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Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood on June 08, 2012

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James Rippe, MD. Assoc. Professor of Medicine Tufts University School of Medicine

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Is it possible to reverse years of neglect?

A lot of people say, oh, it's too late. I've blown it. There's nothing I can do and that's just not true.

You know even if you have health challenges or even if you are in the later years of your life, there are lots of things you can do.

People need to remember that if you reach the age of 65 in the United States, you have a greater than 80 percent chance of getting into your 80s.

So, it's never too late. And there are things that each of us can do no matter what our health challenges are.

If you have some significant health challenges though, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor first. And another rule that I would recommend for you is, don't ever violate common sense.

If it hurts, slow down or stop. Get expert advice. But, it's never too late. There are things that people of every age can do.

If you have health challenges you're going to have to accommodate those health challenges. There are plenty of doctors who would welcome the opportunity to talk to you about these things.

I've often thought, and this is a very important point for you to keep in perspective, I've often thought that people are too shy when they come to the doctor.

That they don't say, here's what I would like to do. Now, I don't know why that is.

I'm sure you wouldn't be shy if you were talking to your accountant or your lawyer or one of your children's school teachers. Your doctors are human beings too.

So, say to your doctor, this is what I'd like to accomplish. How should I start a walking program? Or I think it would be good for me to lose 15 or 20 pounds. What do you think?

Doctors love having those kinds of conversations with patients.

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