Updated: Feb 2
Each January denotes Cervical Health Awareness Month. While cervical cancer was once a leading cause of death among American women, today, the disease is quickly becoming one of the past. Since the introduction of the pap smear, incidence and mortality rates of cervical cancer have dropped by more than 50%. In fact, the CDC cites that the disease is roughly 93% preventable. Similarly, the introduction of prostate exams allowed doctors to catch early-stage prostate cancers before they spread throughout the body. These examples are often cited when discussing the merits of preventable care; however, preventable care stretches far beyond just reproductive health.
Nearly 250 years ago, Ben Franklin wrote, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Of course, the late, great Ben knew next to nothing about modern medicine. However, his words speak to a critical element of care at Case Integrative Health. Of course, a portion of integrative and functional medicine is treating patients with disease. However, once they return to, as Dr. Kelley likes to call it, “disco-ball” status, the aim turns to keeping them there, essentially, preventative care.
Dr. Orfanos, our Director of Integrative and Functional Cardiology, often cites that “Lifestyle interventions can prevent as much as 80% of chronic diseases”. It’s true, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and other life-limiting diseases can be prevented by not smoking, staying physically active, and eating a nutritious diet. Of course, making these changes can be more easily said than done. Enter: integrative and functional medicine. He elaborates, “Functional Medicine focuses on lifestyle, as well as interventions, to prevent, treat and sometimes reverse, the chronic diseases that we have.”
Another important element of preventative care is managing inflammation throughout the body, particularly as it ages. Dr. Agarwal, our Director of Interventional and Integrative Pain Management, says, “Aging is a complex process; however, we now know that chronic inflammation can speed up aging and contribute to chronic disease.” Unfortunately, that inflammation isn’t always apparent, particularly to someone without medical experience. This leads to what Dr. Agarwal terms “low-grade inflammation” and “can persist in our body without us knowing for various reasons, including environmental exposures, microbiome imbalances, diet, and stress.” Luckily, by working with an integrative MD, you can take a more preventative approach to this inflammation and help mitigate some of the adverse effects!
Taking care of your body and mind can be a lot of work, but the payouts of preventative care are priceless. Dr. Kelley sums it up perfectly, “I got a quotation card from my deodorant once (Not kidding!) that said, “Take care of your body; it’s the only place you have to live.” And this really resonated with me. One of the best gifts we can give to ourselves is our health. If we are active in our health and do our best to eat healthy, low inflammatory diets, manage our stress, prioritize sleep and get regular movement, many of our chronic ailments will improve.”
The Case Integrative Health Team