Chronic illness rates are at an all-time high. Sixty percent of US adults have at least one chronic disease, which translates to around 200 million Americans with chronic illness. These conditions are considered chronic because they are long-lasting and require ongoing medical attention. However, these conditions are not just chronic but are also primarily based on an individual’s lifestyle.
At inHealth Lifestyle Therapeutics, we define chronic conditions that can be improved based on behavioral change, or daily decision making, as Lifestyle Diseases.
The Importance of Redefining Lifestyle Diseases
Many chronic conditions are genetic and cannot be controlled by an individual. But the breakdown of chronic illness shows that a large percentage of these conditions are due to lifestyle factors. In shifting the conversation from “chronic” to “lifestyle,” we create a clear distinction between conditions that can and cannot be controlled by daily decision making.
As medical professionals, this distinction is common sense, but for patients this shift is less intuitive. By defining these conditions as lifestyle diseases, patients begin to assume control of their condition and this shifts the main responsibility of their personal health from the provider to the patient. With this shift, people are empowered to take control of their health and own their journey simply because they now understand they can.
Why Focus on Lifestyle?
Four areas impact a person’s overall health: medical care, environment, genetics, and lifestyle. And according to the WHO, lifestyle accounts for 50 percent:
- Medical Care: 10%
- Genetics: 20%
- Environment: 20%
- Lifestyle: 50%
While the American healthcare system is highly focused on diagnosing and treating disease, medical care is not as impactful as genetics, environment and lifestyle. And unlike genetics and environment, lifestyle is an area patients can influence.
Lifestyle is largely based on the decisions individuals make every single day. Do you take the elevator or the stairs? Do you reach for a bagel or eat the fruit? Do you watch TV or go on a walk with your favorite podcast? Decisions like these directly affect an individual’s health and by taking control of these small yet essential choices, patients can improve their disease(s).
At inHealth, we consider the following to be lifestyle diseases:
- Heart Disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- And diseases associated with smoking and alcohol and drug abuse
At inHealth, we are on a mission to reverse and prevent lifestyle diseases through high-quality, clinical health coaching as prescribed by a provider. Our outcomes support our clinical efficacy:
Lifestyle is a major driver of disease and, ironically, also the medicine. Clinical health coaches specialize in treating lifestyle and work with patients to make healthier lifestyle decisions. By redefining chronic conditions as lifestyle diseases and guiding patients to understand the importance of lifestyle, patients can assume some control over their destiny, impact their health, and with their providers, help change the trajectory of this global health epidemic.