DR. DEAS: 'If I can help somebody’s arteries and veins'

Dr. Gerald Deas | 9/2/2016, 12:16 p.m.
As a physician, I took care of many bodies that were traveling wrong, and believe me, they had a lot ...
Circulatory system

I’m sure that you have heard some great gospel singers sing that wrenching and uplifting song, “If I Can Help Somebody.” It is usually sung at funerals, but not at weddings. I guess it should be sung at weddings,too, because so many end unhappily. The words often draw tears from those who have never helped anybody. Now, I don’t want to get into that, but you know what I mean. Here is the first stanza of the song:

If I can help somebody, as I pass along

If I can cheer somebody with a word or song

If I can show somebody that they are traveling wrong

Then, my living shall not be in vain

As a physician, I took care of many bodies that were traveling wrong, and believe me, they had a lot of trouble with their arteries and veins because of lack of exercise and poor nutrition. An added verse to the song, from a doctor’s point of view could be the following:

If I can help your veins and arteries

While you sit, not exercising at home

If I could help those vessels to stay

Unclogged and strong

Then my living as a doctor, would not be in vain

Just remember, the arteries and veins are connected. As the blood is pumped out of the heart through arteries, it is under great pressure. If those arteries are injured because of increased pressure, hardening of the arteries results. Arterial blood carries precious oxygen to organs throughout the body. Blood is returned to the heart through veins with carbon dioxide, which is collected from the different organs. This blood moves very slowly and depends upon muscular contractions in the legs. If the blood flow is slowed, blood clots can often form, resulting in a condition known as pulmonary embolism (clots traveling to the lungs)

To keep veins healthy, reducing clot formation is a must! Some clot prevention can be achieved by following the suggestions below:

• When riding long distances, stop for frequent walks.

• Do not cross your legs for long periods.

• Do not wear garters or elastic socks below the knee.

• When sitting for long periods, elevate the legs as high as the heart.

• If your leg becomes swollen, painful and change in color, medical attention should be immediate. These conditions may be the first signs of a clot formation and often may require hospitalization.

Healthy arteries can be achieved by the following rules:

• Exercise 30 minutes daily, five times weekly. If the weather is poor, walk around the mall, go shopping, etc.

• Decrease saturated fats in your diet. Read labels. Fats that remain liquid at room temperature, such as olive oil and canola oil, are less saturated. Eat fish that contain high amounts of omega3 oils, such as salmon, sardines, tuna or mackerel.

• Eliminate all tobacco products, and drink alcohol (preferably wine) sparingly.

Remember, if you have to fry it, don’t even buy it. If You have to whip it, why not skip it? If you have to batter it, don’t even flatter it. If you have to cream it, don’t even dream it.

Some notable entertainers such as Shirley Horn and Ella Fitzgerald experienced amputations of their lower extremities because of blood vessel problems. To make sure that you maintain healthy arteries and veins, follow the suggestions, and keeping them healthy will not be in vain.