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Disease Prevention 101

At Vitality, we focus on identifying the root causes of disease, rather than simply treating symptoms. One of the key principles of functional medicine is the importance of prevention, which involves identifying and addressing potential health issues before they become more serious problems. Today we will explore the role that prevention plays in patient-centered healthcare, and why it is so important for maintaining optimal health and wellness.

Prevention is central to the philosophy of functional medicine, which is based on the understanding that many health problems are caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. By identifying and addressing these underlying causes, functional medicine practitioners can help patients avoid chronic diseases and other health issues.

The CDC estimates that management of chronic disease costs Americans over $3 trillion annually. When faced with issues that aren't going away on their own, we often wait to act until the problems we’re facing are irreversible, allowing chronic issues to persist and become a drain on finances as well as mental and physical health. Though we can always work with these patients to manage and improve their conditions, outcomes are so much better when we can prevent chronic issues in the first place.

Rather than focusing solely on the symptoms of a disease or condition, our practitioners take into account a wide range of factors that can impact a patient's health and wellness. This may include their diet, exercise habits, stress levels, sleep patterns, health history, and exposure to toxins and other environmental factors.

It’s also important to prioritize early detection and intervention. This may involve using advanced diagnostic testing to identify potential health issues before they become more serious problems. For example, specialized blood tests can be used to detect markers of inflammation or nutrient deficiencies, and genetic testing is used to identify genetic predispositions to certain health conditions. At Vitality, we offer a wide variety of specialized testing to identify risk factors for serious health conditions.

Once potential health issues have been identified, our practitioners work with their patients to develop personalized prevention plans. This may involve making lifestyle changes, such as improving diet and exercise habits, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep. It may also involve targeted supplementation or other interventions to address specific health issues.

There are several changes you can make right now to prioritize disease prevention in your day to day life:

1. Maintain a healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Avoiding processed foods and excess sugar helps prevent inflammation that can lead to chronic illness.

2. Exercise regularly: Physical activity is important for overall health and can help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or cycling, most days of the week.

3. Manage stress: Chronic stress can have negative effects on the body and increase the risk of chronic disease. Finding ways to manage stress, such as through meditation, deep breathing, journaling, or prayer can help reduce the risk of chronic disease.

4. Quit smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases, including lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke. If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your health.

5. Limit alcohol consumption: Drinking alcohol in excess can increase the risk of chronic diseases such as liver disease, cancer, and heart disease. If you do choose to drink, reach for organic, low-sugar options that are free of sulfites and other additives.

6. Get enough sleep: Getting enough quality sleep is important for overall health and can help prevent chronic diseases. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive approach to disease prevention, Vitality is here for you. By taking a holistic approach to health, prioritizing early detection and intervention, and working with you to develop a personalized prevention plan, we can help you avoid chronic disease and live a healthier, more vibrant life.

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If you’re looking for a more natural way to manage your health, please contact us for a discovery call to see if our approach would be appropriate for your situation.

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