The Era of Lifestyle Medicine Is Upon Us

We all know that there is a chronic disease epidemic out there. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, cancer - they’re all on the rise. And, importantly, these chronic diseases and their underlying causes are also intimately linked to fertility health.

In traditional Western medicine, the goal of chronic disease care is to “manage” the condition. Chronic disease management includes attenuating both the progression and the symptoms of the disease. The tools in the Western medicine toolkit to manage these diseases mainly include medications (e.g., statins) and surgery (e.g., coronary artery bypass). Unfortunately, these tools have proven insufficient. The severity of chronic disease is rising, the incidence of co-morbid conditions (i.e. multiple chronic diseases at once) is rising and the cost of chronic disease care is rising.

We need a better solution that focuses on the “treatment” of chronic disease, rather than the management of symptoms. However, most conventionally trained physicians do not have the tools to effectively treat chronic disease. It is not their fault; these skills just aren’t taught in most medical schools.

If we look at the chronic conditions listed above, what do they have in common? It may not be what you think.

They are all lifestyle mediated.

The reason that medical care is insufficient at treating chronic disease is because chronic disease is not a medical problem. It is predominantly a lifestyle problem. Our bodies are not designed to handle the assaults that we subject them to on a daily basis (e.g., poor diet, unrelenting stress, minimal sleep, toxin overload).

For this reason, lifestyle-focused modalities (like diet, exercise, stress management and behavior change) are essential to the abatement of our chronic disease epidemic. Instead of medical interventions, we need to be leveraging lifestyle interventions to address the real underlying causes of many of these chronic health conditions, including fertility.