No one wants to have chronic diseases and take pills daily for decades of their life. At Noviu Health, we believe that a lifestyle medicine approach can be a powerful tool in preventing chronic diseases and promoting long-term health. Today, we explore how adopting a lifestyle medicine approach can reduce your risk of conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, allowing you to lead a healthier and more fulfilling life.
Understanding Chronic Diseases and Their Prevalence
Chronic diseases, also known as non-communicable diseases (NCDs), are long-lasting conditions that progress slowly and often require ongoing medical management. Common examples include type 2 diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and obesity. These diseases are major contributors to disability, reduced quality of life, and premature mortality.
In Singapore, chronic diseases are a significant health concern. According to a study conducted by Duke-NUS Medical School's Centre for Ageing Research and Education, together with the Ministry of Health, found that 37% of respondents reported three or more chronic health conditions in 2017, up from 19.8% in a 2009 study.
The Power of Lifestyle Medicine
Lifestyle medicine is an evidence-based approach that focuses on making positive changes to key aspects of daily life to prevent and manage chronic diseases. By addressing modifiable lifestyle factors, individuals can significantly reduce their risk of developing NCDs and improve their overall well-being.
1. Nourishing Your Body with a Healthy Diet
A balanced and nutritious diet is at the core of lifestyle medicine. Consuming whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, provides essential nutrients and supports overall health. A diet rich in plant-based foods is particularly beneficial in preventing chronic diseases, as it is low in saturated fats and high in antioxidants and fibre.
2. Staying Active and Engaging in Regular Exercise
Regular physical activity is vital for preventing obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. Incorporate activities you enjoy, such as walking, cycling, dancing, or swimming, to make exercise a sustainable part of your routine.
3. Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Obesity is a significant risk factor for various chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. By adopting a healthy diet and staying active, you can manage your weight and reduce the risk of developing obesity-related conditions.
4. Managing Stress and Prioritising Mental Health
Chronic stress can contribute to the development and exacerbation of chronic diseases. Engaging in stress-reduction techniques, such as mindfulness, meditation, or yoga, can support mental well-being and lower the risk of stress-related health issues.
5. Avoiding Harmful Substances
Limiting the consumption of alcohol and avoiding tobacco products are essential in preventing chronic diseases. Excessive alcohol intake can lead to liver disease and other health problems, while smoking is a major risk factor for cancer, heart disease, and respiratory conditions.
6. Getting Regular Health Screenings
Prevention is key, and regular health check-ups can help detect early signs of chronic diseases. Work with your healthcare provider to establish a screening schedule that suits your age, gender, and individual risk factors.
At Noviu Health, we are committed to empowering working adults to take charge of their health and reduce their risk of chronic diseases through lifestyle medicine. By adopting a balanced diet, staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, and avoiding harmful substances, you can significantly improve your well-being and longevity.
- “Key Highlights from the National Population Health Survey 2020” https://www.singstat.gov.sg/-/media/files/publications/society/ssn122-pg10-14.ashx
- “ Proportion of older adults with multiple chronic diseases surges” https://www.healthxchange.sg/news/proportion-of-older-adults-with-multiple-chronic-diseases-surges