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What is lifestyle medicine?


Around 60-70% of visits to your general medical practitioner in developed countries are for life-style based and, therefore, preventable diseases. These diseases are generally long-standing, and therefore, modification of lifestyle would be an important aspect of managing these diseases. These changes in lifestyle not only benefit you, the individual, but also improve the standard of living and the economic circumstances of that society that you live in.

First developed in the United States, lifestyle medicine uses the environment, behaviour, medical and motivation to manage lifestyle-related health problems. It is not meant to be an alternative to conventional medicine, but rather a way of addressing the health changes posed by changes to lifestyle in the last 30-40 years. Taking medicine is an aspect of lifestyle medicine but it is not accepted as a complete solution to the problem. For example, if you go to see your local doctor because you feel you are overweight, this doctor may introduce you to a personal weight-loss program. If you see a lifestyle medicine practitioner, in addition to advising you about a personal weight-loss program, he or she may also advise you to exercise more, for example, walking instead of driving the car, and introduce you to the environmental effects of burning fossil-fuel and the win-win situation of walking (personal gain of weight loss, environmental gain of less carbon emission).

How is lifestyle medicine different from holistic medicine?

Lifestyle medicine is holistic medicine.

How is lifestyle medicine different from Traditional Chinese Medicine?

The basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine is that you live in harmony with the energy of the seasons and with the particular requirements of your mind and body. However, it doesn't address the problems associated with living in the developed world, where man has caused all these environmental changes to the world.

In comparison, apart from offering holistic medicine, lifestyle medicine also tries to empower you to change your own environment for the better, to improve your community's standard of living and economic circumstances.

The goals of lifestyle medicine

The goal of lifestyle medicine is prevention of disease, while the goal of conventional medicine is disease management. Exercise and nutrition are the basis for lifestyle medicine.

Some of the conditions that lifestyle medicine manages include obesity, sleep, anxiety and depression, addictions, sexual behaviours, skin health, oral health, hearing, pain, and many types of injury.

Read more:   Traditional Chinese Medicine...