Yoga can help in the union of the body, mind, and the surroundings

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine, Social Health Community, Yoga Comments Off

The practice is beneficial for heart health and helps lower blood pressure, apart from offering other health benefits

New Delhi, 21 June 2019: Studies examining the benefits of yoga have suggested that the practice provides significant benefits for cardiovascular health, including LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol and systolic blood pressure. Those who practiced asana-based yoga reduced their LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol levels by 12.1 mg/dL and systolic blood pressure by 5.2 mm Hg and increased their HDL ‘good’ cholesterol levels by 3.2 mg/dL.

On International Yoga Day, there is a need to create awareness on the benefits of yoga for overall health and well-being.

Yoga is a science, which shifts one from sympathetic to parasympathetic state of mind. It is a combination of Hatha Yoga (asanas or postures), breathing and meditation. Meditation means concentrating on an object and giving preference to that over thoughts. Mindfulness meditation and breathing awareness can shift one from sympathetic to parasympathetic mode.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “At the outset, I would like to wish all the readers on International Yoga Day. We must understand the difference between ‘yog’ and ‘yoga’. The word ‘yoga’ comes from a Sanskrit term that means union. It refers to combining the body, mind, and day-to-day challenges of life into a single experience rather than keeping them separate. The word ‘yog’ on the other hand refers to a state of mind that is in the present. It is about being in the ‘now’ and losing oneself in the moment. For instance, when we are with a childhood friend, we are not aware of how time has lapsed. This state can be referred to as the yogic state.”

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The essence of Bhagavad Gita can be summarized in one Shloka (Chapter 2.48) where Krishna says to Arjuna ‘Yogastha Kuru Karmani’, which means ‘concentrate on actions’ (do all actions while remaining in yoga). He further says that one should take success and failure in the same stride (Yogastha= steadfast in yoga, Kuru = perform, karmaani = duties or action).

Concentrating on action means concentrating on the present. While doing the latter, one cannot be in the past or in the future, and the past regrets and future anxieties cannot make one suffer. Once a person is in the present moment, they can only take consciousness-based decisions.

Some tips on doing yoga from HCFI for those with certain health conditions

  • Yoga is not included as an aerobic exercise. Fast breathing exercises stimulate the sympathetic system. Slow breathing stimulates the parasympathetic system. Therefore, cardiac clearance needs to be taken for all breathing exercises.
  • In three situations in Hatha Yoga (headstand, handstand, shoulder stand), the total body weight is put on head, wrist and shoulder. This requires medical clearance, especially for heart patients.
  • When you get up from a sitting position, nine times weight is put on the knees. Hence, patients of osteoarthritis should avoid sitting down, low height beds or chair or Indian toilets. Yoga may prevent osteoarthritis, but once developed, Hatha Yoga practices need to be modified.
  • The Lotus position, forward and backward bends need orthopedic clearance in selected patients.
  • Forward spine exercises may require orthopedic clearance in selected cases as they may precipitate sciatica, if done incorrectly. Painful and/or difficult yoga postures should be avoided. Patients with cervical disc disease, glaucoma should avoid doing inversion postures (head stand, shoulder stand).
  • If pain or paresthesia worsen, stop and consult a doctor.

Weather variations can affect and alter body functions: HCFI

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

Drinking adequate water and consumption of food according to the weather are imperative

New Delhi, 16th May 2019: Recent statistics indicate that between 2030 and 2050, weather extremes are expected to cause around 250,000 additional annual deaths from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress. Extreme heat can make a person feel hot and sweaty and further cause dehydration and heat stroke particularly in people at risk. This includes young children, people over 65 years of age, and those with pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

The need of the hour is to raise awareness on importance of drinking adequate water and staying out of the heat as much as possible. This can help in preventing dehydration and other heat-related problems.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “The early summer season or grishma ritu is hot and dry, while the later part of summer, when rains are on the horizon, is hot and moist. Rains are not usual in early summer in North India. However, this year, early summer has been marked by an unusually increased frequency of dust and thunderstorms, and rains. In Vedas, this is termed vikruti (vitiation) of ritu (season), when the weather forgets its dharma and behaves abnormally. When this happens, all body circadian rhythms also behave abnormally, and body functions are exaggerated. In such weather conditions, wind-sensitive individuals with no evidence of target organ damage can have accelerated hypertension. They are also sensitive to changes in atmospheric pressure.”

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Vitiation of vata (movement) leads to high blood pressure, arrhythmia; pitta (metabolism) increases metabolism and more acidity, while vitiated kapha (structure) may disrupt sugar profile. Any change in environment affects the functions of the body, something that is well-known in Vedic sciences. For instance, the current weather profile in Delhi can lead to the development of accelerated hypertension.”

The significance of a ‘medical vrata’ needs to be underlined for everyone during summer. The simpler version of ‘vrata’ can be: not eating carbohydrates at all once in a week and replacing them with fruits and vegetables.

Some summer tips from HCFI

  • Avoid prolonged exposure to sun when the temperature is high. Use an umbrella if you need to go out. Wear light cotton clothes to avoid heat absorption.
  • Make sure that you are properly hydrated before you step out in the heat. The water requirement in summer is 500 ml more than that in winter. Summer drinks should be refreshing and cool such as panna, khas khas, rose and lemon water, bel sharbat and sattu sharbat.
  • Any drink with more than 10% sugar becomes a soft drink and should be avoided. Ideally, the percentage of sugar, jaggery or khand should be 3%, also present in oral rehydration drinks.
  • A sign of adequate hydration is passing urine at least once in 8 hours. If you develop heat cramps, drink plenty of lemon water with sugar and salt.

Both active and passive smoking are major risk factors for hypertension: HCFI

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India Comments Off

High blood pressure can lead to several health complications and even premature death

New Delhi, 15th May 2019: Recent research has suggested that passive smoking at home or work is linked with a 13% increased risk of hypertension. Living with a smoker after age 20 may be associated with a 15% greater risk. Exposure to passive smoking can lead to hypertension over time with men and women equally affected.

High blood pressure accounts for almost 10 million deaths around the world. The need of the hour is to raise awareness on the fact that smoking is a leading risk factor for this condition and therefore, it is imperative to quit the habit at the earliest. There is a need to stay away from secondhand smoke, and not just reduce exposure, to prevent hypertension.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Smoking can raise blood pressure by as much as 10 mmHg especially in susceptible individuals. The effect is most prominent with the first cigarette of the day in habitual smokers. High blood pressure imposes an up-front burden in people who know they have it and who are working to control it. Apart from adding to health woes, it alters what you eat and how active you are, since lifestyle changes are important in keeping blood pressure under check. Some people need medication and may need to take one or more pills a day, which can prove costly. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to heart attack or stroke, aneurysm, heart failure, organ malfunction, vision loss, metabolic syndrome and memory problems.”

Hypertension is defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140/90 mmHg. It generally doesn’t cause any outward signs or symptoms but silently damages blood vessels, and other organs.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “It is recommend for everyone to get an annual checkup after the age of 30 even in the absence of a no family history of hypertension, diabetes or heart disease.

The old saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ holds true today more than ever. To live above the age of 80, one needs to maintain ideal health parameters and lead an ideal lifestyle. The HCFI Formula of 80 describes certain preventive measures that can be undertaken.

  • Keep your lower BP, fasting sugar, waist circumference, resting heart rate and low- density lipoprotein LDL or the ‘bad’ cholesterol levels all <80.
  • Walk 80 minutes a day; brisk walk 80 minutes a week with a speed of 80 (at least) steps per minute.
  • Keep kidney and lung function more than 80%.
  • Eat less; not more than 80 g/80 mL of caloric food in one meal. Do not eat refined carbohydrates 80 days in a year.
  • Take vitamin D through sunlight 80 days in a year.
  • Do not drink alcohol and if you drink, take less than 80 mL of whiskey (80 proof 40% alcohol) in a day or less than 80 g (240 mL) of whiskey in a week.
  • Do 80 cycles of Pranayama in a day with a speed of 4 breaths/minute.
  • Do not smoke or be ready for heart surgery costing Rs. 80,000/-. Donate blood 80 times in a lifetime.
  • Avoid exposure to >80 dB of noise pollution.

« Previous Entries