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Laughter is the Best Medicine

Preventing Heart Disease

I scheduled my interview with Dr. Edward D. Buch of Central Jersey Surgeons a few weeks before Halloween. Upon showing up, I’m amused to find the office fully decorated for the impending holiday. One can’t help but smile when walking past a lifesize Jack Skellington animatronic. 

The interview begins with me asking what he likes most about being a doctor? Dr. Buch smirks and answers, “Going home at the end of the day.” He laughs and continues, “No really, I like working with the patients. They are very appreciative. It makes it rewarding.” 

Within a few minutes of our conversation, it becomes apparent that Dr. Buch not only has a great sense of humor, but can be very direct as well. 

While he’s not quite sure what first piqued his interest in medicine, Dr. Buch says, “I always wanted to be a surgeon. It’s not like I knew any doctors. I’m the first person in my family to even go to college.” 

He received his undergraduate degree from Manhattan College, where he was also a member of the basketball team. He then went on to earn his medical degree from the State University of New York’s Downstate School of Medicine in Brooklyn. Dr. Buch completed his surgical residency at Downstate Medical Center as well as a Vascular Surgery Fellowship at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. Dr. Buch has been practicing medicine for over 30 years. 

A topic of great importance and one that Dr. Buch does not joke about is heart disease. In the U.S. heart disease is the leading cause of death and approximately 10 million of us have peripheral artery disease (PAD), a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

 “PAD affects blood vessels outside the brain and heart. It causes them to narrow due to the build-up of plaque in the arteries that carry vital blood supply to the head, organs, and limbs. Over time, plaque can harden and narrow the arteries, limiting the flow of blood to many parts of the body,” says Dr. Buch.

What is the best way to prevent peripheral artery disease? Yes, you’ve guessed it — Exercise! 

“The most effective treatment for PAD is regular physical activity. Get up and move with purpose for about 30 minutes, at least three times a week. Regular exercise has been shown to decrease PAD symptoms in one to two months,” says Dr. Buch. 

He also recommends quitting smoking, knowing your family history, improving your diet, and taking your blood pressure and cholesterol medicine. 

If preventative methods aren’t effective, Dr. Buch can provide the necessary tests and perform angioplasty, a surgery designed to clear the blood vessels of plaque. The Vascular Center at Central Jersey Surgeons continues to be at the forefront of vascular diagnostics and intervention. 

This is fueled in part by Dr. Buch’s reputation in delivering excellence in patient care combined with the state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment used in the vascular laboratory. Dr. Buch prides himself on the patient experience in the office. 

“There’s no wait here. I’m always on time,” says Dr. Buch. 

In addition to general and vascular surgery, Dr. Buch also offers BioTE hormone treatment, cosmetic enhancements, and vein treatments. 

Dr. Buch continues to advocate that medicine needs to shift from a treatment to a prevention model. He advises his patients to stay active and eat a balanced diet. 

“People are living longer and healthier lives. The life expectancy increases every decade,” says Dr. Buch.  

At the conclusion of the interview, I ask Dr. Buch to pose for a few photographs. Preferring to share the attention, he summons his office staff to get in the photos with him. The smiles on their faces are genuine. It seems as if everyone is happy at Central Jersey Surgeons  — Which is good, because lowering your stress levels also helps prevent heart disease.