Many of the chronic diseases that are so prevalent in today’s society – type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, mental health conditions, musculoskeletal conditions, and respiratory conditions – are the result of the lifestyles we lead.  According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 80% of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, and 40% of cancers could be prevented primarily with improvements to lifestyle. 

Lifestyle medicine is an evidence based specialty of medicine that focuses on the root cause of ill health and uses 6 pillars to prevent and reverse a variety of illnesses like those mentioned above.

6 pillars of lifestyle medicine

Physical activity and excercise

Diet and nutrition


Stress reduction and mental health

Avoiding risky substances

Healthy relationships

Focusing on, and making improvements in these areas using scientifically proven methods can have incredible results and help to improve health and prevent illness.

Case Studies

Mr B

Mr B is a 54 year old patient of mine who was overweight and had newly diagnosed high blood pressure.  He works in a factory and spends his working day driving a forklift.  Out of work he watches tv in the evenings and has a few pints with his friends at the weekend.  His blood pressure readings were high enough that he needed medication – I was worried he was heading for a heart attack or a stroke.  He wasn’t keen on medication as he knew it would be lifelong. He had seen his mum on medication most of her life.  We decided to look at his lifestyle and what changes he could make. Over 6 months he was able to make a fair number of changes.  He started becoming more active, he started walking his neighbour’s dog.  He then started jogging for a minute or two on his walks. Because felt fitter he decided to cut out some of the evening snacks he had been having. Fast forward 1 year, he has signed up for a 10km race, he has lost 2stones in weight, his blood pressure has normalised and he has much more energy. He is delighted not to be taking any medication. 

Mr C

Mr C is a 46 year old gentleman with chronic pain. He has lived with pain for 20 years and had to give up his job in an office and relied heavily on 4 different painkillers. He had multiple tests and investigations including blood tests and scans over the years and no cause for his pain had been found. Despite being on high doses of medications he rated his pain as 8 out of 10. He was housebound (and occasionally bed bound) and struggled to walk to the end of his garden on a good day.  He had previously cycled to his work 4 miles each way. He stopped socialising with his friends and family and became isolated and depressed. 

After a few consultations and using the 6 pillars of lifestyle medicine I was able to make some suggestions to as to how Mr C could reduce his pain and lead a more fulfilling life.  We focused on nutrition, avoiding risky substances and physical activity initially. Over a period of 4 months he was able to reduce his pain medication, he began going regular walks with his wife around the neighbourhood, and he tried his hand at cooking one night per week.  He rekindled his relationship with his daughter and his grandchildren started visiting.  He has cut his smoking from 20/day to 4/day but most importantly to him his mental health has improved as his pain has reduced.  He now rates this as 4 out of 10 on a bad day.  He hopes to get back to work in the near future.

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