Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Medication, healthy lifestyles and exercise

I recently finished a stint in family medicine in Holyoke, MA with a wonderful doctor. His patients adore him and he is extremely passionate about making them live healtier and longer lives. The problem is, most people just don't understand the importance of these concepts.

I find myself to be a very understanding individual. My worry, though, is that I will never be able to understand why most people have no desire to get outside and do something. Exercise, nutrition are the true medications. It is true that there are disease states where this does not apply. Hyperlipidemia is heavily hereditary and no amount of exercise or nutrition can help that. I met a man, probably in his 50's, several weeks ago in the office, who was visibly fit and admittly ate well. The problem was that his total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL were very elevated. I tried explaining to him the reasons and I told him that I understood why he was upset, being a very avid runner as well. The truth is, there are some things in medicine that we just can't control. No amount of discipline can lower those lipids. Since the negative effects of smoking outway the benefits in this matter (smoking can lower LDL), we don't recommend it. However, keep on doing what you can in the gym and the roads because at least you can knock out one component (exercise raises HDL/a.k.a. "good cholesterol").

If you study the major hitters: hyperlipidemia, hypertension and diabetes, you'll realize that simply getting outside and doing something can save you a lifetime of trips to the doctor ($$$$$) and a lifetime of excessive medications ($$$$$).

My last piece of advice...believe it or not, but your grandmother's recipes are out of date. If you really want to cut the weight and get fitter, pick up a new recipe book. Look for one that give you the nutrition information. Sodium and fat adds up in our diets, so be cautious. Lastly, set your exercise goals high, because even if you never reach them, you will probably push yourself harder than you ever have in your entire life.


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