Article 10 : MEDICINE BEYOND DRUGS-THEME ARTICLE
Modified Lifestyle is the way to the journey from “ILLNESS” to “WELLNESS”
By Ruchira Dhoke
M.Sc. Medical Microbiology
Mahatma Gandhi Mission’s Medical College (MGM)
“Freedom is a state of mind”
Can the quote by Walter Mosley be synonymous to “a healthy body is a state of mind”?
It’s a thought I am sure has been going on in the minds of many researchers today since there has been a rapid transition in health observed over the past several decades.
The paradigm shift from rise in infectious diseases to non-communicable diseases can be entitled to not only our actions but also our thoughts. The non-communicable diseases are also termed lifestyle disorders with risk factors similar to prolonged exposure to three modifiable lifestyle behaviours — smoking, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity thereby resulting in the development of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and some types of cancer.
In Young India, August 8, 1929, Mahatma Gandhi had stated that “Instead of using the body as a temple of God we use it as a vehicle for indulgences, and are not ashamed to run to medical men for help in our effort to increase them and abuse the earthly tabernacle.”It is we who neglect prevention and over indulge in excesses and then turn to the nearest physician seeking medical assistance to cure the diseases.
Risk of developing the most common as well as deadly chronic diseases can be reduced to 80% by maintaining a healthy weight, following a well-balanced diet, not smoking and most importantly exercising regularly.1 Importance of nutrition begins as early as in the mother’s womb. Thus, observing a healthy lifestyle has its origin in the formative stages of our life.
Although lifestyle medicine is considered to be a relatively new subspecialty, it has been practised for thousands of years.2 The focus of the lifestyle medicine unlike conventional medicine, is not on the treatment of chronic diseases but rather on preventing them.
Are drugs the remedy for all diseases?
No, it’s the battle of will.
Pills can only do so much. For many conditions, healthy lifestyle habits have been proven to be more effective than the medication itself. People with hypertension, type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidaemia etc should be in addition to lifestyle changes and not instead of them.
The need of the hour is to realise that these lifestyle diseases are a serious threat to the socio-economic aspects of all nations across the globe and it’s high time that appropriate actions for their management are considered and implemented to improve the healthcare system. Proper diagnosis along with their screening and treatment in addition to providing palliative care to the people who require it should be prioritised.
Quality lifestyle is the best therapeutic which will prevent us from heading towards another global pandemic-the more chronic and non-communicable type.
1. Luppino FS, de Wit LM, Bouvy PF, et al. Overweight, obesity, and depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010 Mar;67(3):220–9. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2010.2. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]