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Live Your Best Life With Lifestyle Medicine

Live Your Best Life With Lifestyle Medicine

Looking for the right prescription to help you achieve your best health? An appointment with a lifestyle medicine physician can help guide and motivate you to reverse chronic disease, reach your health goals and live your best life.

Lifestyle medicine focuses on six areas or pillars:

  • Food: More whole, plant-based foods, and less refined and processed foods, meat, dairy and eggs.
  • Movement: Increasing daily physical activity to at least 30 minutes per day.
  • Sleep: Ensuring regular high-quality sleep.
  • Mindfulness: Lowering stress and anxiety through healthy coping techniques like exercise, meditation or deep breathing.
  • Cessation: Quitting tobacco products and excess alcohol intake.

“We’ve learned over the past year and a half how much more susceptible those with chronic diseases are to complications from COVID-19,” said Courtney Erickson-Adams, MD, a board certified family medicine physician who specializes in lifestyle medicine and sports medicine at Holland Hospital Family Medicine – South Washington. “We also know that most of these conditions can be prevented, treated and sometimes even reversed by making healthier choices and following the six pillars of lifestyle medicine.”

So how can this distinct branch of medicine make a meaningful difference? Dr. Erickson-Adams has answers to some key questions:

What is your care philosophy when it comes to lifestyle medicine?

While I approach every patient differently, my singular goal is to help them achieve the highest quality of health possible. If they have a sports injury, I try to help them find a way to still safely be active. If it’s a family medicine patient who smokes cigarettes, I dig into why they are smoking in the first place and how their health could change dramatically if they quit. If it’s someone who’s confused with all of the conflicting information in the media on which diet is healthiest for them, I encourage them to start eating more plants and cut back on processed food and saturated fats.

Do you have any areas of particular interest?

Although I support all six pillars of lifestyle medicine, I'm particularly interested in:

  • Motiving people to quit smoking. This is the number one thing that someone can do to dramatically change their future risk of developing multiple different cancers, heart disease and stroke, as well as live a significantly better quality of life. The human body has a remarkable ability to repair itself, so it truly is never too late to quit!
  • Helping my patients find some sort of physical activity they enjoy and they’ll stick with long term. With my background in sports medicine, keeping the body moving is very near and dear to my heart. Plus, with the plethora of health benefits that come with physical activity, it’s like taking a magical pill that improves every health measure.

Does insurance cover lifestyle medicine services?

I always recommend that my patients check with their insurance provider first, but most insurance companies are coming around to the fact that it’s much cheaper to pay for preventive health care like lifestyle medicine instead of paying for chronic medical conditions. Some of the supportive features of lifestyle medicine, such as nutrition consults, sleep consults and medical exercise consults are also covered by insurance.

Do you have any other words of advice for living healthier?

When my patients tell me that making lifestyle changes is really hard, I agree with them. That said, I also tell them you still have a choice on which path to take. You can either deal with the difficult change of quitting smoking, adding physical activity into your life, incorporating five servings of fruit and vegetables daily into your meals, prioritizing good sleep, working on stress management, and deepening your social connections, OR you can choose the difficult life of chronic joint pain, brain fog, endless medications, multiple procedures and no energy to enjoy time with those you love.

I also make sure my patients understand they don't need to modify everything immediately. The most sustainable way of modifying lifestyle habits is making a small change in one aspect and then letting the positive "side effects" snowball into the next positive change.

By focusing on nutrition, exercise, sleep and mental health, Holland Hospital's Lifestyle Medicine physicians, Courtney Erickson-Adams, MD, and Tyler Murphy, MD, can help you live your best life. For an appointment or to learn more, call (616) 392-8035 or (616) 394-3344.

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  • Courtney Erickson-Adams, MD

    Courtney Erickson-Adams, MD

    Courtney Erickson-Adams, MD is a board-certified family medicine, sports medicine and lifestyle medicine physician at Holland Hospital Family Medicine - South Washington. She works closely with Holland Hospital high school athletic trainers as their medical director, ensuring the safety and health of area athletes. She believes in the principles of Lifestyle Medicine which prioritizes preventing and treating (and even reversing) disease with the food you eat, how you sleep, how you move your body and how you manage stress. Dr. Erickson-Adams' goal is to help you avoid or reduce medications whenever possible and help you to lead your happiest and healthiest life! For an appointment call (616) 392-8035 or hollandhospital.org/fmsouthwashington Courtney Erickson-Adams, MD

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