What is Health and Lifestyle Medicine? There are many ways to define health. One way to think of it is to say your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers look good. Or that you are on medications we hope will decrease your risk of undesirable events or help you live longer. I don’t throw that version out, but I see a problem with it. That model looks at numbers without including quality of life.
What about enjoying the years you have with family and friends and doing the things that bring you happiness? I believe another addition to our definition of health is to ask, “How is the quality of your life?” What are the things in your life that are important to you and give you that desired quality?
For each individual, “health” would be described differently. For those of you who have read “Being Mortal,” you recall Dr. Gawande finds this out in dealing with people that are nearing end of life. Everyone has a different set of values that are important to them and give them the quality of life that they want. He discovers that for most elderly, being safe is not that high on the list. It was an excellent book demonstrating what can happen when we really ask people what brings them joy – and how that can be facilitated in their last years.
The model of healthcare I was taught focused mainly on disease management and treatment. It didn’t specifically define or address how to help your patients create wellness and vitality. This is a special interest of mine, because I see so many patients who don’t have vitality they desire. While I wanted to facilitate optimal health for them, I didn’t feel I had the right tools.
So, over the past several years, I sought out education on creating a holistic version of wellness. Really, wellness has to be holistic, given that, if a person has one area of life that is unhealthy, they are not likely to experience a high level of vitality overall. If someone has happy relationships but poor health habits, they are unlikely to experience a high level of vitality. Part of my education has been in the personal development sector – really examining what is “behind the scenes” in creating people’s behavior. Diabetes Smackdown is an extension of that and has been hugely successful. Participants experience firsthand what is stopping them from reaching physical and personal goals and receive tools to create new behaviors leading to new and different outcomes.
Another new piece of training I now have is hormone optimization. What this means is optimizing some of the major hormones in your body (for both men and women) in order to prevent some of the age-related decline and dysfunction. I am using an approach taught by Dr. Neal Rouzier as presented by the American Academy of Family Physicians. This approach utilizes bioidentical hormones and blood testing to achieve optimal levels. We are looking at the female and male sex hormones as well as DHEAS and thyroid. This approach differs from others, in that I do not do saliva testing and most of the medications are oral. The main desired outcomes are an improvement in quality of life, like energy, exercise ability, libido, sleep and mood, as well as a medical improvement in metabolism, insulin resistance, bone strength and other disease prevention. My patients have had great results. It’s exciting to do something that really increases quality of life!
I offer several different packages. If this seems like something that may work for you, please read through the attached information and contact my office. I will speak with you on the phone to see if this may be a good fit for you. Then we will proceed with testing and an appointment. Dr. Amy Ellingson