Home > Fitness, Preventive Medicine > Even Runners Need an Annual Physical

Even Runners Need an Annual Physical

Bob Abbott, photo credit: The Dallas Morning News

A well-known Plano, TX runner, Bob Abbott, died last week at the age of 73 due to an aortic aneurysm. His death is a reminder to all of us that even if we are seemingly highly-fit and healthy, a preventive exam is prudent in order to ensure there are no underlying health concerns.

The Centers for Disease Control report that aortic aneurysms were the primary cause of 10,597 deaths in the US in 2009 (and a contributing cause of death in more than 17,215 deaths). About two-thirds of the people who have an aortic aneurysm are men. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis and smoking all increase risk for aortic aneurysm. People with a history of smoking are 3 to 5 times more likely to develop an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Sadly, most people who suffer aortic aneurysm don’t have symptoms leading up to the event. And people who do have symptoms may not recognize them for what they are—the symptoms are belly, chest, or back pain and discomfort, and the symptoms are variable—in some people they come and go while in others it’s a constant pain.

Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and blood pressure control offer tons of protective health benefits, but they aren’t a guarantee that we’re invincible and nothing bad is ever going to happen! Physicians at Cooper Clinic regularly identify major (or potentially major) health issues (such as aortic aneurysms) in otherwise healthy individuals as part of an annual preventive medical exam.

Read The Dallas Morning News’ tribute to Bob Abbott here: Remembering Plano’s Bob Abbott.

To learn more about a preventive exam at Cooper Clinic, click here.

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