Executive Physicals & Wellness
Florida's Top Docs Talk Basics
Medical directors of executive health programs in Florida identify the essential health factors every executive shouldn't ignore.
Doctors at the Watson Clinic Executive Wellness Program in Lakeland look for red flags such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and elevated glucose levels. If there is an indication of a heart concern, Richard Gould, clinical services director of Watson Clinic’s executive physical program, offers patients who are at high risk or show symptoms the option of a cardiac CT scan. The test gives doctors 3-D images of the coronary arteries without performing an invasive angiography. Gould says the test allows a physician to look at the heart from every angle, as if it were outside the patient’s body. Most important, it allows a doctor to look inside the ventricles and arteries for plaque or calcium buildup and even check the aorta for aneurysms.
Blood analysis can reveal a variety of medical conditions, including iron deficiency, kidney and liver function, thyroid problems and malignancy. Doctors recommend a basic blood test, known as metabolic panel, at least once a year along with a check of cholesterol levels. They also measure glucose levels through blood to determine the patient’s risk for diabetes. “A huge number of people are pre-diabetic and don’t realize it,” says Henrique Kallas, medical director at Douglas Williams Executive Health Program at the University of Florida. “What people don’t realize is that being diabetic or even pre-diabetic puts you at risk for heart disease.” Kallas suggests controlling blood sugar levels with diet, exercise and weight control during the pre-diabetic stage.
To maintain a healthy colon, physicians advise eating more fiber, drinking more water and exercising frequently. Doctors say colon/rectal cancer is common but preventable early by regular screening. Kallas at Douglas Williams suggests that executives get a colonoscopy beginning at age 50. However, if there’s a family history of colon cancer or polyps (abnormal growths), then he suggests earlier testing. Current guidelines recommend that African-Americans get tested at age 45. “The screenings help us to identify and remove polyps before they become cancer,” Kallas says.