One thing that I’m very passionate about is preventative healthcare. There is so much we can do with nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, targeted supplements and understanding your personal risk factors. On a very basic level, something as simple as how you fill your grocery cart is part of preventative medicine.
For example, one clear area where preventive care is often missed is with diabetes. Medical testing includes your weight, and blood tests for fasting glucose and HbA1C (a marker of your blood sugar stability over the past 3 months). This will detect diabetes and what is called “pre-diabetes”, both of which indicate significant impairment of blood sugar control. What’s interesting is that we can detect changes and risk of diabetes 5-10 years earlier with the addition of measurement of waist circumference, and simple, inexpensive tests of fasting insulin. The earlier blood sugar issues are detected, the better chance we have of completely reversing the trend.
Here are the top factors that I look at in creating a PERSONALIZED preventative health plan:
1) Detailed family history
Knowing what types of health issues run in your family, and age of onset can be very helpful in looking at what conditions to put special focus on for prevention. For example of most women on your maternal line had hypothyroidism, regular screening and steps for prevention are highly recommended. This also applies to cancer risk, heart disease, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s and more.
2) How are the basic lifestyle factors: nutrition, exercise, smoking, alcohol, stress?
Did you know that basic lifestyle changes such as nutrition, regular exercise, stress reduction, and smoking cessation have been shown to dramatically reduce risk of the top three chronic health conditions. These numbers are impressive:
- Reduce cancer risk by 40-60% (1,2)
- Reduce heart attack risk by more than 80% (lifestyle changes are incredibly powerful here!)(3)
- 60% reduced incidence of diabetes in ‘high risk individuals’ (4)