Chronic medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, hypothyroidism, high cholesterol, and obesity have become increasingly prevalent in our society. These conditions are the leading causes of heart disease, strokes, cancer, and peripheral vascular disease. If managed well the risk of developing any serious conditions decreases significantly. The reality is that treating these conditions and managing them strictly still have greater risk than not having these conditions at all. Out of the many different chronic illnesses, 70% of them are preventable. This basically means there is very high likelihood that you, the patient, could completely eliminate the risk altogether. Unfortunately, the current health care model does not emphasize this reality.
The emergence and development of the metabolic syndrome was the initial spark that has improved our new understanding of these conditions. Metabolic syndrome is the constellation of medical conditions (hypertension, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and obesity) that are a result of our lifestyle. Decreased physical activity, high calorie foods, 3 large meal eating pattern, and the reliance on technology for convenience are the cause of any one or all of these conditions 70% of the time. In the medical field, those are considered very good odds, and actually much higher than the efficacy of many of the medications available to treat them. Many physicians have started to understand the role of exercise and nutrition for staying healthy and have incorporated it into their medical practices. Many pharmaceuticals have their role and should not be dismissed or avoided when indicated.
Proper diet and exercise is the gold standard when it comes to preventing the metabolic syndrome. In addition, for those that may already have the metabolic syndrome or any one component, they have the ability to modify their lifestyle and reverse these conditions. In most cases, patients have reduced their need for pharmaceuticals and even eliminated them completely. We must remember that 30% of chronic illnesses are not preventable and will require the appropriate pharmaceutical treatment despite making significant lifestyle modifications. In any case, any treatment and lifestyle changes must be done with the help and cooperation of a physician in order to ensure safety and success.