Do you become more and more overwhelmed by the staggering dependence our society and medical community places on prescription medication and over-the-counter drugs? Our first thought when we become hurt or ill is to immediately turn to medication hoping for relief of our problem or symptoms.
Few of us, however, seriously consider the poor lifestyle habits that may be the underlying cause of the problem. Excessive weight alone may account for painful knees, painful hips, high blood pressure, diabetes, increases in reflux acid symptoms, and fatigue.
Smoking causes increased risks in high blood pressure, heart disease, emphysema, and lung cancer. Poor eating habits contribute to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. Lack of physical activity can lead to osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, decreased immune function and high stress levels. When people come to the physician’s office for help after developing these problems, invariably they are placed on medication while little attention is given to the underlying lifestyle that may be the main culprit.
Attitudes are changing. I believe the pendulum is swinging toward a more proactive approach to improve one’s lifestyle with less reliance on medication. Dr. Mark Nelson reported in the American Journal of Hypertension that 42% of patients with hypertension could get off their medication if they would follow simple lifestyle changes. Growing medical evidence is showing us that heart disease, cancer, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, osteoporosis, and several other diseases may be prevented or even reversed by healthy lifestyles.
Still, there is a tremendous confusion in the arena of wellness and preventive medicine today. Every individual who makes a decision to change their lifestyle will find confusing and conflicting information. It’s frustrating for those who have spent time and effort in trying to learn what they need to do to accomplish this goal.
The American public has long displayed an avid interest in the relations of diet and health and its expectations for guidelines on nutrition and exercise are becoming more and more sophisticated. With just a little encouragement, approximately 80% of my patients choose to make lifestyle changes that may improve their underlying medical condition or protect their health.
However, the authority whom patients most wish to consult for this information and guidance; their physician, usually remains insufficiently informed about the role of diet, exercise and nutritional supplementation in the prevention and treatment of these diseases.
~ Dr. Ray Strand, Specialist in Nutritional Medicine