There are so many things to love about the holiday season: the decorations, the gaily wrapped gifts, the songs, the traditions, the parties. Along with the parties, however, comes a binge of indulgence in sweets. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional treat, but we do tend to overdo it at this time of year.
Your concierge family practice doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter, Florida, realize that to some people “exercise” is a chore. But study after study demonstrates the health benefits of regular movement, as well as the dangers of little-to-no exercise.
The danger of not exercising
Here’s another study that underscores the dangers of the sedentary lifestyle. Published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), this one found that a lack of regular exercise is as detrimental to health as smoking, diabetes, and heart disease.
“Being unfit on a treadmill or in an exercise stress test has a worse prognosis, as far as death, than being hypertensive, being diabetic or being a current smoker,” Dr. Wael Jaber, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, told CNN. The senior author of the study, he called the results “extremely surprising.”
“We’ve never seen something as pronounced as this and as objective as this,” he added. “[Being unfit] should be treated almost as a disease that has a prescription, which is called exercise.”
Researchers investigated 122,007 former patients at Cleveland Clinic who were tested on a treadmill between January 1, 1991 and December 31, 2014. They found those with the lowest level of fitness, i.e., a sedentary lifestyle, had a risk of death almost 500 percent higher than those who were the most physically fit.
This is only the latest study to document the danger of the sedentary lifestyle. Here are just a few others:
- A Texas study published in January found that for people over 50, regular exercise reversed the effects of aging, including hardening of the arteries and less efficient heart muscle action.
- Another showed a 40 percent decrease in cancer deaths among those who were more active than their sedentary counterparts.
- In the famous Nurses’ Health Study, those who exercised for a half-hour or more a day halved their risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Another Texas study found that men who were considered physically active lowered their stroke risk by two-thirds.
There are many others, and they all reach similar conclusions: A lifestyle that includes little physical exercise is deadly.
Too late to start?
But what if you’re no longer in the so-called “prime of life”? It’s a little late to bother with exercise, isn’t it? The answer is a resounding no. One study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology tracked the progress of 33,000 Swedish men from 1998 to 2012 who began exercising at an average of age 60. They reduced their risk of heart failure by 21 percent.
The important thing to remember when starting an exercise routine later in life is to start slowly, don’t push yourself, and work your way up to maximum fitness level. You may never compete in the Olympics, but you’ll notice improvements in every area of your life.
Benefits of exercise
Whatever age you begin regular exercise, you’ll begin to notice the positive effects within days. According to the Mayo Clinic, here just 10 of the many benefits of regular aerobic exercise:
- Losing weight and keeping it off
- Increased stamina
- Warding off viral illnesses like colds and flu
- Reduced risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke and certain types of cancer
- Control of chronic conditions including coronary artery disease
- Strengthening the heart muscle to slow the pulse, pump blood more efficiently, and improve blood flow to the entire body
- Boost the “good” cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins or HDL) while lowering “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins or LDL) helping to reduce plaque buildup in the arteries
- Reducing tension, anxiety, and depression
- Helping maintain mobility and brain function in older age
- Living longer.
We cannot stress this enough: Regular exercise is vital to your overall health and well-being. If you’re tired of feeling tired and dealing with various aches and pains, pick an exercise and go for it. Just be sure to check with us first.
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is often thought of as a childhood condition, but many people aren’t aware that it can linger into adulthood. Furthermore, up to 90 percent of sufferers go undiagnosed.
What is ADHD?
ADHD is a disorder of the brain that is marked by such characteristics as hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and an inability to concentrate. When first seen in children who had trouble paying attention in school or sitting still during class, it was known as ADD, because the focus was on the “attention deficit” part of the disorder. Later, hyperactivity was recognized as another part of the syndrome, and the name was expanded to include that facet.
The condition was initially thought to resolve itself once children reached adulthood, but that was possibly due to the fact that once youngsters graduated they began functioning in a different environment. In a work setting where sitting still and paying attention to a teacher was no longer required, ADHD-type behavior might not have been as noticeable. In addition, the behaviors altered into less-recognizable symptoms. But as many as 60 percent of children who were diagnosed with ADHD will still have it as adults. And adults who were never diagnosed as children may not realize they have the disorder.
Adult ADHD symptoms are different
Part of the problem in recognizing ADHD in adults stems from the fact that “symptoms might look different at older ages,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains. “For example, in adults hyperactivity may appear as extreme restlessness or wearing others out with their activity.” Other ADHD symptoms in adults can include: inability to follow directions or remember information; boredom, difficulty concentrating or organizing tasks; brain fog; anxiety; sensitivity to light; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; procrastination or chronic lateness; mood swings; relationship problems; substance abuse or addiction; or low self-image.
ADHD can be misdiagnosed
Because there is no definitive clinical test available to diagnose ADHD in either children or adults, it can often be mistaken for other medical conditions. These include mood disorders like depression and anxiety; medical conditions like thyroid problems and hypoglycemia; and negative reactions to both legal and illegal drugs.
Furthermore, many people still believe ADHD is a “made-up disease” meant to either enrich the pharmaceutical companies or explain away simple laziness in those who suffer from it. The fact is, however, that 4.4 percent of adults do have this disorder, and it can be treated.
How ADHD is diagnosed
ADHD is diagnosed through a combination of methods, beginning with ruling out other physical and mental causes for symptoms, and reviewing the results of ADHD rating scales. There are several tests available online that can help determine whether ADHD might be a cause of some of the symptoms mentioned above, including the Adult Self-Report Scale (ASRS) Screener available from the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA).
Such screening tools are not definitive but merely point toward the possibility of the disorder. The National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) says: “Diagnosis of ADHD requires a comprehensive evaluation by a licensed clinician, such as pediatrician, psychologist, or psychiatrist with expertise in ADHD. . . . The doctor will also ensure that any ADHD symptoms are not due to another medical or psychiatric condition. . . . For an adolescent or adult to receive a diagnosis of ADHD, the symptoms need to have been present prior to age 12.”
How is adult ADHD treated?
While there is no cure for ADHD, many different approaches may be used to help reduce symptoms and improve functioning. These include medication, psychotherapy, stress management techniques, and support groups. The ADDA says the most effective treatment for ADHD is a combination of medication and therapy.
If you believe you may have ADHD, please talk to your concierge doctors at MD 2.0. We can help you rule out other possible causes of your symptoms, as well as get you the help you need.
For many people summer is their favorite time of year, but no one likes the increased chances of being bitten or stung by the various pests that proliferate this time of year. In addition, the bites and stings of some insects can be serious, causing severe reactions and even life-long chronic health problems.
Your concierge family practice doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter, Florida, would like to remind you that this week is the 19th annual National Women’s Health Week, when an alliance of government organizations spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) calls attention to the ways women can improve their health.
Sometimes your concierge medicine doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter, Florida, feel we’re constantly raining on your parade, telling you to do things you don’t particularly want to do and to give up things you enjoy.