February 18, 2019
Our health is sacred, and regardless of who we are and where we come from, improving quality of life and increasing longevity are common threads that tie us all together.
While we are all constantly exposed to stories about illness and disease, we are also inundated with advice from well-meaning medical practitioners and health professionals on how to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles.
But why is it that when some of us follow this advice, we still end up packing on weight and breaking out in a sweat getting up in the morning? Why is it that a certain diet will work for one person but not another?
The answer is simple. We all have a different combination of genes that can be switched on or off, depending on how we live our lives and it’s that combination that makes each one of us different. How active we are, what we eat and even how we sleep can activate or deactivate genetic sequences associated with not only health and wellness but also with illness and disease.
And what if we said to you that we now have the knowledge and technology to prevent the disease process in the first place?
Think for a moment about your phone. It is made up of two key elements – hardware and software. Hardware is the stuff that makes our phone work – it’s an integral part of what makes the phone what it is, it lets you make calls and send text messages. And then there’s software. This is what makes each phone different, it’s what transforms the phone into what you need it to be – the apps, the screen size, camera definition, battery life. Software is what we can constantly change and upgrade to suit our needs. Our bodies are exactly the same and are designed to be upgraded depending on what we need. But it is only recently that we have understood the processes, or the software, that allows our different genes to perform these upgrades.
We are all different. Our genetic blueprints are unique. Taking a generalised approach to improving health and wellbeing may work some of the time, but not all of the time. Precision health recognised this uniqueness, that one size does not fit all. The more exact our knowledge and understanding, the better we can deliver the upgrades our individual bodies need to improve our quality of life.
We now have this knowledge and the ability to take a deep dive into every individual’s genetic makeup and in doing so, deliver the ultimate upgrade – the ability to live a long, healthy life.
The future of health can now be truly re-engineered. With the help of precision medicine, we can match the right lifestyle advice to the right person, allowing individuals to be truly proactive in their health and wellbeing choices.
As health care professionals we have seen many fad diets come and go. Many of these diets are based on whole foods and are backed by sound nutritional science. So why is there still such a persisting problem with obesity and all of its related disease symptoms?Read more
A timely article in the New Zealand Herald this week addresses the current epidemic of burnout; a topic that we will explore across a three-part series.Read more
We continue on from last week’s introduction to burnout to looking for ways to identify it in ourselves and others.Read more