Do you know what Life Style Medicine is?

It is a branch of medicine dealing with research, prevention and treatment of disorders caused by lifestyle factors such as nutrition, physical inactivity, and chronic stress (Wikipedia).

For me it looks exactly like what I have been doing, living and working with for the last few years. It has come gently, slowly and gradually and it seems that I’ve caught up with the change that has been happening and will accumulate more and more „members“.

Serious national health systems around the world, and certainly in Europe, are debating, discussing and inviting relevant professionals to contribute to the further development of this „new branch of medicine“. It enables a larger number of people, first, to become aware of the necessity to look at their life style, accept the importance of how we live, eat and relate to overall health and wellbeing and, second, start converting their practice into a daily routine. The process could take months or years, but sometimes it must be shorter, especially when some life-threatening event occurs.

Life style medicine could prevent a number of chronic diseases and help one maintain a good health condition for long time. Life style medicine puts much more responsibility on each of us, on the way we feel about our body, mind and vitality. Hippocrates had said: “If you are not your own doctor, you are a fool.”

Healthy behaviour is a personal understanding and mission for everyone. It all starts from one tiny move by each of us, doesn’t it?  However, it should be the objective and focus on other levels, too. Countries should promote more strongly and widely the benefits and all kinds of positive effects on our health by us by our embracing a healthy life style. Especially, as we live longer and we want to stay and live independently as much as possible. There is also a big task for doctors who, through their daily work with patients, must support them to implement healthier life habits and to stick to them.

There are always champions and early birds in any new discipline and changing trends. We often write here in our blogs about such people, countries and places, such as the longest living nations’ blog.

Here is only one example that has taken place, in Finland, a country that was not among the healthiest and longest life expectancy places. However, there are things they have been very good at, such as education, innovation and so on.

Years ago Finland had one of the highest ischemic (coronary) heart disease-related deaths in the world. Dr. Pekka Puska and his team orchestrated a multi-pronged, community-wide approach starting with North Karelia. Within five years it had spread to all of Finland. Now the country has witnessed a more than 75% reduction of the incidence of the disease in the last four decades by dramatically controlling risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.

Although there is nothing dramatic in this up and coming branch of medicine, it sounds very human, positive and encouraging as well as demanding upon us human beings, whether we are a doctor or a patient. We should be very pro-active in seeking what is healthy, implement what is wholesome and get help if we fall short or get sick.


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