Ask the Doctor: Quitting smoking, alternatives to running, important screenings

Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 12:50 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Dr. Bob Cassady from the South Bend Clinic joins us every Tuesday on 16 News Now at Noon to answer your medical questions.

Question #1: “With the start of the new year, I want to give up smoking. Should I quit cold turkey, or is that just setting myself up for relapse?”

DR. BOB: There are a lot of ways to quit smoking, including quitting cold turkey.

Evidence would show that using a treatment method is more effective than quitting cold turkey. You could consider getting advice from your primary care doctor or seeing a counselor.

In addition to counseling, you could consider using nicotine replacement such as a patch or gum. You could also consider prescription medicines, such as Wellbutrin or Chantix.

I try to help my patients understand that it is common for someone to try quitting multiple times before they are successful. So, I would recommend coming up with a plan that you think will work for you and go for it.

If it doesn’t work don’t be too discouraged. Get back to the drawing board and try something different.

Question #2: “I have been running again with the new year, but my knees are starting to hurt. What’s a good alternative to running if I still want to get healthy?”

DR. BOB: It is great to hear that you are getting more active in the new year!

Even though you’re having some pain, you may not need to give up running yet. Consider running shorter distances or at a slower pace until you get into better shape.

Or even consider just walking for a while. Maybe then you can push things more with running.

If this doesn’t help, swimming, water aerobics, or bike riding can be very good alternatives. I especially like being in the pool because the water takes some of the weight off your knees.

Finally, consider adding in some strength training to add some variety.

Question #3: “I want to get a checkup for the new year. What are the most important screenings I should ask my primary care doctor about?”

DR. BOB: Screening recommendations are based on your age and differ for men and women.

For all adults, it is good to get screened regularly for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, substance abuse, and depression.

For adult women, again based on age, they should also consider cervical cancer, breast cancer, and colon cancer screening.

For adult men, we focus on colon cancer and prostate cancer screening.

Finally, we screen if any vaccines are due that can prevent illnesses such as shingles or pneumonia.

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