Mr Ravijv Bajekal, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Total Orthopaedics describes how, as a result of his health deteriorating, decided to turn to a more natural approach to medicine and improved his concerning health conditions using Lifestyle Medicine. As a result of studying this new approach and becoming a qualified Lifestyle Medicine practitioner along with his wife, he now adds it to his offering at Total Orthopaedics. He explains,
“Two years ago, I was driving to a friend’s house a few days before Christmas. My wife had fallen asleep next to me. It was only 8 in the evening when I realised I had nearly driven into a lamppost which I had not seen until the last second! My wife woke up and realised that second that there was something terribly wrong with my vision.
A month later I had surgery for a bilateral cataract which had developed very rapidly. I found out I was prediabetic. I had already experienced some of its well-known complications such as frozen shoulder, cataract and moving into the obese category for my Body Mass Index (BMI). That was when I knew I had to make some radical changes in my lifestyle.
When I looked up the literature published, I was as confused as my own patients often are! Is a calorie restricted diet with low Carbs good for you, such as variations of the keto or Atkins diet? How much exercise is good for you? How to improve your sleep quality? I found that I had more questions than answers on how to improve my overall health.
Luckily, my wife (a Gynaecologist) of 32 years was as motivated as I was in seeking a way forward. We eventually turned to Lifestyle Medicine and proceeded to study it professionally, whilst holding our regular medical jobs. I then decided to put the answers to good use immediately on a personal level.
I lost 25kg (close to 4 stone in weight) and returned to a normal BMI. The prediabetes has reversed. I feel energetic all day and have a zest for life that I seemed to have lost before.
Lifestyle medicine is a relatively new approach to the management of chronic diseases. It is widely recognised that conditions such as Coronary Heart Disease, Hypertension, Type 2 Diabetes etc. are preventable and can be reversed or ‘cured’ by changes in lifestyle. These common conditions are in fact caused largely by lifestyle choices and especially by dietary excesses.
The concept that lifestyle affects health is not new. Hippocrates said many centuries ago, ‘let food be thy medicine.’
This concept is widely agreed among health professionals, but it is behavioural and lifestyle changes that are often difficult for patients to implement. Small changes take time to show improvement, just as it takes time to develop these conditions – they don’t happen overnight.
However, there is a huge push within healthcare to encourage lifestyle changes. There are many public health and wellbeing initiatives from NHS and Public Health England, which support the push for a focus on prevention in the newly published NHS Ten Year Plan.