The human body has an extraordinary ability to maintain its own health when provided with the right amounts of what it needs to be healthy and avoid or remove those things that aren’t healthy. Lifestyle medicine works to understand the specific causes of dysfunction by uncovering underlying causes of symptoms and developing plans of action to address the major factors causing it.
While the names we give chronic diseases might depend on the organ system or tissue involved, chronic dysfunction is usually caused by the presence of harmful lifestyle signals that overwhelm the tissues’ ability to self-heal or the absence of healthy lifestyle signals that promote tissue recovery. When healthy lifestyle signals are promoted, it enables tissues to defend itself from disease and builds what is called physiological resilience and metabolic reserve.
Physiological resilience is the ability of each cell or organ system to withstand what it needs to to perform necessary daily challenges throughout the body and snap back to its original status ready to take on the next challenge. For example, quickly getting rid of excess sugar after a meal. When inappropriate or overwhelming situations overpower our physiological resilience, it becomes slower and/or less likely to snap back to normal. For example due to years even decades of excessive sugar intake, impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance occurs which causes a person over time to slowly lose their ability to return to a normal fasting glucose level.
Metabolic reserve is the stored-up “reserves” available to put into place during situations when physiological resilience is challenged and needs to be maintained or rebuilt. As with any reserve, it is vulnerable to depletion, while also capable of being resupplied and strengthened. for example insulin sensitivity and pancreatic beta cell function (make, store, and release insulin) are prime examples of metabolic reserve activity. By the time a person is diagnosed with type two diabetes, more than half of this reserve is depleted creating insulin resistance.
Lifestyle medicine promotes prevention but understands that many people are already well down the road of disease and dysfunction, where prevention seems too late. Therefore, not only lifestyle and dietary changes are promoted but necessary therapies, and even rescue medication, is needed to promote healthy signals to the body again.
On the subject of rescue intervention, this is the goal of the modern medical system in the form of drugs, surgeries, etc. to prevent organ damage, major disability or death. The problem comes in when rescue intervention is used to maintain chronic conditions. A person’s metabolic reserve and physiological resilience are not necessarily improved. In many cases, more depletion occurs.
Lifestyle Medicine works to understand the specific causes of dysfunction in a given individual, then develops steps to recuperate, and thrive by building up the metabolic reserve and physiologic resilience. Many people experience marked improvements in longstanding symptoms and diseases many times just with simple changes to diet, lifestyle, gastrointestinal health, stress management, and environmental exposures. Many times, changes in one area creates positive effects on multiple levels.
If you notice symptoms that interfere with your daily life, CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment or call Tracey Mixon at 512-643-3631 to arrange to have your metabolic reserve and physiological resilience evaluated.