If you're ready to embark on a new exercise plan, be sure to get a physical before you do. Once you enter your mid-30s, your heart, lungs, and other joints gradually decline in health. Some of the age-related changes can lead to arthritis and high blood pressure, both of which can affect how well you exercise. Here are two conditions to check for before you start any exercise plan.
If you're beginning to notice small aches and pains in your knees, hips, or feet, then don't ignore them. Your aches and pains could be the beginning signs of arthritis - a joint condition that develops in over 50 million people living in the United States. Over time, arthritis makes your joints feel swollen and inflexible.
Arthritis can make it difficult to exercise, run, or play sports. As the inflammation in your joints progress, you may slow down with exercising or stop altogether. A lack of exercise can potentially lead to obesity, heart problems, and muscle weakness.
A physical can detect even small signs of joint deterioration and inflammation. Doctors can use blood tests to locate antibodies in your blood that indicate inflammation in your joints. Your body's immune system creates antibodies in an effort to bind, control, or fight inflamed tissues and cells.
The antibodies can also tell doctors what type of arthritis you have, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common forms of joint inflammation to occur in men and women. The condition develops when your immune system attacks the tissues supporting and surrounding your joints.
RA has the potential to damage your lungs, eyes, heart, and many other body areas. Because RA is so aggressive, it's important to detect, diagnose, and treat it right away. The treatment for RA may include taking medications that suppress the immune system and fight inflammation.
Doctors often place their patients on special exercise plans to keep their conditions in check and to keep their patients healthy. If you choose to exercise on your own, physicians may recommend that you do yoga, Pilates, and other passive exercises to strengthen your joints and improve your overall fitness.
Your blood pressure is one of the most important parts of your cardiovascular health. If your blood pressure is too high, it can lead to heart disease, stroke, and several other conditions. High blood pressure can also increase your heart rate during exercise.
The blood traveling through your arteries requires a certain amount of pressure to reach each organ in your body. Factors, such as high cholesterol and fat, can make it difficult for your blood to push through your arteries. The pressure eventually weakens the walls of the arteries, which causes the vessels to bulge out or harden.
Exercises, such as aerobics and running, can place stress on your arteries. Some people may experience labored breathing when they exercise with damaged blood vessels. Your lungs may struggle to inhale and exhale if there isn't enough oxygenated blood passing through them.
You may notice a change in your heart rate if your blood pressure raises. Your heart struggles to keep up with the demands placed on it during exercise. Your pulse rate may increase to compensate for the stress placed on your heart.
Doctors can check your blood pressure to see if it's above 120/80. If your blood pressure test readings are higher than these numbers, you may have high blood pressure. The readings for your blood pressure tests can vary, depending on your age and sex.
The treatments for high blood pressure may include taking medications that improve blood flow through your arteries. You may also need to add more fiber to your diet to fight the cholesterol in your blood. Doctors also place their patients on low-impact exercises to improve blood circulation through their bodies.
If you're ready for your comprehensive physical and exam, visit us at the Family Medicine Walk-In Center today.