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A 32-year-old female asked:

what would u say to obese patient who wants 2 exercise 2 improve heart health/lose weight, but doesn't due to a phobia about having heart attack? :(

3 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Psychiatry 42 years experience
Phobia treatment: I would suggest to this person that treatment for phobias and other anxiety disorders is very possible and could be lifesaving. Has your primary care physician (and maybe also your cardiologist) evaluated your cardiovascular health and made suggestions for you? Have they cleared you for a gradual exercise program? Those are important steps -- and also working with a therapist on your anxiety.
Dr. Jeff Blixt
Addiction Medicine 24 years experience
See your doctor: Get a physical, clearance to begin an exercise program. See a nutritionist, and perhaps even a counselor. Medications may be appropriate as well. Basically, you don't have to figure all this out on your own. Getting these fearful thoughts out of your head with someone else does wonders for getting over them. Fears in the head cause anxiety, food can be a way to ease that anxiety. You can do it.
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Psychiatry 42 years experience
Great answer, Dr. Blixt!
Nov 22, 2012
Dr. Lawrence Smith
Clinical Psychology 30 years experience
Get unstuck: Sometimes people don't exercise because they accept a specious argument against exercising. If there's a fear of a heart attack, i'd suggest a medical evaluation and clearance to exercise. If the fear persists, counseling can help. In reality, the risk of heart attack is greater from lack of exercise. Good luck!

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Last updated Mar 3, 2017

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