When Dr. Hister went to see his cosmetic surgeon and asked that his beer belly be removed through liposuction, the doctor examined him for one minute and then said he wouldn”t perform the surgery. A shocked Dr. Hister asked why. The reply was that he didn”t have any muscle, and that the liposuction would not be meaningful without sufficient muscle mass. All Dr. Hister could say was, “I wasn”t aware I had to have a meaningful relationship with fat tissue”.
It was this decision not to do the liposuction that inspired Dr. Hister to write this book. Or rather, it was Dr. Hister”s decision to join a gym and follow a personalized fitness program that inspired the book “Living a Long and Healthy Life”. Why? Because when he went from 165 to 135 pounds, and his waistline shrunk from size 36 to 31, he couldn”t contain his excitement. His desire to share that excitement served as the raison-d-être of Living a Long and Healthy Life and his easy, conversational tone reflects the sincere words of someone who”s “been there, done that”.
Not surprisingly, Dr. Hister”s first chapter is on exercise; and he doesn”t mince words: “…doing more exercise is probably the single health improvement most likely to both extend your life and maximize your quality of life in the time you have left on this mortal coil”. Dr. Hister”s also points out that physically fit people have a 40% less chance of suffering from stroke or heart attacks; which is reason enough to start getting that track suit out of the attic.
Dr. Hister follows the traditional approach for his health book. He incorporates the subjects of healthy eating, avoiding alcohol, avoiding smoking, the importance of sleep, and a good sex life (okay, so this part isn”t so traditional…). There is one chapter, however, that readers may find rather new and interesting: the last one, where he deals with the issues that individuals must take up with their doctor. It”s a topic that a good number of health and fitness books overlook.
Dr. Hister recommends that patients discuss the following with their doctor (rather than waiting for their doctor to bring it up…if ever):
• blood pressure – but don”t rely on the first abnormal reading, he says. He suggests taking two to three follow-up readings
• breast exam (women) – tests should be done annually. Note that breast exams are different from mammograms, which must be done every two years after age 50
• pelvic exam – again, this is different from a pap smear. Speak to your doctor about it.
• rectal exam – especially recommended for “elder gents”, he says. One examination that young boys must be trained to do is testicular self-examination
• skin exam – watch out for suspicious spots
• eye exam – there are two potential problems that accompany the aging process – glaucoma and age-related maculopathy. Since symptoms don”t manifest themselves, it”s important to get the eyes checked regularly.
• lipid profile – every five years
• blood glucose – begin at age 45, and then two-three years after
• thyroid hormone – 10% of women over the age of 50 have thyroid hormone levels that are too low)
• CRP and homocysteine levels – to assess your risks for heart disease
• STD tests – for sexually active individuals
• bone density test – women over age 50 should have bone density tests; 30% of men over the age of 65 have osteoporosis
• ECG – Dr. Hister does not believe in routine ECGs, but strongly recommends stress tests (on the treadmill)
• CT scans – does not take a definite stand on this controversial test. Prefers to leave that decision with the patient.
• mammograms – they do save lives so women aged 45-50 should have them
• pap smears – essential as they do save lives
• colon cancer – it”s the second leading cause of death in North America
• prostate specific antigen (PSA) – advises men over 50 to have a PSA and then every other year after that.
An Important Book
Dr. Hister”s book can be categorized as an “important” read. It”s not only inspiring, but it”s very practical; especially when patients can follow his advice and open a meaningful dialogue with their doctor. If nothing else, the conversations that this book may inspire could also categorize it in another context: life saving.
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