Do adults also need routine Vaccinations?

It’s not only children who need to be vaccinated. Even adults need vaccinations to boost their immunity against common infections and to help them stay healthy. It is a commonly held belief that in terms of physical strength from birth, human beings reach a peak at age of 20, maintain it between the ages of 20 to 30 after which it is all downhill.

A similar phenomenon happens with regards to our body’s immunity against infections and it is referred to as immuno-senescence. This usually occurs after the age of 50 yrs. Young children and adults build up their immunity by acquiring infections and by vaccinations. This keeps them protected. Immunosenesence affects all parts of the immune system,both the cellular arm as well as the humoral (antibody) arm reducing their ability to produce antibodies as well as the ability to gobble up bacteria and digest them.

Recently, after the Covid pandemic, talk about vaccinations seems to upset many people. Many believe that vaccines are a gimmick and are employed by the pharmaceutical industry and doctors only to make money. Many others also believe that vaccinations have some common and terrible side-effects and therefore must be avoided at all cost. What must be recognised is that except for the Covid vaccines most vaccines have been vigorously evaluated for safety, potency, side-effects and have taken many years to be developed. But even Covid vaccines have been shown to reduce the pneumonia to just a mere flu like illness! While I am not denying the the possibility of side-effects to the vaccines, it is my opinion that vaccines have a significant benefit in keeping people healthy and away from hospitals!

Why are vaccines important?

Vaccines are the most important methods of improving our immunity against specific infections. If people stop taking vaccines, it could possible lead to the increase in previously uncommon infectious diseases. Vaccinations have ensured that quite a few diseases have been eradicated or completely suppressed. Smallpox is no longer prevalent in the world. Many other infections like polio are less of a problem today than they were in the past. Therefore, you cannot deny that vaccines have made a big difference. The WHO says that vaccine hesitancy as one of the biggest threats to global health (when people who have access to vaccines delay accepting or refuse the vaccine).

How to look at Vaccines?

Do we ask if vaccines are needed for our children. A majority of the vaccines are given to our children without us referring to google or questioning the rationale because childhood vaccination as they have stood the test of time. Vaccinations has been proven beyond doubt to be helpful and necessary to have healthy children. However, of late the medical fraternity is getting the same amount of confidence to recommend certain vaccines to adults i.e., those above the age of 60-65 yrs and younger especially when they have certain disease conditions. In one study done in the US on those above the age of 60 yrs who received “routine” adult vaccinations and were then followed up for 10 yrs, showed a 40% reduction in pneumonias, 40 % reduction of heart attacks (which often happen after a pneumonia) and a 40% reduction of hospitalization and all cause mortality. This changed my perspective completely! There are 6 vaccines (if Covid is included) that must be offered to those above the age of 65 yrs routinely and for those above 60 if they have specific diseases.

Below are the vaccinations that are recommended for adults based only on age.

Vaccines recommeded based on Age criteria alone.

Contact me for any clarifications!

Coffee in the news!

Coffee is a stimulant with caffeine as the active ingredient. It acts by activating the central nervous system. It can counteract tiredness and improve concentration and focus. Caffeine has very many effects on the body apart from increasing mental alertness. It can also cause an increase in the heartrate, BP and can make you feel warm on a cold day Caffeinated drinks, especially coffee, teas (regular as well as green tea) energy drinks and colas are popular throughout the world and are drunk by people of nearly all age groups. Below are excerpts from a few articles about coffee that I have recently read online, which may be of interest to you. If so …….read on.

Daily coffee intake may benefit the heart

There used to be a time when coffee was believed to be harmful to the heart and was discouraged. But recently even people who have suffered a heart attack are not denied their daily cuppa. Even in those without heart disease, drinking coffee can increase the heart rate and some people worry that this could trigger off a heart attack or an arrhythmia (palpitations). Recently there was a publication by the American College of cardiology reporting that coffee intake specially 2-3 cups a day may actually be good for the heart. In the UK they has followed patients for a 10 year period They divided patients into groups according to the number of cups of coffee that they consumed. The groups were <1, 1 to 2 cups,2-3 cups, 4 to 5 cups and lastly 5 or more cups a day and they found that, those who had 2-3 cups of coffee a day had a 10 to 15% lower risk of developing heart disease (coronary heart disease), heart failure, heart rhythm problems and from dying from any cause. In another study done on people already having some kind of cardiovascular disease at baseline, 3 cups a day was associated with a lower risk of dying. So the take home message was that having 2-3 cups of coffee a day may actualy do you good in the long run.

Drinking 2 or more cups of coffee by patients with severe hypertension ups the mortality!
This article was published in the Journal of the American heart association reported from Japan found that when hypertensive people (defined as those with BP >160/100) who take 2 or more cups of coffee had a higher death rate. This is not seen in people who take less in 1 cup of coffee or people who had well controlled or NO severe hypertension.

High caffeine levels may lower body mass index, fat index and type 2 diabetes risks!
A study done from Sweden had shown that 2 gene variations results in genetically predicted lifelong higher caffeine concentration in the blood and this was associated with a lower body mass index, lower body fat mass and a lower risk for diabetes mellitus. 50% of the benefits in preventing diabetes comes from reduction of the body mass index or a body weight. Coffee has been known to be thermogenic. I.e. it increases the fat burn. The authors cautions that further studies need to be done before linking caffeine consumption with prevention of diabetes, i.e. it does not prove cause and effect relation between caffeine and and diabetes prevention.

Although there may seem to be many contradictions regarding the benefits of coffee in health , this may be due to different study populations, different methodologies and dfferent interpretations. It may be safe to conclude that coffee consumption is indeed safe. Despite coffee’s various effects on the body it may have some benfits to those driniking it. However, based on currently available evidence in medical literature, it probably cannot be recommended to non drinkers (of coffee) to improve their health at this point in time.

Anger and why you must control it!

Anger is a sudden maladaptive response to a variety of stimuli characterised by an aggression which could be verbal, physical or both. It is provoked more often in people with a certain personality types especially when subjected to stressful triggers or situations in specific contexts. It may even be provoked by minor stimuli in anyone depending on the circumstance. While it has been essential for the survival of our species, modern life (in overcrowded urban jungles) provides too many stressors that provoke unnecessary anger which then has long term health implications. This article attempts to throw some light as to the causes, effects and changes during and after an episode of Anger.

Civilisation and urbanisation forces people of all different personality types, of different interests and priorities to live together. In the hustle and bustle of daily living we are forced to deal with different situations and people who could make our lives difficult, with intention or otherwise. We are provoked into losing our tempers, get angry, explode (or implode) and suffer the consequences. Our personality type, our current mental state, our previous experiences, the people we have to deal with, all have a role in determining how we respond to a situation and how angry we get. Often we get irritated with what is happening and if this isn’t resolved, results in anger. I call Anger a maladaptive response because we get angry only with people we can get away with showing it and it rarely solves the issue that provoked it.

The Anger reaction begins in the Amygdala in the brain, it spread to the Hypothalamus and the Pituitary which releases ACTH hormone that stimulates Cortisol secretion from the Adrenal glands. Cortisol suppresses the immune system, increase sugar production and the conversion of Fatty acids to energy. The adrenals also produce Adrenaline which increase the Heart rate BP and the Cardiac output. Adrenaline also increases the release fo glucose from the Liver and increases the tension in the skeletal muscle and also increasing the rate and force of contraction of the skeletal muscles. The respiratory rate increases and visual fields constrict and pupils dilate allowing the angry person to focus on the person triggering the reaction. In short the body prepares for “fight or flight” when angry.

All these hormones increase the blood pressure, Heart rate and respiratory rates. Blood is shunted away from “nonessential” organs such as the intestine and kidneys in favour of the heart lung brain and skeletal muscles. It is quite common to feel like you want to empty your bladder or even vomit when very stressed.

Chronic and recurrent Anger depletes the body’s ability to fight inflammation that is triggered by the free radicals. This eventually causes disease.

Anger is known to cause frequent headaches, digestive problems and abdominal pain/gastritis, Insomnia, increased anxiety and depression, skin problems and eczema and even Heart attacks and Strokes.

Your Anger has not only implications for you, your mental and physical well being and productivity but also for that of your family, friends, work colleagues and everyone in your immediate surroundings. Your anger will have a domino effect on others. It is therefore very important to control or release your anger, not just for your own selfish reasons but also for the greater good of society.

The first step in Anger management would be to realise that Anger is harmful to you more than to anyone else. While there may be many ways to keep your anger in control, I personally believe that if you have an understanding nature, have empathy for others and make excuses (to yourself) for their inability to see or do things your way – you could control your anger. Being placid or timid or avoiding people or situations may not necessarily be the right way to deal with anger or a situation that could make you angry. Learning to meditate, attempting to resolve conflict by understanding the other person and seeking counselling (professional) could help you deal with your anger. Yoga, exercise, regular breaks from your work, having a supportive network of friends and family could also help you release your anger. Keeping a diary could help you understand your anger and could help you device strategies to cope with stressful situations when they happen the next time.

My very best wishes to you for staying cool always.

Benefits of a high Fibre diet

Fibre or roughage refers to the undigested vegetable matter containing substances like cellulose, lignin and pectin which are not completely broken down and digested by the intestines. Most of the fibre is removed from cereals when they are processed and polished. Good carbs refer to carbohydrate foods that are high in fibre and not in sugar. High fibre and whole-grain intake have been shown to significantly reduce mortality and chronic illnesses. It has been estimated that the average dietary fibre intake in adult American men and women is 18gms and 15gms (when the recommendation is 33.6gms and 28gms per day). Given below are some of the benefits of a high fibre diet:

– 15-30% reduction in all cause and cardiovascular mortality including the incidence of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and colon cancer.

– High fibre reduces body weight, blood pressure and total cholesterol.

– Decreased body weight in turn reduces risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many cancers.

– Fibre reduces intestinal transit time by bulking up the stools and improving the emptying of the colon. The higher incidence of colon cancer in Western society is attributed to the lack of adequate dietary fibre. In contrast, rural African communities consuming traditional meals of high fibre, low meat and low fat have very low colon cancer rates.

– High fibre cereal intake is associated with improved insulin sensitivity, lipid profile, endothelial function and reduces inflammation.

– High fibre intake has been shown to reduce the incidence of prostate, lung, colorectal and ovarian (PLCO) cancer and has an inverse relationship with cancers of the head and neck region, especially oral cavity and pharyngeal cancers. This happens independent of whether they are smokers and alcohol drinkers or not.

– The benefits of fibre are not only due to the fibre itself but also due to the other nutrients accompanying it. Metabolites of fibre, particularly butyrate can prevent cancer in any part of the body. Phyto-nutrients that accompany dietary fibre in food have additional health benefits. People who eat a high-fibre diet tend to be more health conscious and have a better life style.

– It is believed that fibre in any form (even as a pill) is good for health.

– Fibre rich foods are wholegrains, green vegetables, legumes, whole fruit with skin, etc.

Author’s note:

You would do very well to incorporate a salad with every meal.

What you should know about Health!



In dictionaries Health is defined as   “a state of being free from illness or injury”.  The WHO defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not nearly the absence of disease or infirmity”.


If one were to ask around, the perception of health may be very different such as

  • the ability to perform feats of extreme endurance (such as running a marathon) or to demonstrate great physical strength (such as lifting a very heavy weight)
  • Absence of disease
  • not needing to take any medicines
  • never needing hospitalisation
  • never having any physical complaints of the body
  • never catching colds or fevers
  • able to work long and hard at the job without any difficulty                                                                     


People often start thinking of health only when it is lost. Many, think they can wish away their health problems. Many illnesses are under recognised. Illnesses such as Stress, depression, Obesity, high cholesterol, Alcohol and Nicotine use, high BP and even Diabetes are often looked over as being unimportant or not needing any treatment or even attention. Most people are in a state of denial of these minor ailments and refuse to take remedial action and therefore suffer bigger and more grave conditions such as Heart attacks, Strokes, Kidney failure and Cancer.


It is a state where the mind and body are functioning at their optimal best. (the best you that you could possibly be!)

Health could mean all the following put together

– having a positive cheerful outlook always

– not feeling tired at any time of the day

– sleeping well everyday.

– having a good exercise capacity.

– having a good social life which keeps you happy and contented.

– having all your blood parameters under good control

– achieving your ideal body weight and shape.

HEALTH basically means that you are a living machine functioning without any problems and on testing has been found to have all normal parameters and are on auto-pilot mode to maintain your current (health) status!

Unfortunately in reality, health is an unsteady state. You could be healthy one minute and unhealthy the next. Importantly Health cannot be taken for granted and is a goal that you should work towards constantly.


(A) Healthy Habits to be cultivated

Diet – always eat less than you want to

         remember tasty food is usually unhealthy. Eat less of it.

       – have small frequent meals

       – Break Fast like a King, Lunch as a Prince and Dine like a Pauper.

       – choose natural organic foods to Processed/Packaged/Fast foods.

       – choose a variety of fruits and vegetable to eat during each meal.

       – ensure adequate fibre intake with your food.

       – Avoid starving as well as feasting.

Exercise – Exercise daily

  – Both aerobic and Resistance training is essential.

               – seek professional guidance before embarking on an exercise programme.

  – never exercise to exhaustion and ensure recovery before the next session.

To achieve your Ideal Body Weight and shape

– it is essential never to carry excess body weight.

– know your ideal BMI, waist hip ratios and work on achieving your targets

– to achieve your ideal weight requires both dietary restriction and adequate exercise.

Sleep – try to get 7-9 hrs of sleep at night.

          – an afternoon siesta is definitely good for your health.

Stress control

– Identify your non-negotiable principles in  life, stress often occurs when your actions        contradict your principles.

– Think of how you will achieve a good Work Life balance.

-Set aside some time daily for yourself.

-Human beings are social animals and having a good circle of friends would go a long

in helping you cope with the rigours of life.

– Make time to attend your friend’s birthday parties, weddings and other social events.

– A positive frame of mind – is essential to prevent stress build up.

– Hope for the future, Faith in the Almighty are huge stress busters.

– Meditation and mind control.

– Dream big, set huge goals. Focus on your goals and work towards them.

– Prioritise

– take regular holidays and breaks from the routine.

Stress release- People prefer a variety of activities to release stress in their lives.

– Aerobic exercise – jogging, cycling, swimming, Dancing

– Gym and Weight Training

– Yoga, Tai chi, Karate and Martial arts,

– Sports – Tennis, badminton, etc

(B) To set health Goals and Targets

– Goals for Ideal Body Weight and shape

– Goals for BP, Blood sugars and Cholesterol

– Goals for aerobic exercise

(C) Health Monitoring

   – speak to your doctor about your Annual Master Health Check up.

– “what gets measured, improves”

(D) Plan your Day Week and Year

    -“Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”

-Everyone has only 24 hrs a day. If sleep takes up 6-8 hrs, Work 8-12 hrs, travel 1-2 hrs only  2-8 hrs are left for everything else in your life. If you increase the time at work, you would automatically have less time for sleep/rest or exercise. It is therefore imperative to plan your day, everyday!


Unhealthy habits and practices lead to disease and loss of health/disease, whereas healthy habits and practices lead to health, reversal of diseases and improved quality of life. It is therefore important to make all the necessary changes and to adopt all the healthy practices and habits to achieve the best possible health for ourselves at every stage of our lives.

People focus so much on their jobs that they are unable to even think of health.

Health requires regular thinking of how to stay healthy, how to monitor current body status and to make the necessary changes by consulting experts.

My next few articles would expand on each of the points highlighted!