What is Lifestyle Medicine?
Lifestyle Medicine (LM) is the use of lifestyle interventions in the treatment and management of disease.
Such interventions include:
A growing body of scientific evidence has demonstrated that lifestyle intervention is an essential component in the treatment of chronic disease that can be as effective as medication, but without the risks and unwanted side-effects.
The field of lifestyle medicine has been growing by leaps and bounds over the last two decades. In the 1999 landmark textbook entitled "Lifestyle Medicine," editor James Rippe, MD, expressed the hope it would "open an entire new branch of medicine…"
LM is becoming the preferred modality for not only the prevention but the treatment of most chronic diseases, including:
A Clinical Discipline
Although the practice of LM incorporates many public health approaches, it remains primarily a clinical discipline. The optimal treatment and management of chronic disease incorporates lifestyle interventions that are typically most effectively administered on an outpatient basis. Brief, intensive group interventions in a residential setting are often more effective and may be necessary for severe or intractable cases.
While LM interventions typically do not emphasize prescription medications, they frequently require re-titration and/or reduction of medications prescribed before the lifestyle intervention. It is often necessary to reduce insulin dosing in patients with diabetes who receive lifestyle interventions and reduce dosing of anti-hypertensive medications for patients with hypertension. Others may also require a change of medications. For example, a person with type-2 diabetes may be able to discontinue insulin but need metformin, a thiazolidinedione (TZD), or a sulfonylurea.
In some cases lifestyle interventions are more effective when augmented with appropriate medications, as with tobacco use where cessation is 2-3 times more successful when buproprion is prescribed with the lifestyle modifications. LM clinicians are qualified and licensed to diagnose and prescribe medications as needed, as well as being trained in the use of lifestyle interventions.
The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) is the first national professional society for clinicians specializing in the use of lifestyle interventions in the treatment and management of disease. ACLM's members are clinicians engaged in lifestyle medicine practice, teaching and/or research. Many serve on ACLM committees contributing to the organization's role as a national resource of expertise in the use of lifestyle intervention for the treatment and management of disease.
See "Lifestyle Medicine Core Competencies"
"Bringing Lifestyle into the Equation" published in the Journal of Managed Care Medicine, by ACLM Director, Dexter Shurney, MD, MBA, MPH