(StatePoint) From high blood pressure to cancer, serious ailments often strike, despite our best efforts to maintain good health.
With the rapid pace of medical advancements and treatment options emerging, conventional medical wisdom can sometimes lag behind innovations in disease management. Furthermore, there's often little attention paid to nutrition's role in health conditions.
"Our healthcare system is a disease model, not a prevention model, and reimbursement is based upon sickness, not wellness. We need to better integrate all facets of care," says Dr. Steven V. Joyal, chief medical officer with Life Extension, Inc., an organization dedicated to increasing the functional human lifespan.Â
It's this thinking that spurred the creation of Life Extension's 2014 edition of the Disease Prevention and Treatment Book, which seeks to fill those gaps. From cancer to multiple sclerosis, the book offers 1400 pages of information on integrating pharmaceutical treatment options, nutritional support and lifestyle changes for optimal health. For example:
A major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure and kidney disease, high blood pressure threatens the life of every third American adult.
Intensive lifestyle changes can ease blood pressure management. When this isn't enough, pharmaceutical options can help. For example, blood pressure is best controlled with lower doses of multiple antihypertensive medications rather than a single large dose of medication. Furthermore, side effects can be greatly reduced.
"Many patients are lulled into a false sense of security by normal blood pressure readings at their periodic doctor's visits. But quite frequently, patients experience gaps in control, putting them at risk for stroke and heart attack," says Joyal.
Joyal recommends considering the following:
With an inexpensive at-home blood pressure monitor, take readings at multiple times throughout the day, tracking values over time. Your doctor can determine whether to modify your treatment regimen based upon the results.
Stay fit and exercise. A healthy body weight and high degree of cardiorespiratory fitness reduce hypertension risk, and if you already have high blood pressure, can help you achieve better control.
Hold the salt. High sodium intake can make high blood pressure worse. Read labels. Even if you aren't reaching for salt, many pre-packaged convenience foods, meats and cheeses contain significant amounts of sodium.
Get plenty of beneficial nutrients, especially potassium and magnesium, which are important for vascular health.
Rheumatoid arthritis could pose more than just a risk to comfort. Systemic inflammation hastens the onset of other age-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease.
"For optimal longevity, we need to integrate lifestyle changes with pharmaceutical treatments, rather than blindly assume that all a patient needs is more medication," says Joyal.
In addition to doctor-prescribed treatments, Life Extension researchers have scoured medical literature, finding several nutrients help support health in rheumatoid arthritis patients:
Krill oil blend
Gamma linolenic acid
Green tea extract
More information about integrating lifestyle changes into treatment plans for various medical challenges can be found at www.LifeExtension.com/dpt.
By taking advantage of new findings in medicine and science, optimal health may be better achieved.