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Moving Towards a Healthy Future

By: Sheila Borgen, PT

For many of us, having an annual physical is just part of our routine. We don't think twice about the possibility of anything too concerning popping up. But occasionally, the exam doesn't reveal our anticipated outcome. For example, we may learn that we have high cholesterol or blood glucose levels. Although it may not sound like a big deal, high cholesterol levels can lead to a stroke, and high blood glucose can indicate diabetes. Either of these conditions can be life-altering.

Other yearly exams can include eye exams from a skilled optometrist. Unfortunately, many consider eye exams only necessary for getting new glasses or contact lenses. This is far from the truth, however. These specialists can detect optic nerve inflammation, pressure on the optic nerve, and retinal bleeding, so they can recognize many alarming medical diagnoses. For example, optic nerve inflammation can signify multiple sclerosis or Lyme disease. Retinal bleeding can result from a fall or a change in air pressure. It could also result from a more severe condition, including anemia, leukemia, or lupus.

An often neglected yet recommended annual exam is performed by a dermatologist. This specialist is trained to recognize skin cancer, among many other skin conditions. Most skin cancer can be successfully treated without life-altering consequences. However, malignant melanoma is the most severe type of skin cancer and, if not treated, can spread to your lymph nodes and organs, which can ultimately be fatal.

What additional yearly exams should be considered? Gynecological examinations can diagnose a variety of cancers. Mammograms reveal breast cancer. Mental health screenings can show depression. Every single one of the screenings we have touched on so far can be lifesaving.

So what about an annual screening for movement disorders, fall prevention, and balance impairment? What if you could join forces with someone who could assess your standing and walking balance, walking pattern, movement patterns, and pain? Physical therapists, otherwise known as PTs, are specialists in these areas. With the expertise of a PT, you have the potential to uncover why your right ankle hurts each time you stand up. Or why your left hip hurts after sitting. You may discover what movement patterns you have adopted are causing that never-subsiding low back pain. The blessing would be to not only learn the causes of these aches and pains but also have the specialist by your side teaching you how to significantly reduce your pain by implementing specific exercises or altering how you complete a task. A PT has an abundance of well-researched assessments that can measure the likelihood of you falling, which could result in fractured bones or head injuries. They are well-trained in exposing risks that could lead to overall medical decline, decreasing your quality of life. I don't know about you, but I want to live a life full of enjoyment now and as I age. I don't want to be stuck in a recliner with only television to entertain me, dependent upon others to meet my needs. I want to maintain my independence. If you feel the same way, you are in the right place. Age Fit Physical Therapy and Wellness desires to empower you to be your best and is therefore offering a March Into Movement Special. Don’t hesitate. Contact them now!

Sheila is a freelance writer for physical health, mental health, and parenting. She has four exceptional children, one adopted from South Korea. She lives in Alabama with her husband and children. Sheila enjoys cheering her children on at archery tournaments, soccer games, and color guard performances. She has over 24 years of experience as a physical therapist with a special love for the senior population. Learn more about Sheila at

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