Dr. Oz discussed how to prevent pulmonary embolisms with "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star NeNe Leakes on the Jan. 23 episode of the Dr. Oz Show.
In November 2013, Leakes was hospitalized for blood clots in her lungs. She's doing well now, but said the health crisis scared her to death.
Leakes, 46, told Dr. Oz she woke up one morning with shooting pains on her side and near her breast. "I just had this pain," said Leakes. "It got worse and worse, and finally I said, 'I have to go to the emergency room.'"
An X-ray and CT scan revealed NeNe had several blood clots in her lung, which was partially collapsed. Dr. Oz said pulmonary embolisms (or blockages of an artery in the lung) can be deadly, and told NeNe she was lucky to be alive. "People die from this condition," he said.
The risk factors for pulmonary embolisms include the following:
- You sit for extended periods of time (especially in a cramped position, like on an airplane).
- You're overweight.
- You have high blood pressure.
- You take birth control pills.
- You cross your legs for prolonged periods.
Dr. Oz said pulmonary embolisms occur when blood circulation is cut off due to inactivity or prolonged sitting. NeNe travels a lot and sits for long periods of time during her flights. NeNe's doctor said her extensive airplane travel contributed to her blood clots.
In 2003, NBC News reporter David Bloom died at age 40 of a pulmonary embolism while he was covering the invasion of Iraq. Medical experts said the fact that Bloom (who traveled extensively for work) sat for many hours day after day in a cramped military tank caused his fatal blood clots.
Dr. Oz said blood clots usually start in the leg, travel up to a person's heart and then to her lungs. You can prevent blood clots by not sitting for long periods, following a healthy diet, and exercising — all of which Leakes now does.
Dr. Oz also said the following foods prevent blood clots:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Reduce Stress While Vitamin D Boosts Immune Health
Dr. Oz said he's not convinced by recent reports slamming vitamin supplements as useless. Dr. Oz explained that most people don't get enough nutrients from their diet, which is why taking vitamins and supplements is critical for good health.
Dr. Oz said the three most important supplements he recommends are:
1. Omega-3 fatty acids. Dr. Oz said omega-3 fatty acids curb stress and enhance heart and brain health. They've also been shown to relieve depression.
In January 2014, a teenage boy who fell into a coma after a horrific car accident made headlines after it was revealed that high doses of omega-3 fatty acids were responsible for his miraculous recovery. Dr. Oz suggests taking an omega-3 fatty acid supplement every morning with breakfast.
2. Vitamin D. Vitamin D promotes a healthy immune system, gives you natural energy, and has been shown to help with weight loss. The sun is a natural source of vitamin D, but most people don't get enough sun exposure during the dark winter months. Dr. Oz suggests taking 1000mg of vitamin D every day.
3. Multivitamin. Dr. Oz said taking a multivitamin that contains 100% of the daily recommended dosage of 12 essential vitamins and minerals is crucial because most people's diets are deficient. Dr. Oz suggests taking a multivitamin every day, but splitting up the dosage, so you take half the vitamin in the morning and half in the evening.