Lifestyle Medicine is a branch of medicine which places emphasis on treating the root cause of disease by examining the factors which make each person unique. This approach to care places each of us including our choices and habits at the center of our own health, and provides insight into the impact of habits on health. (www.lifestylemedicine.org/)
Nearly every patient has heard their doctor recommend 'diet and exercise.'
To which the common response is: 'What does that mean?'
Often the physician will respond with a: 'I don't know, maybe the Mediterranean diet? I heard that is a good diet. Give it a try.'
This lack of a rigorous response is not the physician's fault in that traditional medical education focuses on medicine and surgery to the expense of proper nutritional education.
Example: Management of blood sugars and Diabetes:
In an effort to control blood sugars, many physicians prescribe oral medications such as Metformin (Glocophage), Glimepride (Amaryl), or another class of medication to help keep blood hemoglobin A1C less than 6.5. Many medications act on cellular receptors to increase insulin sensitivity, focusing on blood sugar levels as the marker of patient health. While Dr. Brevig can prescribe Metformin, Amaryl, or any other prescription medicine, he digs deeper in seeking to treat the root cause of diabetes.
What foods has the patient been eating? What are the glycemic loads of those foods?
- Why are the cells and tissues of your body not taking the blood sugar up from the bloodstream? Do they already have enough stored intracellular glycogen? If so, then perhaps we would be best served by giving attention to cellular metabolism, activity level, and modifying calorie output IN ADDITION to medication optimization.
90% of diabetes is type 2. Of the patients with type 2 diabetes, 90% can reverse their disease and completely control it by giving adequate attention to their various Lifestyle factors, with no need for additional medications.
Serving this need adequately is what makes Lifestyle Medicine stand apart as a unique and necessary approach to health. Diabetic care is just one example of what makes Lifestyle Medicine so special.
Our habits are quite often the very source of our disease, with our activities (diet, exercise, stress management) turning on or turning off expression of various genes.
Often our habits are the most difficult things for us to change.
By obtaining a thorough medical history and habit profile, Dr. Brevig seeks to provide his patients insight into the contribution their habits play in their medical status, and how they can be empowered to take control of their health.