The New York Times did a wonderful article highlighting the importance of Fitness testing in the detection and prevention of cardiovascular disease. The article cited how simple Fitness testing can be an easy way to detect heart disease. I wholeheartedly agree. In my practice I have caught several incidents of clients that had potential heart disease, and I was able to help them significantly. In fact, one patient actually needed a stent after I did a routine step test which revealed a lower than usual heart rate and abnormal rhythm.
Physical therapist should be the leading experts in this area, along with exercise physiologist. The reality is most physical therapist don't examine general fitness, let alone take basic vitals during the exam and routine follow-up. More concerning is the lack of exercise and nutrition knowledge by physicians. Did you know that most medical doctors only received 2 days of nutrition training and almost no exercise classes in medical school? While this may be changing slowly in medical schools, I still think physical therapist can work in combination with MDs during physicals every year to test for cardiovascular disease using fitness tests. I know that my local Physicians that I work with rely on data for me to provide their patients with an overall health assessment that includes Fitness.
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