What is Lifestyle Medicine?

Blaine Kelley

Dr. Suzannah Bozzone, Erlanger Family Medicine physician, is one of the first doctors and Ph.D./Masters-level health clinicians worldwide, as well as the only physician in Chattanooga to earn board certification in the new field of Lifestyle Medicine. The concept of Lifestyle Medicine may sound strange to some, but this holistic approach to healthcare is gaining momentum. Bozzone answered a few of our most asked questions below.

What is Lifestyle Medicine?

Lifestyle Medicine is the evidence-based use of a patient’s lifestyle (such as nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management, smoking cessation) to prevent, treat and even reverse disease. When we treat a patient as a whole and focus on more than just medications for their specific issues, we can have a greater impact on their overall health and wellness.

Why is it important?

An estimated 80 percent of our health care dollars are spent on chronic disease, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and obesity-related conditions. Around seven out of 10 deaths in the U.S. are due to chronic disease, which is rooted in lifestyle habits, and largely preventable. If we can prevent these diseases we can save money and avoid rising costs in healthcare while helping the population to live longer, healthier lives.

How does this change medicine?

Lifestyle Medicine addresses the cause of diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, etc., rather than relying on medication alone to treat the symptoms that result from unhealthy lifestyle habits. With continued education and lifestyle changes, this approach to medicine can reduce the dosage and sometimes the need for medication altogether, which reduces cost, side effects and medication interactions.

How can this help me and my workforce?

Creating a community that supports healthier lifestyle habits fosters more successful lifestyle changes. Of course, people that improve lifestyle habits to optimize health will feel better, live better and longer, and are often more productive with fewer sick days.

Dr. Bozzone practices at the UT Erlanger Institute for Sports Health at Erlanger North Hospital. For more information please visit erlanger.org or call 423.778.3390.

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