Donating Blood Helps Improve Your Chance of Living

Dr. Larry Weinrauch Health Pro
  • As I sat in New Orleans at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual meeting trying to set aside the time to donate blood, I was struck by the relative importance of what I was doing. Donating blood will lower blood viscosity (make my blood less thick), decrease my blood count, decrease inflammatory indices, decrease any excess iron stores in my liver, and perhaps improve my chance of living a bit longer, all while helping the community. So why don’t I do this more often? This is probably a silly question. I ask such questions on occasion. Sometimes they are as ridiculous as: Why don’t our politicians make sense and deal with our major problems. I believe that the constitution states “We the people”, not “we the parties?”

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    The AmericanCollege of Cardiology made a conscious decision to keep the promise that was made to the City of New Orleans and have our 2007 annual Scientific Sessions in this City. We have kept that promise. Members of the College donate their blood and help to rebuild a part of this country. Is it too much to ask that others, including our own politicians, do as much? Let today’s declared candidates step forward with plans to help those that were displaced to bring carpenters, painters, builders and plumbers into this afflicted area. We do it in Baghdad, while Congress bickers over our conduct and speaks about the thousands dead, but when our children come home from protecting the freedom of others, what will they come home to? If they are from the areas that suffered from Katrina they will wonder what we were doing in their absence.

     

    Would it be so wrong to ask the National Guard to help rebuild the homes of those who lost them and had to leave New Orleans? Isn’t the defense of a city, a part of the defense of a country?

     

    If we can’t attract soldiers into the military or National Guard, would it be wrong to offer two years of tax-free educational loans in exchange for each two years of service?

     

    What kind of a country sells the health of its citizens for the benefit of corporate hospital, pharmaceutical, legal and insurance profits? We have 47 million underinsured men, women and children. We start “pay for performance” for doctors, but not for insurance companies. Doctors must order unneeded tests to protect themselves from charges of negligence at great public expense, while lawyers make unconscionable amounts of money (apparently we can limit doctors fees, but not lawyers or drug companies). And guess who pays?

     

    Today let us each ask our elected officials to declare themselves not for their party, but rather for their country, its citizens and soldiers. Let each of us think of how much a unit of our own blood can be used to help those in need of surgery, while possibly decreasing our own cardiac risk.

     

    Some facts from the AmericanCollege of Cardiology meetings that may be interesting:

     

    A study comparing the “Mediterranean diet” and the American Heart Association diet showed no differences with respect to cardiovascular problems if patients were followed by health care providers, but was better than “usual care” (“here is a diet, now go do it”) without health care provider oversight.

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    No surprise in that the group of medicines called “statins” used to lower cholesterol blunted the progression of arteriosclerosis in the carotid arteries.

     

    The addition of large amounts of fish oil to the diet may be beneficial to patients who are already taking statins.

     

    Several new medicines didn’t live up to expectations. Despite their promise, we will never see them. Some did and may become helpful.

     

    Although some diuretics work faster than others, the long-term results are no better with the faster acting medicines.

     

    The anti-constipation and irritable bowel syndrome drug Zelnorm will be “voluntarily’ pulled from the market due to an increased number of heart attacks on this drug

     

    Stenting of coronary arteries may be the most modern treatment but it is not better than medications for stable patterns of coronary artery disease.

     

Published On: June 13, 2007