Obesity/Inactivity – you should run, because you can’t hide

An obese 50-something gentleman (BMI 32, in fact) I saw yesterday in clinic said to me, “You look crisp today.” 

I wasn’t sure how to take that initially; I thought the shaved head must have impressed him.  “Yeah, you like it?  Low maintenance,” while rubbing my head.

“You look like you just got back from vacation . . . alert, a little spring in the step.”

“Nope, I wish . . . I worked out this morning, though.  That felt good.”

“Ehh, I don’t care for that.” He went on to reiterate his absolute disinterest in getting back into shape. 

       Funny thing is I bet he can’t even remember the last time he did any exercise for the sake of health, rather than for work, home projects, etc.  I’m not surprised that he doesn’t associate exercise with feeling good.  Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common – I wish this guy was the exception, but I continue to be amazed at the number of obese middle-aged individuals I encounter . . . and even moreso at their apathy regarding their health. 

      Yes, it is hard work to get fit.  It’s harder work to recover from the health problems that are bound to strike this typical individual.  This guy is a former smoker (kudos to him for quitting) but his cholesterol panel is awful (Triglycerides over 230 and HDL 24 – somehow has a normal LDL).  I’ll discuss these in detail later, but for quick reference, Triglycerides should be less than 150, HDL should be greater than 39.  The low HDL tells me he is very inactive. 

It’s satisfying (in one sense) when a patient’s labs give such an insight into his/her lifestyle.  Now, if he’ll ever take me up on my advice . . .


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