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Dr K K Aggarwal

Alcohol: Benefits Vs RiskAlcohol: Benefits Vs Risk

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • There is consensus that non drinkers should not start and the ones who drink can continue provided they do so in moderation and in absence of contraindications. People tend to consume more alcohol in winter and near the New Year.
  • Persons who have been lifelong abstainers cannot be easily compared with moderate or even rare drinkers. Recommending alcohol intake to them even if they would agree to drink is not justified.
  • The diseases that moderate alcohol use prevents (such as coronary heart disease, ischemic stroke, and diabetes) are most prevalent in the elderly, men, and people with coronary heart disease risk factors. For these groups, moderate alcohol use is associated with a substantial mortality benefit relative to abstention or rare drinking.
  • For young to middle–aged adults, especially women, moderate alcohol use increases the risk of the most common causes of death (such as trauma and breast cancer).
  • Women who drink alcohol should take supplemental folate to help decrease the risk of breast cancer.
  • Men under the age of 45 may also experience more harm than benefit from alcohol consumption. In this age group, moderate alcohol use is unlikely to provide any mortality benefit, but consumption of less than one drink daily appears to be safe if temporally removed from operation of dangerous equipment. For individuals with established contraindications to alcohol use, even this level of alcohol use is dangerous.
  • Men can tolerate more alcohol than women. The ideal therapeutic dose of alcohol is around 6 grams per day. Medically safe limits are 10 grams in one hour, 20 grams in a day and 70 grams in a week. (50% for the women).

Do what you do to God

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. There are two types of people who believe in Dvaita or Advaita philosophy.
  2. People who believe in Dvaita philosophy, for them God and human being are different.
  3. The people who believe in Advaita philosophy believe that God is within them.
  4. In Hinduism, the first group believes in Sanatan Dharma and does Moorti pooja (idol worship) and the second Arya Samaj, which does not believe in Moorti pooja.
  5. In both situations, medically the message is one.
  6. If God is different than you, then you try to be like Him and if God is in within you, then you are Him.
  7. In both situations, we should deal with our body the same way as we deal with God.
  8. Anything which is not offered to God should not be offered to our body such as cigarettes, drugs etc or such things should be consumed in less quantity (onion, garlic, radish etc.).
  9. We never worship God with hydrogenated oil; we always worship him either with oil or with Desi Ghee. The message is we should not consume trans fats.
  10. “Bhagwan ko bhog lagate hain” and we never feed God. The message is, we should eat less.
  11. Amongst all Gods, only Lord Shiva is said to consume Bhang and Alcohol that too only in his incarnation of Bhairon, which indicates that both alcohol and bhang can be consumed in some quantity only in special situations meaning that they cannot be consumed without medical supervision.
  12. Anything grown under the ground is not offered to God, thus, these items should not be eaten or eaten in moderation.
  13. We never offer white salt and white rice to God. They are also bad for human beings.
  14. Gur, shakkar, brown rice and puffed rice are offered to God. They can be consumed by human beings.

All About Calcium Carbide

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Under PFA Section 44AA, the use of calcium carbide for artificial ripening of mangoes, apple, plum, banana is prohibited and can attract both imprisonment and fine.
  • Calcium carbide powder is usually kept wrapped in paper between the fruits (unripe mangoes) in a basket or box.
  • Once the basket of mango is closed from the top, calcium carbide absorbs moisture and produces acetylene gas, which accelerates the ripening process of fruits.
  • The health hazards are related to the gastrointestinal tract, kidney, heart, liver and brain and in long run cancer.
  • Calcium carbide 1kg is available for Rs. 25/– and is sufficient to ripe 10 tons of fruit.
  • How do we know that the fruit has been artificially ripened with calcium carbide?
    • It will be less tasty.
    • The aroma will be different
    • It is uniform in color.
    • The color of the mango changes from green to dark yellow.
    • It will have a less shelf life.
    • It will be overtly soft.
    • There may be black patches on the mango skin.
    • There may be multi color patches on the skin of the mango (Red, yellow, green patches)
  •            How should artificially ripened fruits be handled?
    • Never eat off–season fruits, especially before time
    • Rinse all fruits in running tap water for few minutes before use.

Panchamrit body wash

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Panchamrit is taken as a Prasadam and is also used to wash the deity. In Vedic language, anything which is offered to God can also be done to the human body. Panchamrit bath, therefore, is the original and traditionally full bath prescribed in Vedic literature. It consists of the following:

  1. Washing the body with milk and water, where milk acts like a soothing agent.
  2. Next is washing the body with curd, which is a substitute for soap and washes away the dirt from the skin.
  3. The third step is washing the body with desi ghee, which is like an oil massage.
  4. Fourth is washing the body with honey, which works like a moisturizer.
  5. Last step is to rub the skin with sugar or khand. Sugar works as a scrubber.

Panchamrit bath is much more scientific, cheaper and health friendly.

Work–related stress can kill

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Job stress increases the risk of heart disease by disrupting the body’s internal systems.

The findings from a long–running study involving more than 10,000 British civil servants also suggest that stress–induced biological changes may play a more direct role than previously thought. The researchers measured stress among the civil servants by asking questions about their job demands such as how much control they had at work, how often they took breaks, and how pressed for time they were during the day.

The team conducted seven surveys over a 12–year period and found that chronically stressed workers – people determined to be under severe pressure in the first two of the surveys – had a 68 percent higher risk of developing heart disease. The link was strongest among people under 50.

Stressed workers also eat unhealthy food, smoke, drink and skip exercise – all behaviors linked to heart disease.

In the study, stressed workers also had lowered heart rate variability, a sign of a poorly–functioning weak heart and higher–than–normal levels of cortisol, a “stress” hormone that provides a burst of energy for a fight–or–flight response.

Too much cortisol circulating in the blood stream can damage blood vessels and the heart.

The lips of truth shall be recognized forever; a lying tongue is but for a moment

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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This sutra from Bible has a very deep significance in day to day life. The truth is everlasting and always ends up in internal happiness and self realization and in the long run always gives you happiness and an all–win situation. On the contrary, a lying tongue will only give you a momentarily pleasure but you will end up in some difficulty later in life.

Spoken words cannot come back as in the case of a released arrow from the bow. Once lost, one cannot get back their youth, virginity, or respect, similarly, spoken bad words cannot be taken back and once spoken will create negative waves in the other persons (on whom they were spoken) mind which will persist as repressed thoughts or memory in the people’s mind for ever. Such bad memories will keep on coming back in the person’s mind causing damage to the personal relationships.

A spoken word is a karmic expression. For every karmic action there is an opposite and equal reaction. For every negative karmic expression one has to pay the debt either now or in future. The law of karma says that every debt has to be paid. It is always better to avoid indulging into negative language both in spoken words as well as in the mind. The yoga sutras of Patanjali describe thinking, speaking or doing anything wrong as having the same karmic significance. We should not only purify ourselves in actions and spoken words but also in the mind. If a person keeps negative thoughts in mind, sooner or later they will be reflected to the outside world.

The momentary pleasure which one gets by “lying” has no spiritual significance as it only satisfies your ego sense or makes you attached to any of the five senses. The transient pleasure experienced by the body stimulates a chain of reactions, consisting of action, memory and desire leading to action again, which will only intensify the greed and attachments. In the Mahabharata, Lord Krishna has given only two examples which work as an exception to such a situation. Any truth which harms others may not be spoken and any lie which does not harm anyone but benefit a few may be spoken. Truth is the opposite of doubt and it is always better to clear all the doubts from the mind as any repressed doubts can end up into causation of heart attack, paralysis and cancer.

Truth also means taking conscious-based decisions as the consciousness will never lie. While taking any decision one should always ask oneself: Is it the truth? Is it necessary? And will it bring happiness to me and the people around? Lord Krishna is also described as “SATCHITANAND” which only indicates the qualities like truthfulness, conscious based decisions and internal happiness. The practice of truthfulness has to be practical over a period of time and made a part and parcel of your daily life. To start with a person may have bad experiences but in the long run truthfulness will always win.

CT not required in appendicitis

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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When a patient has all the signs of acute appendicitis, waiting to get a CT scan to confirm the diagnosis is not required. Compared with a straight–to–surgery approach, the CT strategy is linked to delayed surgery and increased risk of a burst appendix.

Pre–operative CT is not necessary in cases with straightforward signs and symptoms of appendicitis. If, after a thorough physical examination, the diagnosis is still in question, then patients should be scanned. These patients tend to be older, female and have symptoms that are not typical for acute appendicitis.

Values, Morals and Ethics

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Values

  • Values are our fundamental beliefs. They are the principles we use to define that which is right, good and just.
  • Values provide guidance to determine the right versus the wrong, the good versus the bad.
  • They are our standards.
  • When we evaluate anything we compare it to a standard.
  • Typical values include: honesty, integrity, compassion, courage, honor, responsibility, patriotism, respect and fairness.
  • Ethics are universal

Morals

  • Morals are values which we attribute to a system of beliefs, typically a religious system, but it could be a political system of some other set of beliefs.
  • These values get their authority from outside the individual– a higher being or higher authority (e.g. society).
  • Right as defined by a higher authority.
  • By that definition one could categorize the values listed above (honesty, integrity, compassion …) as “moral values” – values derived from a higher authority.

Ethics

  • Ethics is about our actions and decisions.
  • When one acts in ways that are consistent with our beliefs (whether secular or derived from a moral authority) we characterize that as acting ethically.
  • When one’s actions are not congruent with our values – our sense of right, good and just – we view that as acting unethically.
  • The ethics of our decisions and actions is defined socially, not individually.

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. 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 ten minutes.

Positive Attitudes

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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All those out there who feel you are at your wits end wondering how things don’t ever work out for you, can now relax and dwell on all those failures that life has taken you through and turn failure into success.

  1. Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure. But it does mean you haven’t succeeded yet.
  2. Failure doesn’t mean you have accomplished nothing. It does mean you have learned something.
  3. Failure doesn’t mean you have been foolish. It does mean you had a lot of faith.
  4. Failure doesn’t mean you’ve been discouraged. It does mean you were willing to try.
  5. Failure doesn’t mean you don’t know how to do it. It does mean you have to do it in a different way.
  6. Failure doesn’t mean you are inferior. It does mean you are not perfect.
  7. Failure doesn’t mean you have wasted your life. It does mean you have a reason to start afresh.
  8. Failure doesn’t mean you should give up. It does mean you must try harder.
  9. Failure doesn’t mean you’ll never make it. It does mean it will take a little longer.
  10. Failure doesn’t mean God has abandoned you. It does mean God has a better idea.

Obesity reduces life expectancy

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Obesity in adulthood is associated with a striking reduction in life expectancy for both men and women. Among 3457 subjects in the Framingham Study, done in the United States, those who were obese (Body Mass Index or BMI =30 kg/m2 at age 40 years lived 6 to 7 years less than those who were not (BMI =24.9 kg/m2).

Those who were overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9 km/m2) at age 40 years lived about 3 years less, and those who were both obese and smoked lived 13 to 14 years less than normal–weight nonsmokers.

The steady rise in life expectancy during the past two centuries may come to an end because of the increasing prevalence of obesity.

Being overweight during adolescence also increase the risk of premature death as an adult. The analysis of Nurses’ Health Study has shown the risk of premature death increases with higher BMIs at age 18 years. For a BMI at age 18 of 18.5 to 21.9, 22 to 24.9, 25 to 29.9, and =30 kg/m2, the hazard ratio for premature death were 0.98, 1.18, 1.66, and 2.79, respectively.

A prospective study from the United States, at National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, valuated the relationship between BMI and risk of death over a maximum follow–up period of 10 years among over 500,000 men and women aged 50 to 71 years.

Among the subset of individuals 50 years of age (when prevalence of chronic disease is low) who had never smoked, an increased risk of death was associated with being either overweight (20 to 50 percent increase in those between 26.5 to 29.9 kg/m2) or obese (two– to over threefold increase in those =30 kg/m2).

Overweight and obesity, when analyzed together, is associated with increased mortality from diabetes and kidney disease.

Obesity, when analyzed alone, is associated with increased cardiac mortality and cancers considered to be obesity–related (colon, breast, esophageal, uterine, ovarian, kidney, and pancreatic cancer), but not with mortality from other cancers or non–cardiac mortality.

There are some recent studies which showed that obese people live longer. Overweight was shown to be associated with reduced mortality from non cancer, non–cardiovascular causes, but not with cancer or cardiovascular mortality. In them being underweight was associated with increased mortality from non cancer and non–cardiac causes, but not cancer and cardiac CVD causes.

Obesity and increased central fat are associated with increased morbidity in addition to mortality. Overweight and obese individuals have a higher relative risk of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and diabetes mellitus compared with normal weight individuals. The risk of hypertension and diabetes increases with increasing BMI.

In the Nurses’ Health and the Health Professionals studies, the risk of developing a chronic disease (gallstones, hypertension, heart disease, colon cancer and stroke (in men only)) increased with increasing BMI, even in those in the upper half of the healthy weight range (BMI 22.0 to 24.9 kg/m2).

Obesity is measured by using a measurement called BMI, which is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters.

A BMI of 18.5 to 23 is considered normal (Asians). One below 18.5 is considered underweight and 25 or above is considered obese.

Let the mud settle down

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Once, Buddha while travelling happened to pass a lake. Buddha told one of his disciples, I am thirsty. Do get me some water from that lake there.

The disciple noticed that some people were washing clothes in the water and, right at that moment, a bullock cart started crossing through the lake. As a result, the water became very muddy, very turbid. The disciple thought, how can I give this muddy water to Buddha to drink! So he came back and told Buddha, The water in there is very muddy. I don’t think it is fit to drink.

After about an hour later Buddha asked the same disciple again to go back to the lake and get him some water to drink. This time the disciple found that the lake had absolutely clear water in it. The mud had settled down and the water was fit for drinking. So he collected some water in a pot and brought it to Buddha.

Buddha looked at the water and said, See what you did to make the water clean. You let it be … and the mud settled down on its own and you got clear water… Your mind is also like that. When it is disturbed, just let it be. Give it a little time. It will settle down on its own. You don’t have to put in any effort to calm it down. It will happen. It is effortless.

Air Quality a Temporary Trigger for MI

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Heavy air pollution can trigger acute heart attack in the hours after exposure.

Every 10 µg/m3 increase in small particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide temporarily boosts heart attack risk by 1.2% and 1.1%, respectively, as per a report in the BMJ. The chances of suffering an attack increase by 1.3% in the six hours after coming in contact with high levels of vehicle-related pollutants.

The increased risk is seen up to six hours after exposure to typical traffic-related pollutants. The take home message is that breathing in large amounts of traffic fumes can trigger a heart attack within six hours following exposure.

Ganesha: Oh My God!

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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We sing His appraisal, we worship His deity, we believe in His powers blindfolded and yet distance Him from us by pining to see what lies deep within us. God, to which the world bows down has in fact been reincarnated into an issue of communal dispute, a reason for violence and an agenda to be banked upon for mere votes. Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva or be it Allah, Wahe Guru or Jesus, all personify the beauty of the unpolluted soul within us which is deep-rooted and blanketed by earthly desires.

While mythological studies knit stories of the Almighty’s existence, the fact remains that human being is bestowed with the untainted potential of recognizing heavenly facets in his own self. Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati is likewise the name given to the harmonious Aacharan or characteristic disposition of man. Remembered and ritually worshipped before starting a new venture, the entity of Ganesha has in store the facets of a complete man. The magnanimous head of the Ganesha, which is that of an elephant, represents wisdom, intelligence and a healthy mind capable of making sound decisions. Not in vain is it said that ‘think before you speak’, which implies Ganesha’s huge head, that is identified with the need for a thoughtful and retrospective attitude. The big ears of this elephant-deity instills among the earthly man the patient channel of lending ears to the echo produced by others’ deeds and speech. It is said that half the dispute is resolved when an ear is lend most patiently. The Ganapati’s extremely small mouth characteristically represents the need for a limited dialogue and the vanity of chattering. Over-expression through words triggers unsought problems many a times which otherwise could be avoided by a tight lip.

Ganesha also represents the guru of stress-affected individuals. Shiva’s most promising son, Ganesha, by virtue of his small eyes, highlights the need of a focused outlook in life. Such an outlook not only redefines and foresees the right goals, but also relieves one from the stress-manifested episodes from the various chapters of life. The long trunk identifies with the power of discrimination. The sensitivity of Ganesha’s long nose has the strength to uproot a tree and the competency of picking up a pin from the ground. Such should be the approach of an individual who should be capable enough to perceive the good and the bad for himself besides the undaunted strength of overcoming all odds. The tusks and the small teeth of Ganesha should however, be recollected with the loss and gains in the life of a man. Man similarly ought to engrave his mental stature in such a manner that the ups and downs may not deter him from his honest endeavor and the balance of inevitable bliss and sorrow is maintained to add spice in the earthly existences. This stable healthy mental stature is only possible if the physical, social, spiritual and environmental requirements of the body are fulfilled. For the needful, individuals need to be bestowed upon a complete mental and physical health.

Further the big tummy of Ganapati Deva preaches the need for retaining information. Acquiring knowledge, utilizing it and retaining it for years to come, becomes the crux of ‘big-belly commandment’.

The Char-Bhuja Dhari Ganesha, further represents strength by virtue of the four hands in which the Lord entraps his attachments, desires and greed. Two of the arms of Ganesha, which hold rope, symbolize control over the attachments. The laddoo or sweet in the other two shows command over the desires and earthly delusion. The mouse sitting near the feet of Ganesha represents greed and gluttony upon which the Almighty rides, propagating a control over the evils.

Ganesha’s physical traits are an assembly of the characteristics most required in an individual of substance. Disposition incarnated with the goodness of such features will result in success in life and will positively procure an ailment-free survival.

Specifically for executives, Ganesha’s characteristic principles may be incorporated in a time-table format which will help in the dawn of a conformable work-atmosphere along with congenial relationship between the management and the union of workers. Deciding the first day of the week to hear all grievance and woes of the workers, the second for thinking and planning strategies to work upon and finally setting targets to be achieved may utilize three days of the week very constructively. Further, a day devoted to evaluating losses and gains (Ganesha’s teeth principle) may help additionally in business management. Retaining the information and filing all the pending work can affirmatively call upon the fifth day of the week, which works entirely on the principle of Ganesha’s tummy, which is massive by the virtue of holding tremendous loads of information.

Contemplation, discrimination and judging the good and the bad for the entire unit may take another day, leaving the Sunday for self-retrospection through meditation and yoga. One should strive and adopt Ganpati’s principles of life management rather than worshipping him with vanity. Life has much in store besides bothering about unnecessary qualms. Giving into a disciplined attitude may assuredly dawn upon a peaceful life. Heaven is where you are, it’s only a matter of perception which makes life as difficult as hell.

Myths

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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1. The right skin cream can keep your skin looking young: For reducing wrinkles, the topical treatment with the best evidence behind it is retinoic acid (as in Retin–A). The best ways to keep wrinkles at bay are using sunscreen and not smoking.
2. Antibacterial soap is best for keeping your skin clean: Many experts are concerned that the use of antibacterial soap could lead to more antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibacterial soap is not necessary for everyday use. Regular soap is fine. Thorough and consistent hand-washing, not antibacterial soap is what helps prevent the spread of infection.