What is Lifestyle Medicine?

Lifestyle medicine is the use of evidence-based lifestyle therapeutic interventions to prevent, treat, and often even reverse chronic disease. These interventions include a predominantly whole food plant-based eating pattern, regular physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances and positive social connections. The reality is that 80% of all premature deaths are attributed to three factors: tobacco use, poor diet, and lack of physical activity. Therefore, lifestyle practices and health habits are the most important determinants of positive health outcomes. Improving unhealthy behaviors is foundational to effective medical care, disease prevention and health promotion. 

In the US we function within a healthcare system that is largely focused on care that is provided after one has been diagnosed with a chronic/preventable illness. For example, I often encounter patients who have not seen a primary care provider in years d/t financial difficulties, no insurance or underinsured, inability to take time off of work etc. Then they present acutely ill in the ER with diabetes, uncontrolled hypertension etc at which point they are provided acute care, given loads of medications and numerous follow-up doctor’s visits and an enormous medical bill. As you can imagine, this is a VERY expensive way of managing healthcare in the US.

A typical hospital stay, testing, medication, and specialist consults can cost an individual tens of thousands of dollars whereas a preventative care visit is only a fraction of that cost. Not only is preventative care cheaper in the short term, but the long term implications of preventative care cannot be overstated. The US spends the most money per capita on healthcare compared to any other industrialized nation yet our health statistics rival that of third world countries.

We have some of the highest rates of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, etc. Lifestyle medicine specialists are trained in the prevention and reversal of chronic disease utilizing methods that are simple and effective such as physical activity assessments and counseling, obesity screening and nutrition counseling, tobacco cessation, etc. If you are ready to take control of your wellbeing and lay the foundation for good health, schedule a consultation today to see how we can assist you in starting your lifestyle medicine journey!

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