Presently we have access to more medications and cutting edge technological procedures, but unfortunately the health of Americans has not significantly improved. The growing cost of health care has allowed us to live longer but also “sicker”. The epidemic of obesity continues to rise. It is predicted that diabetes will affect 50% of the population by 2050. What has happened? The answer is that although we are good at identifying and treating disease, we are missing the mark because we are not treating the cause of the disease.
Help is on the way. More and more research has shown that how we live our lives day to day greatly affects our risk for disease and making the correct changes can potentially either prevent or ameliorate major illness! Recent research has shown that sources of chronic inflammation in our body can lead to the development of chronic diseases. For example, poor sleep, stress, fatty and processed foods are responsible for our decline in health, not just “our genes”. Our genes only account for 20 – 30% of our health destiny, our environment and lifestyle will dictate the rest. “Genes are the loaded gun, but our lifestyle is the trigger”. Most diseases, especially heart disease, are not random occurrences but the consequences of the things people do every day. In fact, Dr. Ornish has shown that heart disease can be reversed. In as little as 3 months angina and constricted vessels can dilate and stop symptoms without medications.
The new medical specialty called “Lifestyle Medicine” has emerged and addresses every area of a person’s life in order to create positive health outcomes minimizing the need for medications. There is now evidenced-based answers to questions such as:
What is a healthy diet?
How can I improve my sleep?
Am I handling my stress effectively?
Are my relationships and social connections supporting my health?
How can I stop self-sabotage and develop skills that help me stick with health promoting habits?
The most convincing research (the EPIC study, 2009) tracked 23,000 individuals (age 35 – 65) over their life span. The data showed that practicing just 4 lifestyle interventions decreased their risk for developing diabetes by 93% and all major chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and even dementia, by 80%. These are amazing statistics! The four lifestyle interventions were:
1) They did NOT smoke
2) They had a BMI (body mass index below 30)
3) They exercised at least 3-1/2 hours per week
4) They ate a nutritious diet (mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains and minimal meat)
Our health care system primarily focuses on identifying disease and finding the quickest most effective treatment. However, truly achieving health resides almost entirely on an individual’s choices.
Carol Penfield, Nurse Practitioner and owner of Chatham Health & Swim Club recently returned from the national convention on “Lifestyle Medicine” and is excited to share cutting edge information with the community.
Come learn more about how you can improve certain aspects of your health, potentially take less medication, have more energy and continue to enjoy your life!
FREE Lifestyle Medicine information sessions at Chatham Health & Swim Club are open to the public on the following dates:
Saturday, Nov. 22nd: 11am
Saturday, Dec. 6th: 11am
Saturday, Jan. 3rd: 11:00am
Call 508-945-3555 to reserve. Space is limited.