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Dr K K Aggarwal

Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee

Follow a healthy diet for a healthy heart

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  • Diet should be low in sodium and no person should consume more than 6 gm of sodium chloride in a day.
  • Consumption of trans fats, which is found in hydrogenated oils or vanaspati ghee, should be minimal as they are bad for the heart and reduce the good HDL cholesterol and increase the bad LDL cholesterol.
  • A person should avoid eating out as much as possible since the food in most restaurants and hotels has high amounts of trans fats and is generally bad for the heart
  • Refined carbohydrates like white bread, white flour, white rice and refined sweetened cereals and white sugar should be avoided and replaced with options like whole grain flour, healthy green cereals and oat meal.
  • Any sweet item containing more than 10% sugar should be limited. On an average the sugar content in soft drinks is 10%, Indian sweets contain 30-50% sugar.

Never hurt the ego of a person

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It is a well-known Vedic fact that if you hurt the ego of a person, he will never forgive you, especially, if you have insulted or implicated him in character assassination, or have cast implications about financial embezzlement or you call a woman as old or a man as impotent in public. For example, if I hurt the ego of a chowkidaar, next time if a patient comes to the hospital gate and asks where Dr. KK Aggarwal is, he only has to whisper, “Which Aggarwal? The one whose cases never survive?”

Also never hurt the ego of a person who is drunk. Under the influence of alcohol, a person loses his capacity to judge persons and situations. If you provoke him, he can be destructive and aggressive.

Some facts on Malaria

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  • Malaria is transmitted by the bite of a female anopheles mosquito.
  • The mosquito bite occurs mainly between dusk and dawn.
  • Malaria can also be transmitted through blood transfusion, or via sharing of contaminated needles.
  • Bed nets are good against malaria as the major malarial vectors bite during the night.
  • The behavior of the mosquitoes may differ. Some may prefer to rest indoors and feed indoors in the night. Some may prefer to rest and feed outdoors earlier in the day.
  • Preventive therapy of malaria can be instituted during pregnancy in high risk areas.
  • The malarial mosquito feeds every third day compared to the dengue mosquito, which feeds three times in a day.
  • Unlike the malaria mosquito, the dengue mosquito bites during the day.
  • Malarial fever presents with chills, especially during afternoon.
  • Spraying of the indoor residential walls and ceiling is effective against mosquitoes.
  • DDT is widely used as indoor residential spraying.
  • DDT should not be applied more than once or twice in a year on the walls.
  • Mosquito contact with DDT surface would generally save from lethal exposure outside the house.
  • Public must know that spray may require rearrangement of the furniture. Walls may become streaked with chemical treatment and residual odor from DDT.
  • The other alternative is malathion spray.

Should there be a mourning room in the hospital?

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In a survey conducted by Heart Care Foundation of India of 400 people from all walks of life, 90% of the people said that wishes of the dying person and dead body should be respected in the hospital setting. They said that doctors should be more compassionate and emphatic at the time of declaring a patient dead.

Unless people are expecting a death, death usually comes as a shock to the family members. It is expected that the relations may be in agony, pain and even anger. Every hospital should have a mourning room where the relatives should be made to sit, counseled and death declared.

After the death is declared, the treating doctors, nurses and hospital staff must sit with the patient’s relatives, counsel them, tell them about the sequence of events before death and also counsel them about how to handle the dead body. People also want to know the cause of death so that similar thing may not happen to another person in the family.

They also want to know if the body is infectious or not and what rituals should be avoided if the body is infectious. They also like to know about how to preserve the dead body till cremation.

They may also like to know whether a postmortem is required to know exact cause of death, which can help future family members of the family.

Don’t start if you do not drink; if you cannot stop, limit your intake

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  • The definition of a standard drink differs in countries: US = 14-15 gm alcohol equivalent to 12 oz beer, 5 oz wine and 1.5 oz 80 proof liquor; UK 8 gm alcohol, Japan 19.75 gm alcohol and India 10 gm alcohol.
  • A standard drink usually means a US drink.
  • Alcohol contents: Beer 5%; Malt liquor 7%; Table wine 12%; Fortified wine (sherry, port) 17%; Cordial liquor (aperitif) 24%; Brandy (single jigger) 40% and 80 proof gin, Vodka, whisky 40%.
  • 10 ml of alcohol (hard liquor) = 0.8 gm of alcohol; 1 oz = 30 ml; 12 oz of beer = 360 ml of beer (360×5% = 18 ml of alcohol = 14.4 gm of alcohol); 18 oz of beer = 8 to 9 oz of malt liquor = 5 oz of table wine = 3-4 oz of 45 wine = 2-3 oz of cordial liquor = 1.5 oz of brandy = 1.5 oz hard liquor.
  • Binge drinking means 4 or more drinks at one time (women) or 5 or more at one time (men).
  • Heavy drinking means more than 7 drinks per week or 3 drinks per occasion (women) or more than 14 drinks per week or 4 drinks per occasion (men).
  • Moderate drinking means less than 2 drinks per day (women) and less than 3 drinks per day (men) and for people aged more than 65, less than two drinks per day.
  • Safe limits: No level of alcohol compensation can be 100% safe for some people.
  • Contraindications: Pregnancy, present or strong family history of alcoholism, previous paralysis because of brain hemorrhage, liver disease, pancreas disease, running potentially dangerous equipment or machinery.
  • Limit alcohol in acute gastritis, esophagitis, strong family history of breast cancer and pre-cancerous GI lesions.
  • Ideal dose of alcohol = 6 gm per day.
  • 10-15gm of ethanol is found in one glass of wine, one can or bottle of beer or one mixed drink.
  • One should not take more than two drinks (men) and one drink daily (women).
  • Men under the age of 45 may experience more harm than benefit from alcohol consumption.
  • Alcohol benefits for the heart are only in 45+ people.

Signs of Spiritual Awakening

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  • More experiences of telepathy.
  • More experiences of reverse telepathy.
  • More spontaneous fulfilment of desires.
  • Increased tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen. Work done with the least effort.
  • Change in the nature, more smiling, laughter and thankful nature.
  • Feelings of being connected with others and nature.
  • Frequent overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
  • Tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fears based on past experience.
  • Ability to enjoy each moment.
  • Living in the present.
  • Loss of worry.
  • A loss of interest in conflict.
  • A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
  • A loss of interest in judging others and self.
  • Gaining the ability to love without expecting anything in return.
  • Quality of converting an adversity into opportunity.
  • Dislike for drugs, smoke and excess of alcohol.
  • Happiness in doing random acts of kindness.
  • Looking for good in every one.

Nine modifiable risk factors for heart attack

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The majority of known risk factors for heart attack are modifiable by specific preventive measures.

The nine potentially modifiable factors include smoking, dyslipidemia, hypertension, diabetes, abdominal obesity, psychosocial factors, regular alcohol consumption, daily consumption of fruits and vegetables and regular physical activity. These account for over 90 percent of the population attributable risk of a first heart attack.

In addition, aspirin is recommended for primary prevention of heart disease for men and women whose 10-year risk of a first heart attack event is 6 percent or greater.

Smoking cessation reduces the risk of both heart attack and stroke. One year after quitting, the risk of heart attack and death from heart disease is reduced by one-half, and after several years begins to approach that of nonsmokers.

A number of observational studies have shown a strong inverse relationship between leisure time activity and decreased risks of CVD. Walking 80 minutes in a day and whenever possible with a speed of 80 steps per minute are the current recommendations.

Significance of Lighting a Lamp in Any Worship

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Deepajyothi parabrahma

Deepa Jyotir Janaardanah

Deepo harati paapaani

Sandhyaa deepa namostute

“I prostrate to the dawn/dusk lamp; whose light is the Knowledge Principle (the Supreme Lord), which removes the darkness of ignorance and by which all can be achieved in life.”

Light symbolizes knowledge, and darkness, ignorance. Knowledge removes ignorance just as light removes darkness. The purpose of any ritual is to remove internal darkness and attain some knowledge.

Vedic literature recommends lighting a lamp daily as a part of puja ritual. Some do it once at dawn, others twice a day – at dawn and dusk ; while some let the lamp light continuously (akhanda deepa). No auspicious functions can commence without lighting of the lamp and the same is to be maintained right through the occasion.

Knowledge is a lasting inner wealth by which all outer achievement can be accomplished. By lighting the lamp, we bow down to knowledge as the greatest of all forms of wealth. Knowledge about the self is the greatest wealth. It goes around achieving inner happiness by burning the negativity of mind full of lust and ego.

The traditional oil lamp defines this spiritual significance. The oil or ghee symbolizes our vasanas (lust) and negative tendencies (the wick & the ego). When lit by spiritual knowledge, the vasanas get slowly exhausted and the ego too finally perishes. The flame of a lamp always burns upwards signifying that only that knowledge should be acquired that takes us towards higher ideals.

Do not heat leafy vegetables twice

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Nitrates in foods such as spinach, beet root and lettuce stimulate the production of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide relaxes blood vessels. Ingested nitrate is reduced by oral, commensal, bacteria to nitrite, which can further be reduced to nitric oxide.

Vegetables are a major source of dietary nitrate. Green leafy and root vegetables, such as spinach and carrots, provide more than 85% of dietary nitrate. Foods in which nitrite are present are bacon, fermented sausage, hot dogs, bologna, salami, corned beef, ham and other products such as smoked or cured meat, fish and poultry. The conversion of dietary nitrate to nitrite has antimicrobial benefits in the mouth and stomach. Some epidemiological studies show a reduced rate of gastric and intestinal cancer in groups with a high vegetable-based nitrate intake.

Nitrate is totally harmless; however, it can be converted to nitrite and some portion of nitrite to nitrosamines, some of which are known to be carcinogenic. Heating increases the conversion rate. The longer the heat treatment, the more nitrosamines will be formed. Hence, the recommendation not to heat leafy vegetables twice.

Adding lemon juice to vegetables will reduce the formation of nitrosamines. It contains vitamin C, which also reacts with nitrite, thereby preventing the nitrosamine formation.

Negative Thoughts are Absence of Positive Thoughts

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Darkness cannot be removed physically; it can only be removed by switching on the light or going into sunlight or lighting a fire. Similarly, negative thoughts are absence of positive thoughts.

In Bhagavad Gita, it has been said that in the period of Uttarayana with longer days, the first half at full moon, in the presence of light or agni, more positive thoughts are acquired compared to in Dakshinayana, before Amavasya or no moon or in absence of light.

Bhagavad Gita also says that whatever you think the whole life, you think at the time of death and if at the time of death you have positive thoughts, you are likely to get Moksha. That may be the reason why in Hindu mythology it is said that just before the death, we should light a diya or chant in front of agni (fire) so that dying person’s thoughts become positive.

In computer language, it is explained that when you open a file repeatedly, it becomes a priority file and appears in the search engine on priority as compared to other files.

Don’t ignore women’s health

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Women are not diagnosed or treated as aggressively as men. Even though more women than men die of heart disease each year, women receive only 33% of all angioplasties, stents and bypass surgeries; 28% of implantable defibrillators and 36% of open-heart surgeries, according to 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 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 womens hearts more than they do mens.
  • Smoking is much worse for women than 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 build-up 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. In this, the lining of the artery does not expand (dilate) properly to boost blood flow during activity, which increases 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 is not visible using traditional testing methods.

Is it necessary to take a dip in Ganga to remove your sins?

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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.

WHO Five Keys to Safer Food

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Key 1: Keep clean

  • Wash your hands before handling food and often during food preparation.
  • Wash your hands after going to the toilet.
  • Wash and sanitize all surfaces and equipment used for food preparation.
  • Protect kitchen areas and food from insects, pests and other animals.

Key 2: Separate raw and cooked food

  • Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods.
  • Use separate equipment and utensils such as knives and cutting boards for handling raw foods.
  • Store food in containers to avoid contact between raw and prepared foods.

Key 3: Cook thoroughly

  • Cook food thoroughly, especially meat, poultry, eggs and seafood.
  • Bring foods like soups and stews to boiling to make sure that they have reached 70°C. For meat and poultry, make sure that juices are clear, not pink. Ideally, use a thermometer.
  • Reheat cooked food thoroughly.

Key 4: Keep food at safe temperatures

  • Do not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Refrigerate promptly all cooked and perishable food (preferably below 5°C).
  • Keep cooked food piping hot (more than 60°C) prior to serving.
  • Do not store food too long even in the refrigerator.
  • Do not thaw frozen food at room temperature.

Key 5: Use safe water and raw materials

  • Use safe water or treat it to make it safe.
  • Select fresh and wholesome foods.
  • Choose foods processed for safety, such as pasteurized milk.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables, especially if eaten raw.
  • Do not use food beyond its expiry date.

(Source: The Five Keys to Safer Food Manual World Health Organization, 2006)

Relieve Stress by Changing the Interpretation

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Stress is the reaction of the body or the mind to the interpretation of a known situation. Stress management, therefore, involves either changing the situation, changing the interpretation or taming the body the yogic way in such a way that stress does not affect the body.

Every situation has two sides. Change of interpretation means looking at the other side of the situation. It is something like half glass of water, which can be interpreted as half empty or half full.

Studies have shown that anger, hostility and aggression are the new risk factors for heart disease. It has been shown that even recall of anger can precipitate a heart attack.

Many studies have shown that when doctors talk positive before unconscious patients in ICU, their outcome is better than those in whose presence if doctors talk negative.

The best way to practice spiritual medicine is to experience silence in the thoughts, speech and action. Simply walking in the nature with silence in the mind and experiencing the sounds of nature can be as effective as 20 minutes of meditation. He said that 20 minutes of meditation provides the same physiological parameters as that of 7 hours of deep sleep.

A slight move is all that matters

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Middle-aged women who move around more in their daily life have lower levels of intra-abdominal fat, a risk factor for heart disease. A minor 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 wraps around the organs in the abdomen and chest, tends to accumulate at midlife and can contribute to developing diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. The fat around the organs is known to be more related to heart disease and diabetes. A woman does not need to appear outwardly heavy to have a potentially troublesome extra “tire” around her organs.

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