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Ask the expert: Shaveta Kotwal, M.D.

Created date

July 19th, 2010
Ericksonhealth and wellness experts can be found atErickson Living communities all over the U.S.This month our expert is Shaveta Kotwal, M.D., medical director at ' Ashby Pondsin ' Ashburn, Virginia. Dr. Kotwal received her medical degree from Jammu Medical College in India. She completed a residency in internal medicine at Prince George s Hospital in Cheverly, Maryland. Board certified in both internal medicine and geriatrics, Kotwal joinedAshby Pondsin September 2008. Please note: The following questions were submitted by readers. The answers are intended for general information purposes and should not replace your doctor s medical advice. Q: I am 82 years old and in fairly good health, but I have never exercised regularly. Would it do me any good to start now? A:No matter when you start, one of the most important things you can do for your health is to be active. Numerous studies have shown the benefits of exercise for people with heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, and many other health conditions. It can improve your mood, help you sleep better, and may ward off dementia. A good guideline for exercising is to gradually build up to 30 minutes a day at least five days a week. It s not necessary to do it all at once divide your daily exercise periods into three 10-minute sessions, for instance. Your tolerance for physical activity may vary so always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen. Q: I ve been taking blood pressure medicine for ten years. Since my blood pressure readings have been perfectly normal for the past two years, can I stop taking the medicine? [caption id="attachment_12765" align="alignright" width="196" caption="High blood pressure is an ongoing chronic condition. (File photo)"][/caption] A: Never stop taking any medication without talking to your doctor first. High blood pressure is a chronic condition, which means it is ongoing and not likely to resolve on its own. Your normal blood pressure readings are likely due to your medication s effectiveness. Abruptly stopping it could cause your blood pressure to rise dangerously and put you at risk of a stroke, heart failure, heart attack, or kidney failure.