namah means Not Me
Te means “they”.
The literal meaning of NAMASTE hence is “Not me, they”. The word they refer to “GOD”.

NAMASTE = that the doer of everything is not me but the Gods.

Other means of greetings

1. RAM–RAM

2. JAI SHRI KRISHNA

3. HARE KRISHNA

4. JAI SHRI RAM

5. JAI SIYA RAM

6. Sikhs say SAT SHRI AKAL, which means that Truth is the God and is timeless.

7. Sikhs also say WAHE GURUJI KA KHALSA, WAHE GURUJI KI FATEH. This is a declaration that the ultimate victory will be of the Guru and his followers.

8. Muslims say KHUDA HAFIZ, which means Khuda is the Protector.

Children should be screened for the heart before playing any sports

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Sudden cardiac death amongst athletes is a rare but a devastating event. Most victims are usually young and, apparently, healthy but many have underlying undiagnosed heart disease.

As per American Heart Association Guidelines, children and adolescents undergoing athletic training need medical clearance. Majority of sudden deaths amongst athletes are due to malignant irregularities in the heart rhythm such as ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation. The precipitating factors can be prolonged physical training or unaccustomed athletic activities.

In athletes under the age of 35, the most common cause of death is underlying congenital heart disease and for those above the age of 35, it is the presence of blockages of the coronary arteries.

As per Heart Care Foundation of India, in every school/college, the attached doctor should evaluate all students with a 12 step history and examination to rule out high risk cases that need further evaluation.

The Foundation, along the lines of European Society of Cardiology, also recommends an additional standard 12–lead ECG before a medical clearance is given for both competitive as well as recreational athletic activities.

Master athletes who are above the age of 35 will need an additional exercise testing before they can be given a clearance for athletic activity.

Diagnostic echocardiography is indicated when clinical, historical and physical findings suggest possibility of structural heart diseases. Athletes on pacemakers should not engage in sports as bodily collision may damage the pacemaker system.

The 12–element AHA recommendations for pre participation cardiovascular screening of competitive athletes are as follows:

  1. Exertional chest pain/discomfort
  2. Unexplained syncope/near–syncope
  3. Excessive exertional and unexplained dyspnea/fatigue, associated with exercise
  4. Prior recognition of a heart murmur
  5. Elevated systemic blood pressure
  6. Premature death (sudden and unexpected, or otherwise) before age 50 years due to heart disease, in one relative
  7. Disability from heart disease in a close relative <50 years of age
  8. Specific knowledge of certain cardiac conditions in family members: hypertrophic or dilated cardiomyopathy, long–QT syndrome or other ion channelopathies, Marfan syndrome, or clinically important arrhythmias
  9. Heart murmur
  10. Femoral pulses examination to exclude aortic coarctation
  11. Physical features of Marfan syndrome
  12. Brachial artery blood pressure (sitting position, both arms)

Why are coconut and the kalash used in all poojas?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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I f nature wanted you to drink coconut water in non–coastal areas it would not have grown coconuts in the coastal areas is a common naturopathic saying. Coconut water is the treatment for most humidity–related illness in costal areas. It is sterile water and has been used in surgical practice as a sterile fluid. It is also used as a replacement for oral rehydration solution. Hence, because of its many uses it is regarded as the ‘Tree of Life’.

Coconut is one of the most common offerings in a temple, weddings, and festivals, when one acquires a new vehicle or during Grihapravesh or the house warming ceremony etc. It is offered in all sacrificial fires whilst performing the Homa (fire rituals). The coconut is usually split and placed before the Lord and is later distributed as Prasadam. The fiber covering of the dried coconut is removed except for a tuft on the top.

The marks on the coconut make it look like the head of a human being. The splitting of a coconut symbolizes the conquest of the ego. The outer covering represents the body, the juice within, one’s inner tendencies (vasanas) and the white kernel, the mind. One should be as firm as the outer shell of the coconut but the same time as soft like the inner fruit of the coconut.

Also a coconut – Sriphala (fruit of the gods), is the only fruit used to symbolize God while worshipping any deity. It is used in the making of a Purna–Kumbha, (‘purna’ = full, ‘kumbha’ = pot or kalash) an independent object of worship. The earthen pot full of water and with fresh mango leaves and a coconut on top is placed as the main deity or by the side of the deity before starting any Pooja. The pot symbolizes Mother Earth; water, the life–giver, the leaves, life (air) and the coconut, divine consciousness (space). All religious rituals start with the worship of the kalash with coconut as symbol of Lord Ganesha. The coconut is also worshipped as symbol of the Godhead – the three eyes symbolic of the eyes of Lord Shiva. (Trayambaka – Rudra).

Sage Vishwamitra got the first coconut tree grown on this earth by the power of his tapa. Its hard shell inspires one to have tolerance and do hard work for attaining success.

The coconut also symbolizes selfless service. Every part of the tree – the trunk, leaves, fruit, coir etc. are used to make thatches, mats, tasty dishes, oil, soap etc.

Coconut water is used in the preparation of many ayurvedic drugs. The kernel is used to gain strength and improve eyesight. Its water is nourishing. Coconut oil is used to nourish the hair. It has glucose, phosphorous and carbohydrates. Germs cannot penetrate its hard kernel. Ancient Indian healers burnt its outer shell to prepare tooth powder, eyebrow creams and ointments for burns. Coconut milk is made by grating the endocarp and mixing it with warm water. This produces a thick, white liquid called coconut milk which is used extensively used in Asian cooking, for example, in curries. Coconut water from the unripe coconut, on the other hand, is drunk fresh as a refreshing drink.

Tender coconut water is used in the rituals of abhishek, since it is believed to bestow spiritual growth on the seeker.

On the auspicious occasion of Rakhi Purnima (Rakshabandhan), coconuts are thrown into the sea as offerings to Varuna, God of the Sea. In western India, this festival is called Nariyal Purnima (Coconut Full Moon).

The Chhandogya Upanishad by Swami Krishnananda (78) talks about another quality of the coconut that has a spiritual resonance: “The coconut that is raw sticks to the shell. That is the condition of the bound soul. Consciousness sticks to the shell of this body. But in the case of the liberated soul, it is inside the body, no doubt, but is not sticking to the body, even as the dry coconut is not touching the shell. It makes a sound inside if we shake it. It is detached from the shell, though it is there tentatively. Even so, consciousness is not confined to the body, even though it is inside.”

In the Chidakasha Gita by Paramahansa Nityananda, the coconut tree is described as a state of meditation: “At another time all feeling comes to a standstill. Sometime the body becomes quite motionless like a coconut tree”.

Ganesha’s favorite food is made up of a sweet core of candied coconut pulp covered with a layer made of white flour. The insipid outer shell is said to represent the gross physical body, the sweet inside stands for the resplendent soul.

When the Asuras and the Devas churned the milky ocean, Lord Dhanwantri appeared bearing the pot of nectar, which blessed one with everlasting life. Thus, the kalasha also symbolizes immortality.

Heart Aphorisms: Ten Commandments for a Healthy Heart

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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‘Prevention is better than cure, nothing more apt to keep heart assure’

  • Exercise and walking keeps heart talking
  • High blood pressure puts heart under pressure
  • Eating more salt makes heart halt
  • Smoking thrills but kills
  • Tobacco invitation to cancer death and destruction
  • Rich fat food does heart no good
  • Larger the waist line shorter the heart line
  • Hard drink pushes heart to brink
  • Heart attack immediate medication only solution
  • Smoking and health you cannot chose both

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.
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 the body releases in response to stress.

2. Positive thinking produces nearly a 30 percent 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 percent 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, 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.

Punishment for a Rapist

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • One needs to distinguish between paraphiliac and non–paraphiliac rapists. Paraphiliac rapists have excessive sexual desire. Paraphiliac offenders commit sex offences because they are sexually aroused by the act. On the other hand, non–paraphiliac sex offenders are instigated by violations or ego–hurt or for taking revenge.
  • One may lose intellect under the influence of alcohol and may end up raping somebody if instigated.
  • Chemical castration is reversible and the effect of the injection lasts only 3–6 months. The injections are costly and need to be given by medical doctors.
  • Chemical castration in the long run leads to thinning of the bone (osteoporosis), feminine characteristics and increased tendency for cardiovascular diseases.
  • Chemical castration drugs are not safe and healthy.
  • In the long run influential people convicted for chemical castration will start paying bribes to doctors and get a water injection in place of chemical castration injection.
  • Chemical castration does not mean dissolving the male organ with a chemical. It only means reducing the blood testosterone levels to that of pre–puberty levels.
  • Non–injectable oral drugs, which block the action of testosterone are costlier and need to be taken every day. Therefore, they cannot be a part of chemical castration as punishment.
  • Surgical removal of testis will remove sexual desire permanently and the same should only be given as a punishment in patients who are spending life–term in the prison.
  • Depo Provera is another injection which can be given every three months to patients with paraphiliac sexual abnormality.
  • Deprivation of sex and non–fulfillment of sexual desires is one of the main causes of rapes.
  • If female commercial sex workers are banned in the society, the incidents of rape will increase as sexually deprived people with strong sexual urges will end up raping the minors.
  • People under the influence of alcohol and drugs will keep raping girls if not treated and counseled in time.

Are We Honest?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Most of us are relatively honest. If I introspect myself, I consider myself as an honest doctor but when I go deep into introspection, I see that I am only relatively honest. I used to give money to the TT to get a reservation in a train, buy a cinema ticket in black, pay money to the electrician to get my electricity in time during functions etc.

Corruption is corruption whether it is for one rupee or 1 lakh rupee. Many of the current so called anti–corruption campaigners have purchased their houses by paying in black. Accepting donations from people who are not honest and from people who are donating from their unaccounted money is also corruption.

Only corrupt people approach a corrupt person and therefore for him every one is corrupt. The vice versa is also true.

Seven Behaviors Cut Heart Deaths

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Seven heart–healthy behaviors can reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. In a prospective study, by Enrique Artero, PhD, of the University of South Carolina, and colleagues and published in the October issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, those who met 3–4 of the American Heart Association’s ‘Simple Seven’ heart–health criteria had a 55% lower risk of cardiovascular mortality than those who met no more than two of those practices over 11 years.

Four core behaviors

  1. No smoking
  2. Normal body mass index
  3. Engaging in physical activity
  4. Eating healthfully

Three parameters

  1. Cholesterol lower than 200 mg/dL
  2. Blood pressure lower than 120/80 mm Hg
  3. Not having diabetes

Dealing with Stress

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Stress may be broadly defined as comprising of 3 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 Bhagwad 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.