Lifestyle is the Best Medicine

Written By Dr. Lance Broy, Holzer Family Medicine

We have all heard the saying "laughter is the best medicine." A good laugh is great for the body and soul, but this is just one aspect of "the best medicine." A healthy lifestyle not only prolongs your life, but it also makes you feel more alive. Studies have shown those who eat healthy and exercise regularly have better sleep patterns, less anxiety and depression, more energy, and less risk for chronic illness overall.

We have had amazing advances in the care we can provide as medical professionals, but the best medicine is prevention via a healthy lifestyle. I would much rather help prevent you from getting an illness or disease than treat you after it has occurred. The current top five leading causes of death in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are:

  • Heart disease: 655,381 deaths per year
  • Cancer: 599,274 deaths per year
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 167,127 deaths per year
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 159,486 deaths per year
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 147,810 deaths per year

Let’s focus on the top two: heart disease and cancer. We can do heart catheterizations and open-heart surgery. We continue to research the best treatment options for different types of cancer. These procedures and treatment options are truly amazing and medical advances need to continue, but if we could decrease the amount of obesity and smoking along with increasing daily exercise, we could have a significant impact on the number of deaths each year in the US.

You do not have to make major life-altering changes like going vegan or training for a marathon. Every little change, such as decreasing the amount of pop you drink or taking a 10-minute walk during your lunch break, can count in a BIG way over time. Small positive lifestyle changes tend to build on each other leading to more significant changes.

Sometimes even if we “do all the right things,” it may not work out our way. I know living a healthy lifestyle does not guarantee a long healthy life with no illness or injury, but if you play the odds, a healthy lifestyle is the only way to reduce your risks. That way you won’t have to come see me too often.


Lance Broy, MDLance Broy, MD, Family Medicine, sees patients at Holzer Athens - 2131 East State Street, Athens, Ohio. Dr. Broy received his Doctor of Medicine at West Virginia University School of Medicine in Morgantown, West Virginia, and completed his residency at Grant Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio.

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