- Published on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 22:30
- Written by Jackie Jones, BlackAmericaWeb.com
Dr. Scott E. Henry, a cardiovascular surgeon in the Division of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery Henry Ford Hospital, always seemed on track to great success.
He graduated 6th in his high school class of 335; he was president of the senior class and captain of the football team. He graduated from Indiana University with honors and a degree in biochemistry in three years before moving on to the Washington University School of Medicine and then a residency in general surgery, after graduation, at Wayne State University/Detroit Medical Center, followed by a fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Louisville and a staff position in Reading, Pa.
But Henry, in a video on the Henry Ford website, said he feels most successful when a patient who came in with a serious, possibly life-threatening problem can walk out of the hospital in pretty good shape.
Henry has been battle tested, too.
After a year in Reading, Henry was deployed to Al Kut, Iraq as part of a Forward Surgical Team in the U.S. Army as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He joined Henry Ford Hospital after that deployment ended and he also has done a tour in Afghanistan, providing medical services to soldiers.
And while the cardiovascular surgeon’s primary focus is on heart disease, strokes, heart attacks etc., he is also concerned about the mental health of U.S. soldiers.
In June, The New York Times reported, the Pentagon said the suicide rate among the nation’s active-duty military personnel had spiked to the rate of almost one a day and was on pace to set a record this year, the highest since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The rate has increased despite the U.S. drawdown of troops in both countries and military efforts to provide mental health, drug and alcohol, and financial counseling services.
In response, the Defense Department (DoD) has established a Defense Suicide Prevention Office and DoD has worked with Veterans Affairs (VA) to create a suicide awareness campaign.
Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told The Times that suicides among active-duty military personnel were merely “the tip of the iceberg,” citing a survey his organization had done of 160,000 members that found that 37 percent knew someone who had committed suicide.
Rieckhoff said there was a shortage of qualified mental health professionals to assist active duty soldiers and that some service men and women fear being stigmatized if they seek professional help.
One veteran, who did not want to be identified, told BlackAmericaWeb.com in an earlier interview that when she asked for counseling after her first tour in Iraq, she was ignored. When told she would be redeployed she said she asked for a deferment and was told that if she insisted on treatment, she would be considered a malingerer and stripped of her rank.
The woman said she feared losing rank and with the economy in tough straits, going back to civilian life seemed out of the question. She said she was given some medication “and I took those little pills and went right back to Iraq.”
She served two more years after her second deployment before finally mustering out of the Army. She got help and is now working and back in college.
“Obtaining employment and quality education remain big obstacles, as well. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans continue to face higher levels of unemployment compared to civilians, according to the (Bureau of Labor Statistics),” Rieckhoff wrote in a blog for the Huffington Post in September.
“This underlies the fact that just as we need a national effort to win the battle against suicide, we need the same collaboration to surge against veteran unemployment and other challenges facing the New Greatest Generation.”
Why does insulin make you gain weight?
This results from changes in glucose and protein metabolism. Insulin therapy results in the body's more efficient use of calories which may cause weight therefore magnifying the importance of exercise and diet modification.
As a veteran, the care from VA is poor and adds to our stress what can be done?
This is an unfortunate frustration expressed by many veterans. I suggest taking specific concerns to the administration at your VA facility.
My cousin has an enlarged heart and has trouble losing weight, how can I help her?
She should see her primary care doctor who can refer her to a cardiologist. The cardiologist can maximize the medical treatment for her heart condition and possibly set her up with cardiac rehabilitation if indicated.
Dr. Henry, do you get a lot of patients with heart disease? If so, what test should we get and if on Medicaid how do you get the help you need?
I do see a lot of patients with heart disease. No one specific test provides all the answers or information needed to treat a particular problem. I would seek out a primary care doctor who takes Medicaid (which most do), and establish a relationship so you can determine and treat your health issues.
Dr. Henry has there been a study as to why is this happening at such an alarming rate?
There haven't been many. However, there was one which interviewed 72 soldiers who attempted suicide. The most common theme the soldiers expressed was a feeling of intense emotion distress and despair. On average the soldiers reported 10 reasons for feeling like this. So, needless to say, the problem is very complex and definitely warrants more study.
How can you tell when it’s time to get off blood pressure pills? I eat a clean diet and work out.
You should follow-up with you primary care doctor for frequent blood pressure checks, and he/she can adjust your treatment accordingly.
I'm a veteran; I served two tours in OIF / OEF. I got out in 2006 and I'm not sure if I'm suffering from PTSD. I can't go into large crowds with a lot of noise and I get really jittery, does it sound like PTSD?
This certainly may be the case. You should seek the help of you primary care doctor, a psychiatrist, or a psychologist to go over all your symptoms and treat accordingly. You can also go to your VA where they will get you to the right program and/or professional.
Dr. Henry, recent blood work revealed low levels of potassium. I exercise daily and would like to know if that impacts my heart health, plus I have an enlarged heart. Should I ease up on exercise until levels are in recommended ranges?
You should make your primary care doctor aware of the potassium level. Frequently this is the side effect of another medication, e.g.: certain diuretics are notorious for this. Your exercise most likely is not an issue, but it should not exceed the intensity recommended by your doctor.
What about a veteran who will not seek help because he thinks he is fine but his family doesn't. Is there an agency that convinces the veteran to get help?
Try Army Families Online. www.armyfamiliesonline.org
Dr. Henry. I know an Iraq veteran with a Purple Heart who is just 27-years-old but keeps threatening suicide. I need help in Houston TX. All help has failed thus far, any ideas?
If he is still in the military then report him to his chain of command or chaplain. If he is now a civilian encourage him to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 and/or seek out help at the VA.
So I’ve recently been told after a sleep study that I have sleep apnea. My concern is that after talking with my doctor there is a great chance I’ve had it since I was 15. I'm 29 now. How much should I be worried about an enlarged heart or other heart issues?
Sleep apnea can lead to heart issues but not necessarily. Now that you know, you can take the appropriate measures which may include weight loss, sleeping with CPAP, or palate surgery as a last resort. Fortunately, you are young and with the right management should be able to prevent the heart complications caused by sleep apnea.
Dr. Henry , I have an L ventricular ejection fracture of 68% post exercise & 70% at rest. Also, I have a "small wall photopenic area with reversible ischemia." These are stress test results. I'm a 58-year-old female. What should my concerns be?
The results show a small area of decreased blood flow on the heart. Most commonly this is secondary to a blockage but could be secondary to spasm as well. You should follow-up closely with a cardiologist who can direct your further testing and management which may include cardiac catheterization.
Dr. Henry, I have been told I have an enlarged heart, is this serious?
It certainly can be. You should follow-up regularly with your cardiologist for aggressive management to prevent further enlargement.
My daughter was diagnosed with a heart murmur. Lately, her heart has been beating hard and rapidly. Is this cause for concern?
Given a history of a heart murmur this does raise some concern. She should follow-up with her cardiologist for an echocardiogram to determine what may be cause of her symptoms.
I'm only 26-years-old with chest pain that comes and goes on my left side. I have had EKG's and a stress test but they all have come back normal. What could be the cause?
Blockage in the heart arteries is unlikely given your age and these negative tests. It could be musculoskeletal, autoimmune, etc. If the problem persists you should follow-up closely with you primary care doctor who may be able to recommend a specialist.
Dr. Henry, how do you get past just being too tired to exercise?
Try eating a light snack containing 20-30 grams of carbohydrates 45 minutes prior to exercise.
How do you know if you have low iron? I play sports and I am always tired. Could this be the problem?
This can be determined from simple blood tests. Although this could be the problem, it is unlikely. However, if you consistently feel tired you should follow-up with your doctor as it could be a symptom of something more serious.
How do you lose belly fat?
Unfortunately you can't just lose belly fat. You lose it uniformly around your body usually and can't direct which areas to lose it. The simple formula is to burn more calories than you take in which is accomplished by diet modification and exercise.