A doc’s note to himself
Dear Doc: I just went through a health screen from my employer. I thought I was in pretty good shape until I got my results back. They must be wrong. What should I do?
– A Surprised Doc in Eagle
Dear Me: It is time to wake up and smell the coffee. Get real. Be honest with yourself. The truth is out there.
It really happened. You can imagine how surprised I was. It all started with Valley View Hospital. They are a great medical system to work for and they care as much about their employees as they do their patients.
Recently they offered to all employees a “Personal Wellness Profile.” Much more than just blood work, it involved measuring height, weight, blood pressure and body fat.
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In addition, I filled out a lengthy questionnaire about lifestyle and personal habits. Finally, my cholesterol and blood sugar were checked. Wellsource, an independent company, put the all test results together and gave me a numerical rating as well as an in-depth analysis of my health.
I generally consider myself to be in above-average health. I don’t smoke and I rarely swear. I drink alcohol on the low side of moderation and I never use drugs. I always wear my seat belt and I don a helmet when I ski or bike. My blood pressure is excellent. My cholesterol is well below average – most people would be envious.
I could lose a little weight. My BMI (body mass index) is 26, only one point above the ideal of 25. (Overweight is considered 27 and obesity doesn’t strike until it is 30.) To get to the ideal of 25, I need to lose only eight pounds. My percent body fat is 24, putting me 5 percent above ideal – not bad, I thought.
I follow the advice I give, although I could exercise more consistently. My greatest vice is chocolate, which I’m sure I eat too much of. Finally, I probably don’t get enough sleep, a fact that harks back to long hours in my residency.
Feeling pretty good about myself, I opened the 10-page report from Wellsource. There it was in black and white: my health status was listed as “NEEDS IMPROVING.” Why? The reasons were simple:
First, my elevated body fat puts me at higher than average risk for cancer, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. Second, I could benefit from more regular exercise. Third, my diet could use more fruits and vegetables, as well as a bit less chocolate.
I still feel fortunate, though. I’m not that far off target. Next year is a ways away, and by then I’ll be ready for my next wellness screen.
Now though I have a question for you.
Dear Readers: How is your health? Be honest with yourself. What can you do to improve it?
– A Doc Trying to Make a Difference
Give yourself a challenge, and good luck.
Please send me your questions. The only bad question is the unanswered one.
Remember your health is your responsibility. Health is our greatest asset and it doesn’t happen by accident. If something doesn’t seem right, or questions are left unanswered, don’t wait, call your doctor.
Dr. Drew Werner of the Eagle Valley Medical Center writes a weekly column for the Daily. He encourages health questions. Write him by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Editor, Vail Daily, P.O. Box 81, Vail, 81658.