Heart health, naturally
May 6th – May 12th 2013 is Naturopathic Medicine week
During this week, Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) teach their communities about Naturopathic Medicine, health promotion and disease prevention. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Heart disease and stroke are leading causes of death in Canada
Residents of Renfrew County are more likely to be overweight or obese, have higher blood pressure, smoke, drink, and eat fewer fruits and vegetables compared to the Ontario average. We also experience proportionately more deaths from heart disease and stroke.
Naturopathic Medicine and Heart Health
Last week, a study came out in the Canadian Medical Association Journal comparing routine medical care to routine medical care plus Naturopathic care for Canada Post Workers aged 25-65 years, at high risk of heart disease. The study lasted for one year, and the results are in. The group that received Naturopathic care in addition to routine medical care for one year lowered their risk of having a heart attack or stroke over the next ten years. For every hundred people in the Naturopathic group, three heart attacks or strokes over the next ten years would be prevented compared to the group that received only routine medical care. Participants in the naturopathic group also drastically decreased their chances of having high blood pressure, high blood sugar, extra body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Together, these increase one’s risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
What’s the magic pill you ask? Well, Naturopathic Medicine doesn’t really work that way. NDs provide patients with information to assist and encourage them to strengthen their health and reduce risks for disease. Patients are encouraged to take an active role in their healthcare. Not everyone with a specific condition gets the same treatment. We treat patients, not diseases. We also have access to a variety of unique tools and work with patients to achieve their health goals.
Four hours of naturopathic care over one year
In the study, patients in the naturopathic group received four hours of Naturopathic care spread out over the year. Treatment plans were individualized from a menu of treatment options based on which risk factors were present as well as patient preferences. What was on the menu? Individualized diet and lifestyle advice, specific foods to be included and excluded from one’s diet, evidence-based supplements, personalized exercise programs, counseling for weight loss, and even deep breathing.
Though our training as NDs is unique, one might argue that if doctors or dieticians had the chance to spend four hours with their patients over the year, the group receiving routine medical care would have fared better. One thing is for sure. Time spent with patients encouraging them to make permanent changes in their daily lives can have a big impact. Before making any diet, lifestyle, or other changes please speak with your healthcare provider for direct and individualized advice. Katrina Traikov is a Naturopathic Doctor working out of Active Chiropractic Family Health Centre, across from Home Depot in Pembroke.
Katrina Traikov ND – Originally published in the Pembroke Observer – Saturday May 11th, 2013Related to: CMAJ . Mediterranean diet . Naturopathic medicine week . study