How Personalised Lifestyle Management Solutions Are Transforming Lives

Recent research has unravelled that epigenetic changes are often heritable, which means that the positive changes you take before you become a parent can be inherited by your future generations too

This is the age of super-specialisation in everything, including medicine. In earlier days, you had physicians and surgeons. Now you have cardiologists, interventional cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and cardiac surgeons. This approach has its own obvious advantages, and some lesser known disadvantages.

I recently heard an anecdote about a colleague’s relative. She was in her early 60s and a long diagnosed diabetic. When she recently developed breathlessness, she was taken to a renowned super-speciality hospital, where the casualty physicians suspected heart issues, and referred her to a cardiologist. 

After a customary ECG, she was diagnosed as having the condition of heart failure. However, as a heart attack had still not occurred, she was stabilised soon, within days, on medicines. But soon, before her discharge itself, her skin developed some rashes.

The young cardiologist who was attending to her, promptly referred her to the hospital’s dermatologist, as is the correct protocol followed these days. But when this dermatologist, a very senior and renowned doctor, came and inspected her rashes the next day, he asked for her detailed medical history and carefully went through all her recent bloodwork. And her family was in for a shock. “I think both her kidneys have failed, I will ask the nephrologist to check on her,” he said before leaving.

And that was it. Both her kidneys had failed, and while she was enrolled for a transplant and awaiting it, and while undergoing one of her dialysis rounds, a couple of weeks later, she unfortunately succumbed to a heart attack. 

The moment I heard this episode what struck me most deeply was the fact that many doctors including her family physician, the casualty doctor, the cardiologist treating her, and the core specialists doing the visiting rounds on her, had all missed the kidney situation in this long diagnosed diabetic patient! Why? Simply because, they were not treating her holistically. They were just treating specific parts of her that were their responsibility. And where did that veteran dermatologist excels? Being an old school guy, he didn’t stop at her skin rashes or its most probable causes like an infection or a drug side effect. Instead, he probed deeper, and soon realised that the rashes were due to a probable kidney failure. That is the power of holistic medicine.

To be more accurate, that is the power of holistic principles when they are just applied to treatment protocols. True holistic medicine is much more wide and encompasses the mind, body and spirit realms. Surprised? Need not be, as modern medical research in itself is benchmarked against placebos or dummy sugar pills, which is clearly in the mind-spirit-belief realms.

For a new medicine to be approved by the drug regulators as effective for a specific condition, it has to pass the gold standard of randomised double blind placebo controlled clinical trials. What this means is that patients in a clinical trial for a potential remedy are randomised into two groups, and one group is given the remedy and the other group is given the placebo or dummy sugar pills. At the half-way mark of the trial, the assignment of the groups and the pills are also reversed. And the double-blind means that neither the patients nor the doctors know which pill is being given to which patient at any time!

You may wonder why there is such an elaborate screening for a new medicine’s approval. It is just because most physician prescribed placebos are nearly 50 per cent effective, and hence for a real pill to be deemed truly effective it has to prove that it is way more effective than a placebo. 

What these all point out is the need for treating the individual as a whole, or holistically, and not as his or her individual parts. For instance, a potential cardiac patient can benefit from a controlled diet, a specific set of exercises, special yoga postures, beneficial breathing routines, optimum sleep and most importantly, powerful meditations and affirmations for de-stressing. Such lifestyle modifications can keep his heart disease risk at bay.

But who or what can decide which all are the beneficial lifestyle modifications for each person? Here too, science has devised a gold standard, which is lifestyle modifications personalized as per each person’s genetic and metabolic risk factors. Such geno-metabolic lifestyle modifications are so powerful that they are found to be epigenetic or capable of overriding the influence of even the genetic risk factors without actually making any changes in the genes. Solutions like EPLIMO deliver this unique value to users.

All should embrace such epigenetic lifestyle modifications for yet another reason too. Recent research has unravelled that epigenetic changes are often heritable, which means that the positive changes you take before you become a parent can be inherited by your future generations too.

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