December 22, 2014

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.

Family Medical History
Dr. Stephen Avallone, medical director of the Huizenga Executive Health Program at Cleveland Clinic Florida in Weston, says physicians who examine executives spend at least an hour discussing the patient’s medical history and whether close relatives have heart disease, diabetes or cancer. Hereditary concerns play a big role in what tests he orders and how aggressive he may be in following up on a test result. Mammograms usually are recommended after age 40, but “if there’s a family history of breast cancer and her mom died at 45, then the 35-year-old executive is going to have a mammogram,” Avallone says. “The vast majority of correct diagnoses are not based on test results, but on the physician spending time to take a good family history.”

Testosterone
Along with decreased sex drive, low testosterone can cause fatigue, insomnia, weight gain and headaches. Pancorbo at Baptist Executive Health says if testosterone levels are moderately low, he suggests lifestyle and dietary changes. If levels are extremely low, he recommends a supplemental gel, patch or injection aimed at boosting the male hormone.

Test Questions

» PSA: The PSA test measures the level of a protein produced by the prostate gland that can indicate the presence of cancer. Many physicians still recommend regular PSA testing for men between 50 and 75. But others see the PSA as a flawed test that saves few lives and leads to unnecessary biopsies. Dr. Stephen Avallone, medical director of the Huizenga Executive Health Program at Cleveland Clinic Florida in Weston, typically couples results with family and personal history to decide whether follow-up is needed.

» Full-body CT scan: Physicians typically advise against this test. Avallone says he advises against it for young executives who want to have children. “There’s quite a bit of radiation involved,” he says. Even more, he says, “the test often finds little things that require more imaging and usually amount to nothing.”

 

Health Tips

» Doctors say limit caffeine to less than two cups of coffee a day.

» If you spend most of your day at your computer, get up and move around at least every two hours.

» Doctors in executive health programs say they notice most professionals eat poorly, often on the go. They recommend eating more slowly, smaller portions and a diet of mostly whole grains, fish, fruit and vegetables and at least 48 ounces of water a day.

» Doctors with executive health programs recommend seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

» Despite time constraints, executives should complete a minimum of three hours a week of aerobic activity, along with weight resistance and stretching exercises.

» Physicians suggest smokers set a target date for quitting. After that, they recommend staying away from smokers and events that trigger a desire to smoke.

» Florida doctors recommend residents get screened annually for skin cancer, particularly if you have a new or changing skin lesion.

» Highly stressed professionals should be aware that nausea, dizziness and fatigue are the more subtle signs of heart concerns especially for women.

» Doctors say an optimal blood pressure is 120/80 or lower. Losing as little as 10 pounds and lowering salt intake can reduce your blood pressure to a healthier level.

» Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars in the bloodstream and can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. Doctors say is it crucial to learn healthy ways to cope with stress in your life.

» Most people don’t get enough calcium, which is important for strong bones as you age. Henrique Kallas at Douglas Williams Executive Health Program at UF suggests lots of low-fat milk products, sardines, nuts and leafy green vegetables.

Tags: Healthcare

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