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Chronic stress is like a silent pandemic, and it is taking away lives. Stress can also have an impact on other lifestyle habits, like eating choices, indulgence in vices like smoking and alcohol, disturbed sleeping habits, under-exercising—all of which are potential risks for your heart.



If there is one thing we have learnt through our practice in the field of Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine, then that is—not all weight we carry is physical in nature. Sometimes, emotional baggage can weigh us down more than physical baggage and can be the only weight you need to lose.

Over the years, we have seen an increase in the number of heart cases come to us, where the person was going through some heart complaint or the other like disrupted lipid profile, palpitations, deranged blood pressure, and even a history of heart strokes. Our practice calls for deep diving into each of these patients’ lifestyle history and assessing the four pillars of lifestyle such as nutrition, sleep, activity, and emotional health, while they are on their medications and taking advice from their doctors. Whenever we delve into their lives and go six months back or the time when they first diagnosed the issue, we find that each of them did have some kind of stress or emotional downfall in their lives. Almost 80% of these cases that come to us have their roots deep into bad emotional health and chronic stress, and these figures are not being exaggerated.

We often say or hear phrases like—“my heart broke” or “I almost had a heart attack”. This is real. Our heart can go through immense amounts of damage in case of adversities like heartbreak, whether it is due to the loss of a loved one or a break-up. It is called Broken Heart Syndrome, and it is a cardiac condition.

The mind and heart coexist and cannot be separated from each other, and this is precisely why the effects of heartbreak are more than the pain we experience in our heads. It has physical repercussions too. When we experience stress of any sort (eg: anger, heartbreak, loneliness, sadness, grief, resentment), our body responds by switching over to the ‘fight or flight’ mode, and it does so in an honest attempt to save you from that threat (stress). It involves a spike in cortisol level and thus a resulting increase in blood pressure, heartbeat, blood flow running to extremities, a rise in blood sugar, and so on. This is our body working beautifully for us. The activation of ‘flight or fight’ mode is necessary because if it doesn’t, you will not be able to run away or react to anything in life. The concern is when this stress persists and becomes chronic, and as a result, the body is always in a state of fight or flight. This means, the blood pressure, heartbeat, blood sugar, also stays chronically high. This can eventually tax your heart and other organs in the body. Chronic stress is like a silent pandemic, and it is taking away lives.

Stress can also have an impact on other lifestyle habits, like eating choices, indulgence in vices like smoking and alcohol, disturbed sleeping habits, under-exercising—all of which are potential risks for your heart.

Ways in which emotions can hamper your heart health:

• Increased inflammation

• Increased heart rate

• Irregular heart rhythms

• Increased blood pressure

• Loss of minerals from the body (Eg: magnesium deficiency that can affect cardiac muscles)

• Lack of sleep (which can, in turn, affect heart health)

All of this can also set the stage for a heart attack or stroke. Even in people with no prior heart disease, chronic stress can double the risk of dying from heart-related causes.


There is no one way to deal with stress. You need to find out what works for you. And no matter what tool or strategy you adopt, the key to overcoming emotional distress is to change the way you perceive it. Let me say this—the way to relate to a particular situation, is what determines how stressed you are. You can relate to a particular situation as devastating or a learning experience. It is all about your mindset and perspective, and no one can take this superpower away from you.

A few tips to get you there.

1. Learn to either accept and make peace with the situation or let go of it completely

2. Practice forgiveness because anything that will free you from the emotional burden. It is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself

3. Learn the art of breathing. It is one of the most effective ways to shift your body from a state of stress to a state of calm

4. Turn to nature in any way you can, whether it’s a walk by a lake or park, witnessing the sunset or sunrise, hearing the chirp of birds or gardening. Nature is healing and grounding

5. If you are someone who likes music, try music therapy to uplift your energy. Make playlists for different moods, and play them whenever you feel low

6. Spend less time on social media, because it can act as

7. fuel to what you are already going through. The false facade of social media can trigger and intensify feelings of loneliness, pain and hurt

8. Visualise a better, healthier, and happier you. Healing starts from the mind. We are what we imagine to be. So, visualising health and healing also has immense benefits. It helps train our subconscious mind to think positive thoughts and that goes a long way in manifesting that into our physical self

9. Most importantly, recognise your feelings, and feel them thoroughly. The more you try to bury it under the carpet, the more it will eat you up from within. And the sooner you acknowledge it, the easier it will be to process and overcome it. The more I see cases of heartaches, the more I see people trying to be good and suppress their real feelings because that’s what the spiritual and meditation books teach us. Too many of us want quick fixes and immediate results or else we give up and continue to be locked in a vicious cycle or never healing or dealing with our emotions. And the more we use coping mechanisms like socialising, shopping, alcohol, drugs, extreme spiritual parts—the harder the journey gets. Allow yourself to feel it, run it out of your system by feeling and riding the emotion completely. If you are hurt but are trying to show the world that you are okay then you will never feel better. Yes, spirituality, meditation, prayer, etc., help us find the inner strength to accept, let go, know us better, live more mindfully. That’s a journey and continuous process- but in the meantime, if you feel the need to truly feel your negative emotions—please feel it, express it and know that you are allowed to do so. Side-by-side, you can always start your journey to self-healing and get better

And, if you really need to seek professional guidance, take it. At the end of it all, make the change. Be the change. We cannot put the responsibility of taking care of our health on others. Some meditate and get spiritual and it works but it doesn’t for some. Find what suits you, but know there is always a better world out there, when we are ready to let go of all that burdens us, only then can we lift up and fly or move forward.

In the olden days, people were forced to deal with and face their emotions, because of the lack of distraction. Let’s take a little wisdom and learn from that too. You might be hurt, but overcoming and healing is your responsibility. Instead of being stuck there and victimising yourself, move to action.

The writer is Holistic Lifestyle Coach – Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine & Founder at YouCare – All about You.

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Health & Wellness

7 steps for better living with diabetes

Dr Pankaj Aggarwal



The sweet death or we can say Diabetes Mellitus is the most commonly found disease in today’s life. As per a survey, about 9.3 per cent of the global adult population suffered from diabetes in 2019. By the year 2045, this number is expected to rise to almost 11 per cent.

Diabetes is a genetic disease that carries on from one generation to another. A person with diabetes is prone to many other diseases which makes it difficult to live life to its fullest.

But where there is a will there’s a way. By following a disciplined lifestyle we can be free from the fear of diabetes from our minds. Here are 7 steps that, when implemented, can make it easier to live with diabetes.


The most significant aspect of our health is our diet. If we take a proper diet and manage to control our taste buds, we can avoid the possibility of becoming a diabetic. The diet should be balanced and as per the requirements of the body. Include plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in your diet. Go for non-fat dairy and lean meats. Limit foods that are high in sugar and fat.


Do you know physical inactivity can reduce the expected life span by nearly four years? Regular physical activity is just as important as a healthy diet. Having a fixed exercise routine for 5 days a week for 30 minutes works miracles. Regular physical activity will not just help lose weight but will also lower blood glucose. It also helps to regulate the level of insulin and other hormones that slides the fear of major complications in future.


For a diabetic patient, it is very important to check sugar levels, blood pressure, cholesterol, eyes, feet and know your A1C regularly. Knowing your vitals helps to make amends in your diet and lifestyle as per need which results in a balanced sugar level.


A diabetic person needs to take regular medication prescribed by their health professional. There are several cases seen in which patients didn’t keep up with their medication as they did not get the desired result. Keep in mind the medication will take some time to impact. So be patient and take your pills.


Try to reduce risk as much as possible and never let your habits like smoking come in your way. Regular check-ups with your health professionals, dieticians is a must to know your well-being.


The mantra for a better recovery rate is patience and belief. Most of the time patients get irritated from all the medications and the disciplined diet they have to follow, but the key to a fast recovery is to find patience and give yourself time to adapt. Try to keep positive thoughts in your mind and get the company of your friends, family and anyone who is there to support you.


The cure of every disease, every problem we face is present somewhere in our subconscious mind. We must know how to manage our thoughts and keep ourselves in the grip. Meditation is the best way that will help you to be the master of your thoughts. 10 – 15 minutes of meditation sessions daily will help you to relax in the journey of recovery.

The writer is M.D. (Hom.); Ph.D. Senior Homeopath, Agrawal Homoeo Clinic.

Diabetes is a genetic disease that carries on from one generation to another. A person with diabetes is prone to many other diseases which makes it difficult to live life to its fullest.

But where there is a will there’s a way.

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Health & Wellness




Remember the time when someone thanked you for your help, or just being there for them? Or may be the time when you received something as a token of appreciation. How did it feel? You might have felt really good, right?

Gratitude is not just a gesture, but a positive feeling that a recipient feels after being offered some sort of help. It is an emotion that strengthens social relationships. Research over many years has proved that expression of gratitude can benefit people in ways more than one can imagine. Some of the proven benefits of practising gratitude include:

1. Strengthens and builds relationships

Showing appreciation to your friends and loved ones strengthens bonds. Expressing gratitude also helps in making new friends and building new relationships because it makes you more approachable.

2. Enhances Positive emotions

Research has shown that expressing gratitude to someone not only makes the receiver feel good, but also boosts the happiness of the giver. You will be surprised to know that practicing gratitude keeps away feelings of envy, frustration and facilitates positive emotions that make us happier and more resilient.

3. Increases self-esteem

Studies have shown that expressing gratitude helps in overcoming the tendency to compare ourselves to others which boosts our self esteem. Another study showed that participants who completed a 4-week gratitude contemplation program expressed greater life satisfaction and self esteem than the control group. (Rash, Matsuba and Prkachin, 2011)

4. Improves sleep quality

Studies have shown the effect of gratitude journaling on one’s sleep quality. In a research done back in 2016, participants who were a part of a 2-week gratitude program witnessed improved patterns of sleep cycle. They also expressed that they felt fresher in the next morning as compared to before.

5. Improves overall health status

Studies among patients with hypertension revealed that those who practised gratitude at least once a week witnessed a significant decrease in their blood sugar level. Research over the past has also shown that grateful people are more likely to stay healthy, exercise more and experience holistic wellness as opposed to their counterparts!

Now truth be told, last two years did bring a whirlwind of uncertainty. The unprecedented times haven’t spared any of us resulting in various difficult emotions. Times have been particularly difficult for those who have lost their loved ones, their jobs or have faced any crisis due to the pandemic.

So if during such difficulties, you had some people who really went above and beyond to be there for you, then gratitude is the best gift you can offer.

While we feel thankful towards those who have helped us, it is equally important to express it through actions. Here are some simple Expert tips with which you can practise expressing gratitude:

1. Verbalise your feelings: Expression with words is the most simple yet powerful method to show gratitude towards those who have helped us.

2. Indulge in acts of kindness: Doing simple chores for the person, or helping them with their daily tasks are simple acts of kindness through which you can express gratitude.

3. Write gratitude notes: Think of the ways someone made your life much easier during your stressful time and write a personal note for them. The message can be as simple as “Thank you for sticking around with me”.

4. An impromptu catch-up: We all feel overwhelmed getting through these times, and a simple catchup to ask how they are doing can be really thoughtful. Show them that you value them by letting them know that you are there for them.

Through its gratitude campaigns YourDOST has enabled various partner stakeholders to establish a culture of expressing gratitude among employees, students and their loved ones.

On this International Thank You Day, pledge to be a little more grateful and rather show grateful actions towards all those around you through these simple ways.

The writer is CEO& Co-founder, YourDOST.

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Health & Wellness


Ayurveda Ritucharya guides us on how to incorporate a diet that imparts us with warmth, nourishment and a cosy feeling during the colder months.



When you think of feelings that you wish to experience in winters, what comes first to your mind? Warmth, nourishment, flexibility and flow (circulation) is what you seek in winters as the body tends to become cold, dry and condensed with coldness in the atmosphere, that in a way immobilizes you making you get colder, lazy and stagnant within. Mind also tends to become lazy and the pace of life gets slowed down. It is the time for the body and mind to rest, reflect internally and get cozy.

Now lets look at nature. During winters days become shorter and rest-phase increases, air gets drier and heavier with cold waves creating an energy of hibernation for many life forms. The balance in winters is created when the Sun shines through, bringing some warmth, nourishment and a sense of coziness during cold winter days.

Do you get some cues here? Nature is playing within us exactly the same way as it is playing in the atmosphere. Thus, like the sunny hues bring warmth, nourishment and cozy feeling to the days in the summer months, similarly we ought to create our internal balance with a lifestyle and diet that brings warmth, nourishment and cozy feeling during cold winter days.

This is what Ayurveda Ritucharya guides us on! How to incorporate a diet that imparts you warmth, nourishment and cozy feeling during cold summer months. This also creates internal balance with external environment which is much needed to keep immunity strong.

Suggestions for Winter Diet & Lifestyle for Warmth and Free Inner Flow

1. Eat warm, lightly spiced food to increase the heat factor of the body. Avoid cold foods as these decrease the heat factor creating more cold within leading to imbalances such as cold, flu, respiratory issues and sinus concerns.

2. Include spices in your meals. Spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, clove, cumin, fennel, ginger, mustard seed, nutmeg, pepper, and turmeric have a warming quality and help deal with internal heat and dissolve mucus.

3. Add dense foods in diet that control the vata such as ghee, cold-pressed mustard oil and cold-pressed sesame oil.

4. Add cooked seasonal vegetables to diet that include vegetables from cruciferous family like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, leeks and turnips. Dense root vegetables provide density to the flowyvata tendency in winters and include vegetables such as beets and carrots.

5. Consume ample hot beverages through the day that may include warm water, spice-infused water such as CCF (coriander, cumin, fennel tea), tulsi tea, giner-cinnamon-clove tea to keep the heat factor and circulation up in the body.

6. Consume cooked grains with semi-liquid consistency and served warm to up your energy (prana) in winters. Grain such as oatmeal, rice, wheat or kitchari are warm, nourishing and satisfying for cold winter months. Legumes are usually good for kapha, but they should be well-cooked, well-spiced, and garnished with a dollop of ghee so as not to aggravate vata.

7. Consume vegetable or bean soup regularly to nourish body with micronutrients.

8. Sweet tasting foods are calming and nourishing in winters. Sweet taste resonates with digestive energy which is stronger in winters. A happy stomach is a balanced mind! Consume natural sweets like sesame balls, date and nut balls, sweet garin porridge to keep energy up in winters.

9. Ayurveda herb concoctions such as Trikatu powder is great to keep the digestive fire high in winter months. It also keeps the respiratory tract free of mucus conditions. Consuming half a cup trikatu tea can enhance immunity.

10. Good cooking styles for winters include soups, stews, hot cereals, herbal teas and warm beverages. The idea here is to maintain the warm body temperature considering cold outer environment.

11. Practicing yoga to create some body heat helps create internal balance. Practices such as Surya Namskar, abdominal twists such as ardhamatsyendrasanaasana help move the Kapha to lend flow and circulation to the body.

The writer is a certified Macrobiotic Nutritionist, Alkaline Diet Coach, a Clinical Nutritionist and a Raw & living foods educator.

Consume cooked grains with semi-liquid consistency and served warm to up your energy (prana) in winter. Grains such as oatmeal, rice, wheat or kitchari are warm, nourishing and satisfying for cold winter months. Legumes are usually good for kapha, but they should be well-cooked, well-spiced, and garnished with a dollop of ghee so as not to aggravate vata.

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Health & Wellness

Seven warning signs of brain tumour



The signs and symptoms of brain tumour are diverse and may vary from mild to major red flag signs.

Change in the pattern of headaches, constant sensation of vomiting, blurred vision can be the warning sign of a brain tumor which cannot be ignored. Brain tumour is a cluster of abnormal cells that arises from the nervous tissues of the brain. It is the irregular proliferation of cells creating a tumour. Brain tumours can either be benign, with no cancer cells, or malignant, with cancer cells that grow quickly.

Common types of non-cancerous tumours are pituitary adenoma, meningioma, acoustic neuroma. The cancerous tumours are gliomas, ependymomas, medulloblastomas, metastasis from cancers of different body parts, etc.

The signs and symptoms of brain tumour are diverse and may vary from mild to major red flag signs. Not all the signs or symptoms are present in all patients. The symptoms mainly depend on the location of the tumour in the brain. The most common warning signs of brain tumours are as follows. Majority of the tumours presents with a mix of these signs & symptoms.


A brain tumour may cause the neurons to fire uncontrollably leading to abnormal body movements. The seizure may be focal, involving one area of the body or it may be generalized involving the whole body. This usually happens when the tumour involves parietal lobe of brain, which controls motor function of the body.


Loss of balance and clumsiness in fine movements are linked with tumours of the cerebellum. The cerebellum commonly known as small brain which is behind the head and just above the neck area controls the balance of the body. So, a tumour in this location leads to vertigo, giddiness, or imbalance. Sometimes a person tends to sway towards one side while walking and feels like falling.


Blurred vision, double vision, partial or complete loss of vision can be signs of a brain tumour if it is in occipital lobe, temporal lobe, brain stem or near pituitary gland. The tumours may lead to pressure on optic pathways leading to visual disturbances. Pituitary adenoma and optic nerve meningiomas are most common tumours leading to visual disturbances. Acoustic neuromas are tumours located in nerve of ear, which leads to hearing loss or some whistle like noise in ear (tinnitus).


Tumours in the frontal or temporal lobe may lead to forgetfulness, changes in behaviour, confusion, changes in judgement and changes in speech. People tend to become agitated without any reason or may tend to become inactive in some situations. Usually, the recent memory loss is a common symptom in such tumours.


Nausea and vomiting may be a symptom of simple gastric disturbance but if it is persistent in nature and associated with projectile vomiting, it may signal an underlying brain problem. This usually happens because of edema in surrounding brain due to tumour.


Altered perception of touch, pressure, weakness, or decreased movements of limbs on one side are signs of a tumour located in frontal or parietal lobe. Many times, patients just feels that his or her handwriting has changed, or the signature has changed because of weakness in hands. Difficulty in swallowing and facial weakness is a sign of brain stem tumours.


Headache may be experienced around the tumour area. Unlike the usual headache, it is persistent for more than few days and associated commonly with nausea, vomiting or other signs. The swelling near the tumour area leads to pressure on surrounding tissues and it leads to headache. It may be severe and experienced more in early morning. The headache usually happens in many other conditions also, so only headache may not be the symptom in many brain tumours.

The treatment depends on the type, size, location of the tumour and the general health of the patient. Malignant tumours are usually treated with a surgery. Some tumours multiply rapidly while some tumours grow very slowly. Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. If you see any of the signs and symptoms mentioned immediately consult a doctor for further evaluation and treatment.

The authors are radiation oncologist, Department of Radiation Oncology, HCG Cancer Centre Ahmedabad.

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Health & Wellness


Dr Chandrashekhar T



WHO and regulatory authorities will continuously monitor the use of Covid -19 vaccines to identify and respond to any safety issues that might arise.

Covid vaccine in children is very safe. Approved by Govt of India for children between 15-18 years of age. There are strict precautions in place to ensure the safety of all Covid vaccines. Before receiving validation from WHO and national regulatory agencies for emergency use, Covid -19 vaccines must undergo rigorous testing in clinical trials to prove that they meet internationally agreed benchmark for safety and efficacy. As with all vaccines, WHO and regulatory authorities will continuously monitor the use of Covid -19 vaccines to identify and respond to any safety issues that might arise. Need few precautions before giving Covid vaccine. Covid -19 vaccine and other vaccines should be separated by an interval of at least 14 days. Second dose should also be of the same Covid -19 vaccines which was administered as the first dose. Interchangeability of Covid -19 vaccines is not allowed. Persons who developed allergic reactions to a previous dose of vaccine should not receive the second dose. Persons who have active Covid infection, vaccination should defer till 4-8 weeks after recovery. Vaccine should be administered with caution in persons with history of bleeding disorder. It is recommended that both doses of vaccine should be taken for full benefit of vaccination.

Like any vaccine, some people will experience mild to moderate pain on the injection site, muscle pain, headache. These are the signs that the body’s immune system is responding to vaccine and gearing up against the virus. Sometimes mild to moderate fever with or without chill. These symptoms disappear own its own in few days without any treatment.

Following are the reported side effect of Covid -19 vaccine

• Fever

• Fatigue

• Headache

• Muscle pain

• Chills

• Diarrhoea

• Pain at the injection site

If high temperature lasts longer than 2 days, a new continuous cough developed, should suspect to have Covid -19 infection. And infection not from the Covid -19 vaccine, may have caught it just before or after vaccination.

The Author is a Paediatrician

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Health & Wellness


Depleting air quality is a significant threat to our body, it may cause severe and potentially fatal symptoms and complications.

Dr Tapan Ghose



Air pollution can cause harm to the cardiovascular and respiratory systems due to its effect on inflammation in the heart and throughout the body. For people with existing heart problems, exposure to high levels of air pollution can trigger irregular heartbeats that may lead to cardiac disease like irregular heartbeats, heart attacks, strokes, and heart failures. Incidences of heart diseases like arrhythmia are increasing among the general population across younger age groups. Also, for people with a medical condition called heart failure, air pollution can further reduce the ability of the heart to pump blood the way it should.

Air pollution can cause various diseasesPollutants released from industries are very harmfulAir pollution could increase risk of heart disease

Let us dive deeper to know more about heart rhythm disorders.


Heart rhythm disorders can be termed arrhythmia or Atrial Fibrillation (irregular heartbeats), which occurs when there is a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. It mainly occurs when the electrical signals that coordinate heartbeats are not working correctly. An irregular heartbeat may feel like a racing heart or fluttering. A person’s heart can beat too fast, too slowly, or with an irregular rhythm during an arrhythmia. When a heart beats too fast, the condition is called tachycardia. When a heart beats too slowly, the situation is called bradycardia. However, many heart arrhythmias are harmless. You may feel faint or dizzy or have difficulty breathing. But, in case if they are highly irregular or result from a weak or damaged heart, then it may cause severe and potentially fatal symptoms and complications.

If an arrhythmia is left untreated, the heart may not pump enough blood to the body. This can damage the heart, the brain, or other organs.

Arrhythmia mainly occurs during old age as the heart gets weak, but cases have been rising among the younger population in recent years.


Depleting air quality is a significant threat to our body, PM 2.5, PM 10, and nitrogen-di-oxide released due to traffic pollution, burning of firewood, smoking, industrial pollution, etc. can cause heart palpitations (irregular heartbeats) as plaque can build up in the arteries through which nutrients, blood, and oxygen are supplied to various parts of the body. In addition, these pollutants can travel up the bloodstream, which can, in turn, narrow your arteries and weaken your muscles, making you prone to heart attacks.

Other parts of the body like your lungs, brain, and skin can also be affected in the long run.


When a person suffers from Arrhythmia caused by air pollution, they can experience a series of symptoms, including abnormal heartbeats (slower or faster than the regular BPM), breathlessness, fatigue, anxiety, sweating, dizziness, and chest pain.

Since air pollution can also affect your lungs, symptoms like shortness of breath, headaches, allergic fevers, and asthma also trigger pre-existing medical conditions. In addition, daily exposure to high levels of pollution can increase the aging of your lungs and heart, leading to death at an early stage.


When the above symptoms worsen, for instance, increased breathlessness, sudden palpitations caused by irregular heart rhythm, raging chest pains, or a heart attack, it is advisable to visit a cardiologist for immediate consultation and ensure timely treatment.

Appropriate lifestyle style changes should be made to avoid suffering from heart conditions; it is essential to realize that one should avoid smoking, indulging in excess alcohol, having a heart-healthy diet that contributes to strengthening your heart, maintaining a physically active routine by exercising, and also managing your stress; these steps can help in effectively managing your heart health.

The author is the Director and Head of Cardiology at FHVK

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