Top Form Tuesday: The Most Vital of Vital Signs

What is the most VITAL vital sign? When you go to the office your gyno measures your blood pressure, your heart rate, your breathing rate, now we may get the oxygen level in your blood, of course your weight, but there is one sign of vitality that really is a better sign of how fit we are. You might be tracking it, but you might not be discussing it, or putting it on your medical record, but you should be! And that is this: Exercise minutes per week! Every medical health research study has always shown that physical activity is a key ingredient to longevity, wellness, sexual function, brain processing, and psychological health. In fact being sedentary has been quoted to be on of the greatest health risk we have. In the American Journal of Medicine, commentary section, September 2016, the editors point out that equal to the other vital signs that are routinely measured (your pulse, your blood pressure, your temperature and how many breaths per minute you take), should be a vital sign that is tracked. The AMA has echoed this stance with it's statement on how physicians should make physical activity a priority for their patients. The physical activity vital sign needs to ask: how many days a week to you have moderate to vigorous activity, and for how many minutes do you sustain activity at this level, and then results multiplied to give 'minutes per week."Other health vital signs we use are the the waist measurement, your BMI, seat belt use, possession of guns, tobacco use (just a simple smoker or non-smoker will do or go all out and report on your number of 'pack years') and pulse oxygen readings.They all have their place in medicine, but minutes of exercise per week is the most helpful of all of these.


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