Holistic Preventive Medicine Can Change Your Life for the Better
By: Noah Rue
Many experts believe that a holistic preventive medicine approach — making healthy decisions every day — can help you achieve maximum function and well-being.
Have you ever considered the definition of health? The dictionary tells us that it’s the absence of illness or injury. However, if you think a bit deeper about it, you might decide that merely being free of disease doesn’t make you healthy.
Your health is a continually evolving state. You might feel good today and not so much tomorrow.
How you treat your body affects your overall
health and wellness for years to come.
So, when it comes to health, making the right decisions every day is probably your best strategy. To do this, many experts believe that using a holistic preventive medicine approach can help you achieve maximum function and well-being.
What is preventive medicine?
If you’re looking for ways to boost your immunity and avoid illness, preventive medicine might be able to help. This lifestyle health approach centers around practices that focus on prevention, promotion, and maintenance of health and wellbeing.
Preventive medicine can be formal, like when you go to see your physician for health screenings and immunizations. But it also includes lifestyle changes that you can undertake your own.
In this tech-oriented era, these changes likely involve wearable, and in-home technologies can help keep you healthy. These come in a variety of forms, such as smartwatches, that can track your steps, monitor your heartbeat, and remind you to take deep breaths periodically. But they also include digital home blood pressure monitors, glucose monitors, electronic scales and other devices that can port your data into a tracking app.
What is holistic medicine?
Holistic medicine focuses on the whole person. Instead of just treating one condition or body system, it takes into account the body, mind, and spirit. Holistic practitioners believe that if one part of your body isn’t working as it should, then all other parts will be affected, too.
Further, they believe that staying healthy requires that you must always be in a state of balance. This involves intention and practice. Also, it may mean you need some therapeutic techniques if you lose this delicate state of equilibrium.
Why is holistic preventive medicine necessary?
Six out of every ten adults in the United States have a chronic health disease. Four out of ten have two or more long-term conditions.
The following are the most common and costly illnesses:
All of these conditions have one thing in common: the impact of your lifestyle. Choices like too little physical activity, poor eating habits, and tobacco use can increase your risk of long-term health conditions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that practicing prevention can lower your healthcare costs. Americans spend $3.3 trillion on healthcare each year. Ninety percent of this total arises from chronic physical and mental health conditions.
When you choose preventive healthcare, you’re placing your long-term health over your short-term lifestyle decisions with the goal of healthy living. This is especially true for women who are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, as having a healthy pregnancy is vital for the long-term health of two.
Five advantages of engaging in holistic preventive care for your body
The Case for Health Screenings
As you age, life seems to get busier. This might leave you struggling to find time for routine checkups and tests. Remember, health screenings are a crucial part of holistic health and prevention.
Health screenings can detect chronic conditions and infections early so that you can get proper treatment and slow down the progression of these diseases. These types of exams are essential as you age, especially in the middle-adult and senior years.
Have you ever thought about how essential your heart is to daily life? There are many things you should know about your heart. One of the most critical components of healthy living is taking good care of your heart by making heart-healthy decisions daily.
Simple steps like getting your blood pressure checked routinely, seeing your doctor every year for a thorough exam, and following through with any laboratory tests your provider recommends can decrease your overall risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
The Case for a Healthy Diet
Choosing to eat a healthy diet decreases your risk of developing conditions like obesity and high cholesterol. Eat fruits, whole grains, vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products to get on the right track.
If you have any chronic health conditions, like diabetes or gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), your diet is a critical step to control. If you have GERD, be sure to steer clear of foods that agitate symptoms. This includes spicy foods, coffee, tea, and fatty or fried foods.
Try eating small, frequent meals to avoid the added pressure that a large meal might place on your stomach and esophagus. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, sticking to a healthy eating plan.
A healthy eating plan can help you control your blood sugar and slow the progression of the disease and other complications. A few diet modifications to consider with diabetes includes
- choosing complex carbohydrates over simple ones
- eating heart-healthy fish
- opting good fats, like avocados and nuts.
The Case for Controlling Stress
When you think of a healthy lifestyle, you might only consider things like diet and exercise. However, the amount of stress in your life is critical to overall well-being. Having a small amount keeps your body performing well, but too much stress can cause headaches, stomach upset, chest pain, and decrease your ability to fight colds and infections.
If you’re looking for holistic ways to get your stress under control, consider practices like mindfulness and meditation. You might also think about joining a local yoga or pilates class. Another strategy to help ease stress and anxiety is the use of CBD. This component of marijuana doesn’t cause any psychoactive effects. But, it has been shown to reduce tension and decrease stress, especially when it’s part of an overall healthy lifestyle.
The Case for Catching Shut-Eye
Sleep is restorative. So walking around in a sleep deprived or deficient state will leave you functioning at a suboptimal level. Unfortunately, too many people think they can run on four or five hours of sleep each night.
However, research has proven that getting about eight hours of sleep every day improves physical health. It also keeps you safe and performing at your best. When you get enough sleep and good quality rest, your overall state of mental, physical, and emotional health will improve.
The Case for Plenty of Activity
We get it. Some days you don’t feel like running 10 miles or engaging in a two-hour long exercise class. The good news is that to get the benefits of regular physical activity, you don’t have to spend a lot of time doing it. If you commit to a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day, you’ll get several benefits such as:
- weight control
- combating illness
- boosting your energy levels
The bottom line
If you’re ready to give holistic preventive health a try, you don’t have to make all of these changes at once. Instead, choose one of these strategies and stick with it for a few months before adding in the next one.
One of the easiest ways to begin is to make an appointment with a holistic preventive medicine practitioner for a check-up. Work with her to establish a plan of action to get your health back on track. Then, follow that plan as you gradually discard unhealthy habits and incorporate new health-promoting ones. The next thing you know you will be on the path towards health and a more balanced lifestyle. Good luck!
Noah Rue is a journalist and a digital nomad, fascinated with the intersection between global health, personal wellness, and modern technology. When he isn’t frantically updating his news feeds, Noah likes to shut off his devices, head to the beach and read detective novels from the 1930s.
Originally published at https://thedoctorweighsin.com on May 14, 2019.