02/19/2009 03:34 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Detecting Silent Diseases Before They Strike

We are shocked and surprised at the untimely deaths of celebrities, including Tim Russert, Peter Jennings, and Michael Crichton. And we all know someone who seemed to be the picture of health but suddenly died or developed a serious, fatal illness. Yet every one of these tragedies could have been prevented if the victim only knew that they were suffering from a silent disease. The truth is that disease is rarely silent, and illness is rarely isolated. In fact, most illnesses quietly begin an avalanche of health problems.

As we get older, one or more of our organs will start to fail before we are even aware of it. You may have found your first gray hairs, or have had a momentary lapse when trying to remember a phone number or someone's name. These clues aren't really the signs of the beginning stages of aging: by the time they occur, you're already well into the process. Inside your body greater changes have already started, and may be affecting your health in a number of ways. For example, if you are diagnosed with diabetes, your elevated sugar levels are damaging your blood circulation, your skin, your eyes, your heart, even the neurons of your brain. These issues used to be considered as "independent yet related symptoms of disease or comorbidity." But I know that they are all part of the body's aging code.

The key to becoming younger and continuing to lead a vibrant and active life is the ability to identify the aging parts of your body that may already be experiencing the ravages of silent diseases, and treat them at the earliest possible opportunity. By doing so, you are literally reversing the aging process by breaking the aging code. Your goal is to intimately know your health status so that you can predict and prevent all forms of silent disease, including heart disease, cancers, osteoporosis and diabetes. The single most effective way to do this is by combining early diagnoses with preventative anti-aging treatment.

The New Annual Check Up

Virtually all diseases are asymptomatic, or silent, until they have progressed to 80-100% of an end stage disease. For example, Alzheimer's disease doesn't occur overnight. Just like heart disease, it's a condition that begins slowly, silently, and progresses over the years. That's why a proactive approach to healthcare begins with a thorough annual checkup. This is critically important, especially if you do not have any medical symptoms or conditions. An annual examination not only allows you the piece of mind knowing that you are in excellent health, it creates a health baseline so that you can compare to exam results year after year.

I believe that the traditional medical once-over needs to be completely updated: the days of the stethoscope are over. Physicians are not trained to think of aging as the first stage of disease, and even if they are enlightened, detecting some of the most aggressive silent diseases via a regular physical exam is slim. In my office, my annual exam features diagnostic testing that pinpoints with incredible accuracy the aging code of every organ in the body, so I can take care of my patients by treating their oldest parts first. With these tools, most silent diseases can be detected early, and early detection means early treatment.

Talk to Your Doctor about these Testing Options:

• Ankle-brachial index: finds debilitating peripheral vascular disease
• BEAM: Brain Electrical Activity Map is basically a computerized QEEG, which measures the brain's speed, voltage, rhythm and synchrony. The BEAM is considered the stress test of the brain, and it helps us identify disease by examining the brain's electrical chemistry. BEAM testing can help to detect Alzheimer's and memory loss even before symptoms present. It can also uncover, diagnose, and treat the imbalances associated with depression, insomnia, and schizophrenia. The procedure is painless and non-invasive.
• Blood flow ultrasound: helps us detect brain aneurisms, as well as carotid plaque that precedes stroke
• CT angiogram: detects coronary artery disease
• DEXA: These scans can detect the beginning stages of osteoporosis in individuals as young as 10.
• Echo Cardiogram: detects damaged heart valves, changes/enlargements in ventricles and atrium. It can predict early atrial fibrillation, and forecast heart failure.
• Head-to-toe ultrasound: finds the basis for an aging metabolism
• Pelvic Ultrasound: detects uterine enlargement, fibroids, changes in ovaries, prominent endometrium, endometrial cancers, cervical cysts, sarcomas, myosarcomas, and fluid collection due to advancing ovarian cancer
• Prostate Ultrasound: measures the size of the prostate, its nodules, calcifications, masses, bladder size and function, enlarged prostate, abnormal growth in prostate/bladder.
• Scrotal Ultrasound: measures the size of testicles and epididymis, water in testicles, and provides information regarding infertility, cancer, hormonal change, or calcifications.
• Transcranial (brain) Ultrasound: Measures blood flow in eye blood vessels and middle cerebral arteries

You can also get a good sense of your overall health by taking my AgePrint Quiz featured on my website, This test allows you to look at all areas of your body, picking up any symptoms of disease in the early stages. By looking at your brain function, sensory perception, sleep patterns, mood, memory, weight gain or loss, skin condition, sexual drive, digestion, and stress levels you can prepare yourself and your doctor for your next annual checkup.