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New Assessment Tool Helps Catch Risk of Heart Disease Sooner

Oct. 25, 2013|143 views
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The next time you visit your doctor it may take a few extra minutes of your time. But it will be worth it.

The American Heart Association issued a new guideline recently that urges doctors to add a simple new assessment to routine evaluations of patients’ cardiovascular disease risk. They’re being asked to add the simple question: “How... active are you?”

Most adults will have their blood pressure checked, blood lipid profiles ordered, and body weight documented when visiting the doctor for a routine physical. Doctors use these and other factors to assess your risk of cardiovascular disease, which is still our leading cause of death.

But few physicians inquire about physical activity levels, despite mountains of evidence that exercise is directly related to cardiovascular disease risk. As one expert noted recently, inactivity is “about as bad for you as smoking.” Yet doctors have largely ignored this particular modifiable risk factor. That’s poised to change, though.

Doctors are being urged to look into their patients’ physical activity habits by using a simple questionnaire, or other methods. The recommended “exercise checkup” should include information about types, frequency, duration and intensity of physical activity, and should be followed up with recommendations about how patients can improve their activity levels, and their cardiovascular health. No drugs or surgery needed.

What did you think of this post? Do you exercise regularly? What activities do you enjoy doing? Aerobics, weights, walking? If you don’t exercise regularly, I’d be interested to hear from you, too. What’s the biggest hurdle preventing you from exercising regularly? Please share this article with your friends and leave me your comments below. Let me know what you’d like to read about in upcoming posts.

Until next week, Be Real, Not Ideal!

American Heart Association (2013, October 14). Doctors should routinely evaluate patients' physical activity habits. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 17, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­/ /releases/2013/10/131014221535.htm

Strath SJ, Kaminsky LA, Ainsworth BE, Ekelund U, Freedson PS, Gary RA, et al. Guide to the Assessment of Physical Activity: Clinical and Research Applications: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2013 Oct 14. [Epub ahead of print.]

Tags:  workouts, chronic illness, body image
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