Regular Health Screening Should Be Part Of Your Exercise Program And It Can Save Your Life


Hi folks,

My eldest son, Nick, aged 42, father of two lovely sons and a serious weight-lifter, has a baseline measurement of his aorta by ultrasound, at his own expense (about $100), because he risks inheriting my aortic aneurysm defect. (Can't wait for my iPhone and no more fuzzy photos)

The number of health screens of which you can avail yourself in order to extend your life span is increasing steadily. You should explore your family history for your own specific risks, and not wait for the medical community to prompt you to do so. In my case my genetic risks included severe hyperlipidemia and aortic aneurysms. About 30 years ago we detected extremely high blood lipids in my fasted plasma, which had a milky appearance,  because we employed it to set up protein binding assays for an ongoing research investigation of a drug candidate. Just by chance about 30 years later, I detected my 7 cm diameter abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), which nearly killed me and was the original reason for the creation of this blog. The symptoms of the AAA were twofold, a persistent and slowly increasingly obvious abdominal pulse, combined with an odd burning sensation in my feet during the second half of the run in the Lake Placid Ironman 2010. Fortunately, my medical training allowed me to put two and two together on this one. Neither of these conditions was detected by my doctors, though the hyperlipidemia would certainly be found today during routine annual health check-ups. The AAA was not noticed during such screens, which brings me to the point of this blog – your life is in your hands and you need to make sure that you get the health screens you need in your particular case. The way to do this, as I said in a previous blog, is to collect your data and record it for future reference.

My three sons know of my issues and so they have had their lipid profiles analysed, which as it turned out are not severely hyperlipidemic, but they do have somewhat high cholesterol levels. They also plan to have regular screens for AAA, especially after the age of 50. I hope that they pass this information along to their offspring, and that they obtain a health history for both sides of each family. I suspect that they will, as they love life and they ‘love their kids to death.’ Interestingly, the National Health Service in the United Kingdom has initiated an AAA screening program for older men but no such program is planned, as far as I know, in the United States.

The medical community has expended, and continues to expend, a great deal of effort on the development of new health screens, so please use them for yourself, your loved ones and your sport.

It is up to you. Not your doctor, your family, or your friends, but you! Please be proactive in this regard.

-k Your Medical Mind


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.