What is lifestyle medicine?

 

Chronic non-communicable diseases or NCDs (such as cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, overweight and obesity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and hyperlipidemia) are currently the leading causes of death globally. These diseases were previously the health problems of developed countries with high income. However, due to a shift in the pattern of diseases, developing countries with middle and low income are now facing the same health problems. Lifestyle medicine is an evidence-based medical specialty that applies lifestyle therapeutic approaches for prevention and treatment of NCDs.

 

What are core competencies of lifestyle medicine?

 

Lifestyle medicine is about daily behaviors and practices that affect our health. These behaviors include our diet, physical activity, sleep quality, tobacco and drug addiction, anxiety and stress management as well as relationships and social support.  Nowadays, modern medicine based on drugs and invasive interventions is deemed incompetent for dealing with the surge in NCDs. Therefore, scientists have developed a novel holistic approach for health promotion, considering our daily behavior and different physical, mental and spiritual aspects. Lifestyle medicine is the result of this novel approach. It is based on scientific evidence and has been successfully implemented in different countries. Lifestyle medicine is focused on informing, educating and empowering individuals and since it does not involve expensive drugs and high-tech equipments, is considered cost-effective.

 

Lifestyle medicine is the prescription with only positive side effects!

 

This branch of health and medicine is emerging as the fastest growing around the world and the science supports its efficacy. Although the scientific evidence of this approach is new, holistic approach in medicine is rooted in traditional medicine of ancient cultures. We at IRALM strive to differentiate traditional medicine practices that are proven safe and effective with clinical trials and scientific evidence from unknown/ineffective ones and integrate the effective ones with modern medicine to deliver the most effective approach for dealing with NCDs. Our current focus is mainly on whole-food plant-based diet, regular physical activity, adequate sleep, management of stress and anxiety, avoiding risky behaviors like drug abuse and addictions, having healthy relationships and social support. Nevertheless, lifestyle medicine is a dynamic field which is constantly evolving.

 

Lifestyle medicine approach is about changing unhealthy habits and behaviors, which is the first and foremost step in health promotion. We are honored and committed to help Iranians with this step. IRALM in collaboration with other international lifestyle medicine organizations and societies advocate and support healthy lifestyle for healthier and happier Iran and world.

 

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