Social Determinants Contribute 80% to Overall Health
We commonly assume that if we’re not well, medicine can make us better. The advances in medical science and pharmaceuticals have indeed saved many lives, especially when you consider antibiotics and vaccines. For diabetes, insulin and oral hypoglycemics (like Metformin and Sulfonylureas) have not only saved lives, but have also played critical roles in maintaining quality of life. But even these important advances in medicine have not, and cannot alone, reverse disease.
Clinicians agree that medicines contribute 20% to overall disease, but social determinants (largely lifestyle factors, community, and environment) can make 80% of the difference.* Diet and exercise are both important, as the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) study found in 2002. The extensive clinical study concluded that those receiving intensive counseling on effective diet, exercise, and behavior modification reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 58%. For more on the study design and results, visit https://www.diabetesprevention.pitt.edu/index.php/for-the-public/diabetes-prevention-program-dpp/
Beyond diet and exercise, factors such as sleep and stress can also have profound effects on health. More than 18 million people have sleep apnea, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Many of us have never been tested for sleep apnea, and go undiagnosed for decades. Sleep apnea can worsen diabetes and increase the risk of developing diabetes or other serious health problems, according to Daniel Einhorn, MD, FACP, FACE. Treating sleep apnea can improve the quality of life and improve overall health.
No one can eliminate the life circumstances that cause stress. But learning to cope with stress more effectively can have enormous benefits. Techniques such as meditation, biofeedback, and tapping (or emotional freedom technique) can have profound effects on quality of life, outlook, and well-being.
Having social connections and support during difficult times, or a group of people who face similar health struggles can also contribute greatly to wellness. Community is a powerful factor to wellness.
Vavici surrounds doctors and patients with resources to vetted lifestyle programs, and enables the doctor to investigate each factor and recommend a customized care plan for each patient. The doctor enhances his/her existing practice while incorporating a root-cause approach to patient care.
*Source: National Academy of Sciences, https://nam.edu/social-determinants-of-health-101-for-health-care-five-plus-five/