Are fitness and health synonymous? Judging by the number of fit (relatively) individuals that die of heart attacks while running, cycling or playing squash, clearly not. Even though the gyms are full of us health-conscious dudes and dolls exercising up a storm many of us still get whacked by health challenges - anything from a simple state of dis-ease to actual disease.
What does this actually mean? When it comes to our health most of us are actually quite silly. Ask any astute business person about what it takes to succeed in business and I'm sure they'll say, apart from the obvious things like hard work, commitment etc., being able to predict trends ranks as being of primary importance.
Medicine of the future…
"…Will practice ‘predictive diagnostics’ to better understand the underlying mechanisms and pre-cedent factors, leading to cellular dysfunction, and ultimately, disease…"
Dr Kevin Lentin
Being "one step ahead" gives one the edge on the competition. Staying "healthy" is really being "one step ahead". Traditionally though, the western approach seems to rather be a "it won't happen to me" approach.
But, if we are wanting to stay "ahead of the pack" we need to be able to predict impending doom. The way we make these predictions obviously depends on one's age and general health status at the time. Unfortunately, however, it is the bad habits we pick up from very early age that may well be the thing (s) that nail us 20 to 30 years down the line.
For anyone over the age of 30 it's time to start practicing "predictive diagnostics".
Eight of the most relevant predictors of one's general state of well-being, on the physical level that is, are:
1. Body Mass Index
One's BMI is a ratio of height to weight and is an excellent predictor of the potential for chronic degenerative disease. Once your BMI moves above 25 it's already time to start taking remedial action i.e. lose some weight!
2. Blood Pressure
Gradually rising blood pressure will initially be totally asymptomatic. Use the myvirginactive tracker or pop into the nearest pharmacy or your health practitioner and have your BP checked every three months.
Measuring cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides and catching early increases will make correction of these so much easier. You will need to consult your health practitioner for the relevant blood test forms.
Elevated homocysteine levels will be totally asymptomatic until a vascular incident occurs. Rising homocysteine levels are an indication of certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Again consult your health practitioner for relevant blood test forms.
5. Blood Glucose
Diabetes is on the increase worldwide fuelled by the ever growing obesity epidemic. It is not a bad idea to have a baseline "finger prick" glucometer reading about once a year.
6. Iron studies
Clinical anaemia or even being on the lower side of normal iron levels is more common than we may think. Specially females should have this test and least every 18 months to two years.
7. Thyroid studies
While clinical hypo (or hyper) thyroid is less common it is not rare. A thyroid check every two years or thereabouts could certainly be justified.
8. Cortisol / DHEA levels
While not a test that everybody should run off to have,if stress levels are particularly high with symptoms including depression, fatigue and "burnout" this test would be indicated.
These then are the eight test I will very often send patients for in order to have a baseline reading. The importance of these tests is increased significantly if there is a family history, especially immediate family, of any of the chronic degenerative diseases including heart disease, diabetes, cancer etc.
About Dr Kevin Lentin
Chiropractor and Health and Life style coach, Dr Lentin graduated from the University of Natal in 1976 with a B. Social Science, majoring in Psychology. After working in the ‘retail world’ for 6 years he changed career path and in 1984 graduated Doctor of Chiropractic, Cum Laude, from Life Chiropractic College, in Atlanta, Georgia.
His fascination for the nutritional sciences led him to complete his Diploma in Applied Clinical Nutrition from the Academy of Nutrition, in Sydney, Australia.
For 17 years Dr Lentin has focused his practice on a ‘functional medicine’ approach to health and wellness, incorporating his skills in the musculo-skeletal, bio-nutritional and psycho-emotional realms to offer patients an integrated and holistic approach to health care.
Now, an acclaimed motivational speaker, he shares his wealth of knowledge and experience to assist individuals, families, businesses and corporations to function at their optimum potential, to prevent disease and increase healthy longevity.
For more information email Dr Lentin.