2012-04-04 / Health

Heart patients can grow new arteries

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I don’t remember you addressing this subject, so I thought I would write. In 1997, I had a mild heart attack and went on medicines. Six months later I had another mild incident that led me to angioplasty. Ever since, I have been eating well, exercising and taking all my meds. My cardiologist says I have great collaterals. I have sprouted new vessels for my heart. I thought I should have some kind of intervention, but the doctor says no. Can you discuss autogenesis? Am I related to a starfish? — R.S.

ANSWER: You’re the first writer ever to use the word “autogenesis.” If a starfish loses an arm, it grows another — autogenesis. Humans have the same ability when it comes to blood vessels. They can grow new ones, and do so in many instances. Heart-attack victims often can sprout new arteries. It’s a long process. It doesn’t happen overnight. And it doesn’t happen to all people. Count yourself lucky.

The booklet on CAD — coronary artery disease — discusses how vessels become plugged and how they are treated. To order a copy, write: Dr. Donohue — No. 101W, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 with the recipient’s printed name and address.

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DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I looked in the mirror this morning and couldn’t believe what I saw. My right eye was bright red. It looked like someone had punched me. When my husband saw it, he asked if he had hit me while he was asleep. He didn’t.

It doesn’t hurt. My vision is perfect. My eye looks frightful. Do I need to see a doctor? — Y.T.

ANSWER: Your question is asked repeatedly. My long-distance guess is a subconjunctival hemorrhage. The conjunctiva is a cellophane like covering of the eye. Beneath it is a network of invisible blood vessels. When one of those delicate vessels breaks, blood covers that part of the eye.

Coughing, sneezing or straining causes the breakage. Sometimes it happens for no apparent reason. The eye looks awful, but no real harm is done. The blood is absorbed in about a week. You can hurry it up by putting warm compresses over the closed eye.

You need to see a doctor if the eye begins to pain you, if the blood stays for longer than a week or if it happens time and again.

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DEAR DR. DONOHUE: Does heartburn cause asthma attacks? It sounds weird to me, but my doctor thinks that’s what causing my breathing problems. He has me on medicines for heartburn. I can’t believe they’ll help. — J.R.

ANSWER: Your doctor isn’t coming from out of left field. Heartburn can be an asthma trigger. Heartburn is officially called gastroesophageal reflux — an upward shooting of stomach acid and digestive juices into the esophagus, the swallowing tube.

The juices can rise so far up that they leak out of the esophagus and trickle into the bronchi, the airways. That’s what sets off an asthma attack.

Readers may write Dr. Donohue or request an order form of available health newsletters at P. O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853- 6475.

©2012 North America Synd.

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