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Dr K K Aggarwal

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 the long-run, cancer.

• Calcium carbide is cheap and 1 kg of calcium carbide 1kg is sufficient to ripe 10 tons of fruit.

• How do we know that the fruit has been artificially ripened with calcium carbide?

o It will be less tasty.

o The aroma will be different o It is uniform in color. o The color of the mango changes from green to dark yellow.

o It will have a shorter shelf life. o It will be overtly soft.

o There may be black patches on the mango skin.

o There may be multicolor patches on the skin of the fruit (red, yellow, green patches)

• How should artificially ripened fruits be handled?

o Never eat off–season fruits, especially before time o 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:

• Washing the body with milk and water, where milk acts like a soothing agent.

• Next is washing the body with curd, which is a substitute for soap and washes away the dirt from the skin.

• The third step is washing the body with desi ghee, which is like an oil massage.

• Fourth is washing the body with honey, which works like a moisturizer.

• 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.

Five cholesterol friendly foods

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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1. Oats: It gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber.

2. Beans: are rich in soluble fiber. They also take a while for the body to digest.

3. Nuts: Eating 2 ounces of nuts a day can slightly lower LDL, on the order of 5%.

4. Foods fortified with sterols and stanols: gum up the body’s ability to absorb cholesterol from food. Getting 2 g of plant sterols or stanols a day can lower LDL cholesterol by about 10%.

5. Fatty fish. Eating fish two or three times a week can lower LDL

(Source: Harvard)

Music as a Drug

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Our body is the largest pharmaceutical group in the world and has the capacity to heal each and every disease. The very fact that there is a receptor for every drug in the body means that the body has the capacity to produce that drug. Music is one such modality, which can heal by initiating various chains of chemical reactions in the body.

• Chanting vowels produces interleukin-2 in the body, which works like a painkiller.

• Chanting nasal consonants produces tranquilizers in the body.

• Sounds like LUM are associated with fear, VUM with attachments, RUM with doubt, YUM with love, HUM with truthfulness and AUM with non–judgmental.

• Various chemicals can be produced in the body by chanting of various vowels and consonants.

• Nasal consonants are vibrant sounds and produce vibrations of the autonomic plexus causing balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic states. More the nasal consonants in music, the more will be its relaxing healing power.

• Listening to overtone chanting in music can also heal people in the vicinity of the music.

• Recitation of music can also increase or decrease the respiratory rate of the singer. Lyrics, which reduce respiratory rate will lead to parasympathetic healing activity. The respiratory rate of a listener too can increase and decrease if he is absorbed in the song.

• Listening to a song word by word and by understanding its meaning can also change the biochemistry of the listener. A song can create an excitement or a feeling of depression.

• A song can also work like intent by speaking in the form of prayers. Group prayers can have powerful affects and convert intent into reality through the concept of spontaneous fulfillment of desire.

• Music is often linked with dance, both classical and western, which provides additional healing.

• Gestures, mudras, bhavs and emotions associated with songs produce parasympathetic state in both the singer and the listener.

5 Steps to Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s disease

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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• Maintain a healthy weight.

• Check your waistline.

• Eat mindfully. Emphasize colorful, vitamin–packed vegetables and fruits; whole grains; fish, lean poultry, tofu, and beans and other legumes as protein sources plus healthy fats. Cut down on unnecessary calories from sweets, sodas, refined grains like white bread or white rice, unhealthy fats, fried and fast foods, and mindless snacking. Keep a close eye on portion sizes, too.

• Exercise regularly. Aim for 2½ to 5 hours weekly of brisk walking. Or try a vigorous exercise like jogging for half that time.

• Keep an eye on important health numbers. In addition to watching your weight and waistline, keep a watch on your cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and blood sugar numbers.

Spiritual Prescriptions: Satsang

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Satsang is a common household word and is often held many residential colonies. Traditionally, Satsang means the regular meeting of a group of elderly or women of an area with a common intention of attaining inner happiness or peace through Bhajans or devotional songs for a particular God or Gods. In Satsang, people realize that it is the Self, communing with Self.

The Sanskrit word ‘Satsang’ literally means gathering together for guidance, mutual support or in search of truth. It may involve talking together, eating together, working together, listening together or praying together.

Most scriptures describe Sat and asat. They discriminate that this world is maya (asat) and God is Divine. Furthermore, they state that maya is not yours; Divine is yours.

Sang means to join, not just coming close, but to join. And how do you join? Only with love, which acts as glue. So Satsang is: Sat—Divine. Sang—loving association. In non–traditional Satsang, people verbally express themselves to others in an uninhibited way. Here, each participant talks free of judgment of others, and self. In this way, each person is able to see many viewpoints, which may serve to diminish the rigidity of their own.

Satsang is one way of acquiring spiritual well–being. Many scientific studies have shown that when mediation or chanting is done in groups it has more benefits than when done individually. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi once said that if 1% of the population meditates or chants together it will have a positive influence on the entire society.

Satsang also helps in creating a network of people with different unique talents. Satsangi groups are often considered in a very deep–rooted friendship.

Adi Shankaracharya in his book Bhaja Govindam also talks about satsang in combination with sewa and simran and says that together the three can make one acquire spiritual well-being. Nirankaris and Sikhs also give importance to satsang and in fact every true Sikh is supposed to participate in the Gurudwara on a regular basis.

Chanting of mantra or listening to discourses in a satsang helps to understand spirituality through gyan marga. Group chanting continued on a regular basis is one of the ways of meditation mentioned in the shastras. It shifts consciousness from sympathetic to the parasympathetic mode.

The medical educational programs of doctors of today can be called medical satsangs as whatever is discussed is for the welfare of the society.

Satsang also inculcates in us, one of the laws of Ganesha, the law of big ears, which teaches everyone to have the patience to listen to the others.

In satsang, nobody is small or big, everybody has a right to discuss or give his or her views. Over a period of time, most people who regularly attend satsang, start working from the level of their spirit and not the ego.

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 journal 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

Prefer Meditation and Not Medication

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Meditation and not medication should be the first line of treatment for most lifestyle disorders. The very fact that our body has a receptor for each and every drug means it has the capacity to produce that drug. God never made these receptors for pharmacological agents or drugs.

The key lies in achieving the undisturbed state of consciousness, which can be obtained by either controlling the disturbed state of mind or bypassing it by using the mantra.

The subject of spiritual medicine should be included in schools, colleges and medical sciences.’

Confession and communication are two easy modes to control a disturbed state of mind.

As darkness is absence of light, negative thoughts are absence of positive thoughts. To reduce negative thoughts, one should inculcate positive thoughts, actions and behaviors.

One cannot hate a stranger. One can only hate a person whom he or she has loved. Hatred is therefore withdrawal of love, and it can only be removed by bringing the love back.

By the process of meditation, it has been shown that diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, paralysis, asthma and acid-peptic disease can be kept under control without or with minimal medicines.

Prevention strategy relies on lifestyle

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Stenting may not always be the answer to treating heart disease with stable angina.

A German study has shown that patients with stable coronary artery disease who were put on an exercise regimen had significantly higher rates of event–free survival than those who had undergone percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). In the study, 70% of patients in the exercise program had event–free survival –– no stroke, heart attack, or death –– compared with 50% of stented patients after four years.

Exercise is an important part of any type of prevention, and it should be instituted for anyone with stable coronary heart disease

The study on stenting versus exercise was a continuation of a pilot study first reported in 2004 in the journal Circulation. That study of 101 male patients found that after one year, 88% of patients who exercised had event-free survival compared with 70% of stented patients.

The updated data reflect an additional 100 patients, who performed moderate intensity exercise for two weeks under hospital supervision, and then were given an exercise bike to continue their regimen at home. Patients with stable angina exercised at 80% of their threshold, and that after four weeks of exercising, their angina threshold increased. The clear message for patients is to get 30 to 60 min of moderate–intensity aerobic activity very day, noting that 30% of heart disease

Managing grief by free expressive writing

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The loss of a loved is often painful. The resultant grief makes it hard to eat, sleep and leads to loss of interest in routine life affecting behavior and judgment.

Some can feel agitated or exhausted, to sob unexpectedly, or to withdraw from the world and others may find themselves struggling with feelings of sorrow, numbness, anger, guilt, despair, irritability, relief, or anxiety.

It is well known that disclosing deep emotions through writing can boost immune function as well as mood and well–being. Conversely, the stress of holding in strong feelings can increase blood pressure and heart rate and increase muscle tension.

One can write on a piece of paper, in your personal book, on the open website with nick name or keep it in the mind. One doesn’t have to preserve the emotions and can throw away the writings.

In absence of deeply troubling situations, such as suicide or a violent death, which are best explored with the help of an experienced therapist, one can choose writing as a way to express the grief.

• Start writing for 15 to 30 minutes a day for 3 to 4 days.

• Continue up to a week if it is helping. • Continue writing for 15 to 30 minutes once a week for a month.

• Writing has stronger effects when it extends over for more number of days.

• Remember writing about grief and loss can trigger strong emotions (one may cry or feel deeply upset)

• Many people find journal writing valuable and meaningful and report feeling better afterward.

• Don’t worry about grammar or sentence structure.

• Truly let go. Write down how you feel and why you feel that way. You’re writing for Questions answered by KOLs

Bystander CPR better when more people help

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Patients entering cardiac arrest are more likely to receive good–quality bystander–initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation if multiple people assist. Among cases of out–of–hospital cardiac arrest, CPR quality is associated with multiple rescuers initiating bystander CPR, being in a central or urban setting, and receipt of bystander–initiated CPR and longer duration of resuscitation as per Dr Hideo Inaba, at Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan in the journal Resuscitation.

Good–quality bystander CPR is less commonly performed by a family member, by older bystanders and in home environments. The key to survival and positive neurological outcomes for those experiencing an out–of–hospital cardiac arrest is the initiation of bystander CPR. This CPR should be performed with chest compressions only, without mouth–to–mouth resuscitation.

In its latest guidelines on high-quality CPR issued in 2015, the American Heart Association (AHA) has recommended chest compression rate to 100-120/ min, chest compression depth for adults to be at least 2 inches (5 cm) but not greater than 2.4 inches (6 cm). AHA further says that chest compression should be started first before rescue breaths (C-A-B rather than A-B-C). The single rescuer should begin CPR with 30 chest compressions followed by 2 breaths

The Deeper Meaning of “Lord Shiva”

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Most of us worship Lord Shiva without understanding the deeper meaning behind him. In Hindu mythology, Shiva is one of the three forms of God (Brahma, Vishnu & Mahesh).

The Parmatama or spirit or GOD can be equated to a mixture of three forces representing Generator, (Creator or Brahma); Organizer; (Maintainer or Vishnu); Destroyer (Winding up or Mahesh or Shiva).The same three forces are also present inside our body to perform any work, which can be linked to create or generate an idea, maintain or organize the contents of the idea, and then destroy or wind up so that new work can be undertaken through Ganesha – the Lord of new happenings.

For day to day life, one has to understand and implement the principles of Lord Shiva, which can be known by understanding the meaning of Shiva and its body.

Shiva is classically worshipped in a meditating pose, sitting on a deer’s skin in the white Himalayas in the background of blue sky. Shiva is also depicted as smeared with the ash of graveyard, having a snake on neck, Ganga emerging out of his matted hairs, three eyes, blue neck, trishul on one hand and damru in his other hand.

All these symbolic representations have a deep spiritual meaning and tell us about Shiva’s principles of success. Shiva’s third eye means thinking differently or using the eyes of our mind and the soul. The message is, whenever you are in difficulty, use your intelligence and wisdom or think differently for getting different options. The third eye opening also represents the vanishing of ignorance (darkness or pralaya).

Shiva sitting in an open-eye meditating pose denotes the significance of being calm in day-to-day life, which helps to achieve better results. In allopathic language, this is equivalent to mindfulness living.

The snake around the neck represents one’s ego. One should keep the ego out and control it and not let it overpower you. The downward posture of the head of the snake represents that ego should be directed towards the consciousness and not outwards.

The blue neck (Neelkanth) represents that one should neither take out negative emotions nor suppress them. Instead, one should alter or modify them. The blue color indicates negative thoughts. All negative emotions are neither to be drunk nor to be spit out but to be held temporarily and with continuous efforts (matted hairs), a cool mind (moon) and with positive thoughts (Ganga). They should be directed towards the consciousness keeping the ego directed towards it (sheshnag).

Any suppressed anger will release chemicals in the body causing acidity, asthma, angina and diarrhea etc. Similarly, the anger should not be taken out, or else it will end up into social unhealthiness. The only way is to alternate or motivate the anger by willful cultivation of opposite positive thoughts in the mind. Therefore the process of silently passing on love to any individual can take away the angry thoughts from the mind (love is opposite of anger). The ash on the skin of the body of Shiva reminds us that everything in the universe is perishable and nothing is going to remain with the person. The message is that ‘you have come in this world without anything and will go back without anything, then why worry’.

The trishul in one hand represents control of three factors i.e. mind, intellect and ego. It also represents controlling your three mental gunas i.e. satva, rajas and tamas.

The damru, the hollow structure, represents ‘taking all your ego and desires out of the body’. The blue sky or akash represents vastness and openness and the white mountains represent purity and truthfulness.

On Shivaratri day, it is customary to fast. The fast does not just mean not eating on that day, but its deeper meaning signifies fasting with regard to all bad things in life like – “seeing no evil, hearing no evil and speaking no evil”. Fasting also indicates controlling desire for eating foods (like fermented, sweet, sour and salt) and controlling negative thoughts both in the mind, deed as well as actions By adopting all these, principles, one will attain a free flow of knowledge which is represented by the Ganga emerging out of the hair of the Lord Shiva. The matted hair of Shiva represent tapas, which signifies that nothing in the universe is impossible with repeated practice.

If one adopts Shiva’s principles in day-to-day life, one will find no obstacles both in his routine life as well as in one’s spiritual journey.

Pain Management

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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• Pain is a common occurrence in day to day life and should be managed well.

• Remember the word ‘ICE’: ‘I’ stands for ice pack to be put on the injured painful area, ‘C’ stands for compression and ‘E’ stands for elevation.

• The mantra, therefore, is to use cold compression and elevation for any injury.

• Alternate hot and cold packs are used for chronic pain.

• Painkillers should not be taken without a doctor’s advice.

• If a painkiller has to be taken, it should be one tablet of paracetamol.

• People who take alcohol should not consume paracetamol without asking their doctor.

• In patients with kidney disease, even one tablet of painkiller can precipitate kidney failure.

• In patients with acid peptic disease, one tablet of painkiller can precipitate gastric bleeding.

• Instead of taking a painkiller, look for alternative methods to relieve pain.

• Pain relieving ointments are better than oral painkillers.

• In hospital setting, intravenous and intramuscular injectable painkillers are available.

• Always tell your doctor that you are taking painkillers.

• Always contact your doctor if the pain is uneasy, unexplainable or appears for the first time in life.

Why do we Ring the Bell in a Temple?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The vibrations of the ringing bell produce the auspicious primordial sound ‘Om’, thus creating a connection between the deity and the mind. As we start the daily ritualistic worship (pooja), we ring the bell, chanting:

Agamaarthamtu devaanaam

gamanaarthamtu rakshasaam

Kurve ghantaaravam tatra

devataahvaahna lakshanam

“I ring this bell indicating the invocation of divinity, So that virtuous and noble forces enter (my home and heart); And the demonic and evil forces from within and without, depart.”

Cough Hygiene

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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• When you cough or sneeze, you tend to expel out respiratory waste in the form of droplets (larger than 5 micron) or airborne droplets less than 5 micron; both have a different clinical implications. • Droplets remain suspended in the air for only a limited period. A distance of less than 3 feet is usually required for human to human transmission of droplet-borne respiratory organisms. In flu, this distance can be up to 6 feet. The sources of droplet infections are patients with meningitis, influenza, rubella etc. • No precaution needs to be taken by a person who is 6–10 feet away from the patient but if a person is sitting or working even 3–6 feet distance the non-coughing person should wear simple mask. • In contrast, airborne droplet nuclei carrying respiratory secretion smaller than 5 micron remain suspended in the air for an extended period and can cause infections to people who are standing even more than 10 feet away. Examples of airborne droplet nuclei infections are TB, measles, chickenpox and SARS. • These patients should be placed in an isolation room; all healthcare personnel looking after these patients must use a safe N95 mask. • Usually, in houses with their windows open, there is a constant exchange of air, which prevents spread of infections but in AC setups with no air exchange, the infections can spread from one person to another. • When sitting in an air-conditioned atmosphere, the AC setting should be such that the same air is not circulated and fresh air is allowed to exchange. Split ACs, therefore, are more dangerous than the window ACs.

In an office with split AC, if any employee is suffering from any of the droplet nuclei, disease can transmit infection to others. Therefore, patients with confirmed TV, measles, chickenpox and SARS should not be allowed to work in areas with split AC.