What You Need to Know to Prevent Illness and Slow Aging
It was a shock. A 52 year old brother of a friend died suddenly of a heart attack. Another close friend who never smoked and led a very healthy life, had a pulmonary embolism and was later diagnosed with advanced stage 4 lung cancer, a good friend who was my age developed prostate cancer and so on and so forth. This year I lost many friends, neighbors and relatives to illness. My father and brother died at young ages and it was devastating. I dedicated my career to prevention, and it is sometimes disappointing that with all of the advanced diagnostics we have available to diagnose issues early, people don’t necessarily take advantage of them.
In our busy, stressful, hectic lives of taking care of family, business, home, community and work, I often find that people are not fully aware of all of the facets necessary to take good care of themselves. They think they are eating healthy, managing their stress and they may be exercising and meditating or praying but something is lurking beneath the surface. Something they are not aware of that could result in dragging through the day, not feeling up to par and even eventually result in illness, disability and even death. Could that fatigue, mental fog, aches and pains and not feeling like yourself be something more?
Having been in practice over 30 years, I have seen it all. Seemingly healthy people get ill, disabled or die suddenly and it changes theirs and their family’s lives. Many things can be prevented; however, you have to be willing to invest in yourself and take the time to look deeper. Time to look where no one has looked before. A 45 minute to an hour exam may not be enough to take an in depth look beneath the surface or to address the factors that influence your health. That is why many people invest in an all day Executive Physical which is just a term for a Comprehensive, in depth exam with a plan to address finding that may be obvious or lurking beneath the surface.
Consider the study by the University of Michigan. They found that executives who took part in an executive health program submitted 20% less health claims and lost 45% fewer workdays
Even if you are not an executive, consider the “cost” of being ill, not being able to work, take care of your family or yourself. What is the cost of loss of function, lost days, medication, loss of energy, vitality or physical or mental capacity?
There can be huge differences in what various exams offer. I worked with companies that offered these types of exam. I recommend changing it up because any exam, no matter how “comprehensive” looks at different things. It is best to switch things up and fill in any gaps if you are serious about your health.
There are diagnostic exams that focus on scans.
Most commercial physical offer a checklist of exams that are diagnostic that may not give you insight into how you are functioning.
You may find an early cancer and the yield is low. You may find clogged arteries before you have a dreaded heart attack. These are distinct advantages, but rarely do they help you function better.
It’s time for a new perspective
There are exams that look at how you are functioning or aging which is a different perspective from your typical Executive Physical and can be a valuable asset to prevent, maintain and sustain good health. Some of the things offered in Functional Vibrance for Life® Executive Physical which is the future of Preventive and Functional Medicine that truly looks at how you are functioning.
- Biomarkers of Aging are helpful to see where you stand so you can make changes to slow down the aging process. Markers for longevity are spread throughout the exam and factor in physical, mental, metabolic, nutritional and hormonal factors that affect how fast or slow you are aging. Body composition, hand grip strength, balance, reaction time are just a few physical markers that give insight to your biological age.
- Advanced Lipid and Cardiac Panel can determine if you have the lipid particle types and sizes that are more likely to cause plaque, the biomarkers of heart health and metabolic disorders such as diabetes. The good news is there are targeted lifestyle, supplement and other therapies can address the risk factors before they become problematic.
- Lifestyle and nutrition are the foundations of health. It’s not just calories in and calories out. Your healthy diet could be inciting your immune system to attack various organs leading to autoimmune disorder or it can be causing vague symptoms such as aches and pains, foggy brain, gas and bloating, skin rashes or acne, congestion, reflux and many more symptoms that if bothersome enough would be covered up with medication. A functional medicine approach can uncover hidden sensitivities that can be damaging and making small changes can be the difference between surviving or thriving.
- Micronutrient testing can assure not only if you have the right nutrients to repair and rejuvenate but how well they are functioning inside your cells. This goes beyond just measuring levels in your blood. Since over 50% of the population has some nutritional deficiencies, it is best to know so they can be corrected with diet and supplements,
- Neurocognitive Assessment of your mind is a powerful tool and how you use it can influence your health and productive. There are diagnostic tools to determine how your brain is functioning. Your memory, processing speed, mental flexibility and reaction time are essential markers of brain function that can be measured and if less than par, can be addressed early,
- Heartmath training teaches you to get in a state of coherence or flow where you have greater heart rate variability which is associated with longevity. This state allows for healing, innovation, creativity and enhanced health and productivity.
- Metabolic and Hormone evaluations can uncover imbalances that are bound to happen and accelerate aging. As we age, the hormones that break us down go up and the hormones that build us up and help us regenerate and repair go down. Knowing your hormone levels and how to bring them back into balance is a critical factor in your health and wellbeing. It is rare to get an in depth look from most traditional as well as comprehensive executive physicals.
- A Comprehensive Evaluation and plan by an experienced team who have time to evaluate, teach and support you in your journey is critical. Looking at your evaluation with the perspective of what is optimal and not just normal can give you the preventive edge you may be seeking.
These are some of the things to look for when deciding to take stock of your life and health. Having an experienced team to evaluate, interpret and support you can be life enhancing as well as life savings. Only you can decide to invest in yourself and be healthy and available to do what you love and fulfill your life’s purpose.