The American Journal of Cardiology wants fast-food restaurants to provide cholesterol-lowering drugs to patrons(1)! Now that’s a wake-up call!
When an esteemed medical journal goes on record declaring that our eating habits are so toxic that they’re telling our fast-food restaurants to provide ANTIDOTES, the world takes notice. The World Health Organization estimates that 80 percent of noncommunicable diseases could be prevented if four key lifestyle practices are followed(2):
- Healthy diet
- Physical activity
- Don’t smoke
- Drink alcohol moderately
Are you feeling anymore motivated to change your lifestyle routines? Great – because that’s why we’re here: to give you the support and information you need to get and stay healthy using Lifestyle Medicine.
Thomas Edison on the
“Doctor of the Future”
The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.
The day is near at hand when the doctor will no longer be engaged to patch up the sick man, but to prevent him from getting sick. He will visit families, examine the premises, inspect factories and shops, and give instruction to his patients how to keep from getting sick. Each family will select its doctor and pay him so much a year per capita. The doctors will not lose by the arrangement, either.
“Lifestyle Medicine” is defined as: “the therapeutic use of evidence-based lifestyle interventions to treat and prevent lifestyle related disease in a clinical setting. It empowers individuals with the knowledge and life skills to make effective behavior changes that address the underlying causes of disease(2).”
What that basically means is that doctors and other health professionals who complete the Lifestyle Medicine Core Competencies Program taught by the American College of Preventive Medicine will offer:
- Nutrition advice
- Physical activity advice
- Stress management help
- Sleep health education
- Social support importance
- and Environment exposure risk advice (eg: don’t drive past the Burger King on your way home)
One of the most exciting new things doctors will be doing is writing Nutrition Prescriptions! Doctors will be prescribing diet to prevent and reverse basic disease processes including inflammation, diabetes, hyperlipidemia (high blood levels of fats), hypertension (blood pressure) and cancer(3).
Yes! You read correctly – diet CAN TREAT DISEASES AS SCARY AS CANCER.
Are you ready for Exercise Prescriptions? Doctors learn the pros and cons of treating disease with exercise vs. medications and will offer exercise scripts for the following conditions(4):
- Heart disease
Sleep is NOT an indulgence, it’s vital to good health! Don’t let anyone chide you for wanting to sleep in anymore.
What’s encouraging about this component of the curriculum (aside from the fact sleep is bonafide medicine) is that doctors my be spending more time with us. The program teaches physicians to ask questions needed to identify sleep problems associated with physical activity, what we eat, how we cope with stress and our living environment. That’s going to take some time!
Laughter makes carpal tunnel surgery recovery go faster too!
Stress Management gets a do-over as “Emotional Wellness.(4)“ Doctors learn screening tools for stress, depression and anxiety. Interestingly, in order to pass, they’ll have to “demonstrate ability to manage depression and anxiety in patients with comorbidities, (people with diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc). Hmmmm . . .
They’ll also study how to use positive psychology (we call it laugh2healthy!) in lifestyle medicine. Also newsworthy is that doctors will be trained in training patients to use mindfulness as they make lifestyle choices. Even MORE newsworthy is that doctors will need to demonstrate proficiency in using mindfulness while performing examinations! Wow!
Does your doctor measure up? (below is reproduced from the American College of Lifestyle Medicine website)
Lifestyle Medicine Physician Competencies
Definition: Lifestyle medicine is the evidence-based practice of helping individuals and families adopt and sustain healthy behaviors that affect health and quality of life. Examples of target patient behaviors include, but are not limited to, eliminating tobacco use, improving diet, increasing physical activity, and moderating alcohol consumption.
Values: Lifestyle practices and health habits are among the nation’s most important health determinants. Changing unhealthy behaviors is foundational to medical care, disease prevention, and health promotion. The physician’s trusted relationship with the patient, with the support of the family, an interdisciplinary team and the community, is key to improving health behaviors and outcomes.
A practicing primary care physician should possess the following knowledge, skills, attributes and values.
- Promote healthy behaviors as foundational to medical care, disease prevention, and health promotion.
- Seek to practice healthy behaviors and create school, work and home environments that support healthy behaviors.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the evidence that specific lifestyle changes can have a positive effect on patients’ health outcomes.
- Describe ways that physician engagement with patients and families can have a positive effect on patients’ health behaviors.
- Assess the social, psychological and biological predispositions of patients’ behaviors and the resulting health outcomes.
- Assess patient and family readiness, willingness, and ability to make health behavior changes.
- Perform a history and physical exam specific to lifestyle-related health status, including lifestyle ‘vital signs’ such as tobacco use, alcohol consumption, diet, physical activity, body mass index, stress level, sleep, and emotional well-being, and order and interpret tests to screen, diagnose and monitor lifestyle-related diseases.
- Use nationally recognized practice guidelines (such as those for hypertension and smoking cessation) to assist patients in self-managing their health behaviors and lifestyles.
- Establish effective relationships with patients and families to effect and sustain behavioral change using evidence-based counseling methods and tools and follow up.
- Collaborate with patients and their families to develop evidence-based, achievable, specific, written action plans such as lifestyle prescriptions.
- Help patients manage and sustain healthy lifestyle practices, and refer patients to other health care professionals as needed for lifestyle-related conditions.UU
Use of Office and Community Support
- Have the ability to practice in an interdisciplinary team of health care providers and support a team approach.
- Develop and apply office systems and practices to support lifestyle medical care including decision support technology.
- Measure processes and outcomes to improve quality of lifestyle interventions in individuals and groups of patients.
- Use appropriate community referral resources that support the implementation of healthy lifestyles.
- The Best Approach To Treating Diabetes May Not Be Drugs
- Medical Training to Achieve Competency in Lifestyle Counseling: An Essential Foundation for Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases and Other Chronic Medical Conditions: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association.Marie-France Hivert, Ross Arena, Daniel E. Forman, Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Patrick E. McBride, Russell R. Pate, Bonnie Spring, Jennifer Trilk, Linda V. Van Horn, and William E. Kraus. Published September 6, 2016. (Summary)
- Kushner, Robert F. “Lifestyle Medicine—An Emerging New Discipline.” US Endocrinology 11.1 (2015): 36-40. Web.
- Lifestyle Medicine Curriculum for a Preventive Medicine Residency Program: Implementation and Outcomes. Haq Nawaz, Paul V. Petraro, Christina Via, Saif Ullah, Lionel Lim, Dorothea Wild, Mary Kennedy, Edward M. Phillips.Medical Education Online. Published August 8, 2016