Once upon a time, when I thought about the meaning behind the word ‘lifestyle,’ it conjured up images of lying on the beach in a stylish outfit with fashionable sunnies on, sipping a cool drink.
Erm…if you thought that had anything to do with Lifestyle Medicine, you have come to the wrong blog! Lifestyle Medicine is something entirely different, and it is changing our healthcare landscape in amazing ways.
When I tell people I’m interested in Lifestyle Medicine I generally ,this is what I hear…
“Huh? Sorry, what?” along with the occasional blank stare.
So I figured, on a blog where my key message will centre around the concept of Lifestyle Medicine, it’s probably a good idea to outline what it is for those of you who are currently doing the blank stare!
Here is an official definition:
“Lifestyle Medicine is a branch of evidence-based medicine in which comprehensive lifestyle changes (including nutrition, physical activity, stress management, social support and environmental exposures) are used to prevent, treat and reverse the progression of chronic diseases by addressing their underlying causes.” (1)
So? I hear you thinking…what does that mean in real life? Well, I’m about real life in a big way. So let’s talk.
Remember how they told us we are living 10 years longer these days? What if I told you that is correct, but we are living much longer with illness? (1)
Remember when you or someone you love received that diagnosis- heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity? What if I told you there was a mountain of good, evidence based research that tells us these chronic diseases are
- a) preventable, and
- b) in many cases, reversible?
Would it shock you to know that in developed countries, 60-70% of primary care (IE visits to the GP) visits were about lifestyle based disease? (2)
Would it give you hope if I told you that your body, right now, is geared for self-healing and has a remarkable capacity for this, and in a much quicker way than we ever thought possible?
Lifestyle Medicine is a bridge that connects the best of public health to the best of conventional medicine. If I broke my leg, or even if I had a heart attack, man am I glad I can dial 000 and get some help. We are fantastic at emergency medicine. However, if I was diagnosed with diabetes or heart disease, there is much to be said for the aim of restoring health and working towards staying out of hospital. Chronic disease is costing our economy big bucks. It’s time we all take charge of our own health and become aware of the fact that we need to stop mopping up the floor, and start turning off the tap!
The most exciting thing for YOU about Lifestyle Medicine though, is that YOU are the central key player in your own health! This is what gets me out of bed in the morning and motivates me to get this blog happening. Big changes are happening in the way we understand and relate to health, and I’m passionate to see YOU living YOUR LIFE to the fullest. That doesn’t mean you have to do fad diets or exercise like a body builder (unless you WANT to ha!), it means you’re the boss!
So join me on a journey, pop your glasses on and lets do life better, fuller, happier…Bespectacled!
Lifestyle medicine potential for reversing a world of chronic disease epidemics: from cell to community (Sagner, M., Katz, D., Egger, G., et. al., 2014)
The emergence of “lifestyle medicine” as a structured approach for management of chronic disease (Egger G., Binns, A. & Rossner, S., 2009)