A Better Doctor for Athletes
Andy Ling, a 55-year-old international lawyer and president and CEO of two software companies, is a retired 5th-degree black belt in both Karate and Judo. He’s also been an avid weight lifter since he was a teenager and even trained for the 1980 Olympics. Today, however, because he’s older, raising a family, and has less time, Ling’s workouts are shorter, yet still intense. “My goal is to get my workouts done in under an hour,” he says. No longer concerned with pushing out more reps or clocking 3-hour workouts, instead a typical day might include mountain biking for 14 miles, a long run, or interval training that includes ten laps in the pool and 30 push-ups with 45 seconds to breathe in between.
Like any dedicated athlete, prevention was top of mind for Ling. Since he had already endured several injuries through the years, he wanted to make sure he didn’t aggravate them further or get injured again. So just as he would focus on improving his muscles when they’re not performing at an optimal level, he took the same approach with his health. “I don’t believe in resting an injury, I believe in attacking it.” Although Ling had a healthy diet, he was concerned about heart disease because of his age. He also needed a like-minded physician who understood his lifestyle, workout regimen and desire for prevention. “I wanted to work with a doctor who didn’t lean on medicine as a first reaction to any symptom.” So when Ling found out that Dr. Markham McHenry in Scottsdale, Arizona practices osteopathic medicine and works extensively with professional athletes, triathletes, and martial artists, he knew he had met his match.
Ling underwent a Carotid Intima Media Thickness (CIMT) test, a non-invasive ultrasound of the carotid artery. The test revealed plaque in his carotid artery, which is a significant risk factor for heart disease. Genetic testing also showed that Ling had inflammation and a genetic risk for premature heart disease. His LDL cholesterol was high too even though he had a healthy diet and exercised. By making small changes to his diet and adding natural supplements, Ling reduced his risk for obstructive coronary artery disease by 21 percent within just one year. His cholesterol significantly improved too. “It made me even more conscious of my daily diet, exercise and healthy lifestyle.” Dr. McHenry also helped Ling with adjustments when his hip was sore, or his lower back acted up after a run. He even recommended Ling scale back on his workouts a bit. “The way he phrased it was, ‘You don’t need to have your hands on your knees all the time.'” Today, Ling is at ease knowing that he has done everything he can to prevent a serious disease or injury from slowing him down. And finding a physician on his team is even more rewarding. “I see him as my partner trying to take care of what I need to accomplish, knowing what I do and how I live my life.”Andy L.