It is a concept that puts one’s health at the center of day-to-day activities.
For an average European, the most iconic is an Italian lifestyle where you drink espresso and smoke a cigarette while vividly talking to your comrades. However, each country or even region got some original lifestyle, a mixture of various influences. All of them have a central point around which all of the other activities are orbiting. For thousands of years, it was food. Growing it, preparing, eating, and the loop goes on. The prioritization applied by our ancestors was smart and reasonable. However, in the 21st century, in most developing and developed countries, food is no longer a central point.
We are full, we are warm, and we are sick. Not even to mention the last case of increased virus infections worldwide. In short chronic diseases are the plague of modern societies. Earlier mentioned central point of life has turned to one’s health management. People live longer does not necessarily mean that people are, on average, more satisfied with their lives. On the one hand, medicine increased life expectancy by applying advanced treatment methods to fight the disease. On the other hand, improving quality of life after diagnosis was not a case of medical research, and a similar situation happened to preventive medicine.
Here is where lifestyle medicine enters as the bridge between lifestyle and disease treatment. It focuses on preventing diseases and fast reactions to any early symptoms. It consists of the four pillars: stress management, physical activity, relationships, nutrition.
The concept is relatively new both among the patients and health care professionals. However, there already exists an American College of Lifestyle Medicine, which is primarily an educational organization. Web analytics indicate that it is the most viewed one in this matter. It plays the central role of medical lifestyle topics on the web, with 10 thousand visitors a month. As we can see, the statistics for ACLM are impressive considering its yet short existence. The area that lifestyle medicine touches upon is yet to discover and learn more. “All of the diseases we worry about in our patients, ourselves or family members result from lifestyle-related behaviors that we often don’t talk about” says Sarah Keyes, a certified lifestyle medicine professional at Baylor College of Medicine.
The role of LM in chronic disease prevention and treatment is promising as “Lifestyle medicine approaches medical care of chronic non-communicable diseases from a new dimension,” says Dr. Vernes, who sees a big future in LM as a key to the patient-centric relationship between patients and doctors.
Lifestyle medicine is the concept present for decades and already know as the so-called healthy lifestyle. Hence, it is not new, but it has scientific support this time. Its wide adoption is in the good interest of many sides. Governments see it as a key to a healthy population, which will live long enough to fulfill tax-based strategies. Pharmaceutical corporations support the trend and already establish grants for studies in this area. All that seems like a very slow-growing turning point, which will change healthcare for the better.