Emerging data support benefits of lifestyle modifications on health

The scientific evidence supporting healthy lifestyle habits for disease prevention and treatment is coming into focus.

“It is the unhealthy lifestyle choices that typically lead to the medical condition,” said Susan Cornell, PharmD, CDE, FAPhA, FAADE, associate professor of pharmacy practice at Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy.

Lifestyle can include, but is not limited to, healthy eating, physical activity, quality sleep, coping skills, and stress reduction.

Processed foods, large portion sizes, macronutrient imbalance, inactivity, sitting for lengthy periods of time, fewer than 7 hours of sound, uninterrupted sleep per night, and stress are the “bad” lifestyle habits that lead to elevated cortisol levels, an increase in inflammatory factors, and changes in the gut microbiome, according to Cornell.

Recent research and scientific statements on the benefits of “good” lifestyle modifications—and improving nutrition, in particular—demonstrate the effectiveness of these strategies.

In a new scientific statement, the American Heart Association (AHA) said that making healthy lifestyle changes, such as committing to regular physical activity, are “effective yet underused strategies” that can help manage atrial fibrillation (AF), an abnormal heart rhythm that can cause ischemic stroke.

For the first time, patients and health care practitioners will have guidance about nutrition and diet for inflammatory bowel disease. Using the best available evidence, the International Organization for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease developed the guideline for patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

“Making simple changes, one at a time, can lead to healthy lifestyle improvements,” said Cornell. “Pharmacists are in the ideal position to counsel on lifestyle in conjunction with medication education.”

For the full article, please visit www.pharmacytoday.org for the July 2020 issue of Pharmacy Today