What is lifestyle medicine?

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Your behavior and lifestyle (how one lives), play a vital role in your health. Sometimes, changes in behavior and lifestyle can have a great impact on how your body deals with diseases and your health. Whether your goal is to prevent health problems and harness your body’s true potential for well-being, or learn how to live with and even reverse some of the problems that come with diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, stroke, cancer, or heart disease, you will benefit from taking action.

Sleep, stress, diet, activity, and relationships are all parts of our lifestyle that contribute to our health. When we look at that list, it can feel overwhelming, leaving us uncertain about how to change habits in a way that will be meaningful and long-lasting. Changing your behavior can be hard, but it can be made easier with trustworthy, understandable guidance.  Lifestyle medicine can help you learn how to pull apart the factors that affect your health to find the right balance that can positively change your life and help manage some of the health problems caused by a disease you may be dealing with.

Shawn Olson, MD, is no beginner to Lifestyle Medicine, although the actual ‘specialty’ is rather new. He has begun the first Lifestyle Medicine practice at Hennepin Healthcare, practicing around the Twin Cities and running a collaborative practice in western Wisconsin.  “Although I may be the expert in Lifestyle Medicine, the patient is an equal expert in the room, and their expertise in their life is crucial for our work together,” explains Dr. Olson.

He continues to explain, “Patients can expect a 60-minute initial evaluation, where we take a ‘deep dive’ into their medical history and review the major lifestyle factors that can impact their health and wellness, as well as the systems that play a prominent role in their struggles. As a team, we work through their medical concerns, assuring they understand their body and what is happening to them, discuss how lifestyle factors affect them, and make a plan for change.  We will spend time discussing the science of behavior change and habit formation, to help assure meaningful, long-term progress.  At the following 30-minute sessions, we will spend time on specific areas of lifestyle change, delving deeper into the science and practice, along with developing goals to support progress.”

Besides living a healthier life, more than 80% of all healthcare spending in the US is tied to the treatment of conditions that stem from our lifestyle choices. These conditions or diseases are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health conditions.

Shawn Olson, MD is a Lifestyle Medicine provider.

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