Can Evidence-based Lifestyle Medicine Transform Healthcare? Paragon Private Health’s, Aruna Nathan, M.D. thinks so.
Local Physician Integrates Innovative Tactics Proven to Increase Patient Health & Wellness
Washington, D.C. (February 05, 2020) – A relatively new concept, Lifestyle Medicine, is reinforcing the importance and potential of lifestyle choices in improving and sustaining health and even possibly reversing chronic conditions. Dr. Aruna Nathan, an established Paragon Private Health internal medicine doctor, was one of the first and is currently one of only eight ABLM/ACLM Certified Diplomate Lifestyle Medicine doctors in the state of Maryland. Convinced that a shift in lifestyle choices could dramatically help her patients, Dr. Nathan moved to integrate the science-backed principles of Lifestyle Medicine into her Kensington, Maryland practice. Hallmarks of this approach include a predominantly plant-based diet, adequate sleep, stress management, consistent physical activity, and other non-drug strategies.
In addition to traditional medicine, Dr. Nathan implements a unique cutting-edge approach to patient care including cooking classes and mindfulness instruction, as well as counseling patients on strategies to increase fitness and reduce stress. As a result, she is seeing increased patient wellness and measurable benefits including weight loss, reduced cholesterol, fewer allergic reactions, and more.
“On average, a physician receives less than five hours of nutrition education each year of medical school, myself included. While many seek this information elsewhere, it can be difficult to incorporate changes in ways that make sense for daily practice,” she explains. Dr. Nathan has dedicated office space to a model kitchen where patients can learn healthy recipes and collaborate with others about making smarter food choices. This innovation is bridging the gap between medical expertise and lifestyle advocacy so patients receive more comprehensive care.
She teaches patients to view food as fuel both in content and timing. “Eat two nutritious meals a day, and try to have lentils and greens once a day,” she explains. In addition, she says most middle aged adults can follow a 12-hour fast, mirroring their circadian rhythm. Beyond achieving a healthy weight at a time when nearly 72% of adults are overweight or obese, a healthy diet is proven to increase cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of stroke.
This novel approach to patient care targets wellness and promotes healthy habits, and it potentially could have financial savings as well. “Roughly 80% of healthcare spending in the United States is directly related to the treatment of conditions resulting from poor lifestyle choices,” said Dr. Nathan. “These include many of the most preventable conditions such as obesity, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, many types of cancer, osteoporosis and type 2 diabetes.”
So rather than just treating problems, Dr. Nathan’s Lifestyle Medicine approach is preventive in nature and is equipping her patients with the tools to live longer, healthier, happier lives through scientifically proven approaches to health.
Another key area – mindfulness training – is taught on-site in a dedicated Mindfulness Space. Dr. Nathan encourages patients to unplug and slow down, retiring screens at least 60-90 minutes before bedtime. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the blue light from screens “can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin, increase alertness, and reset the body’s internal clock (or circadian rhythm) to a later schedule.” Dr. Nathan also advises breathing exercises, mindfulness, praying, singing, and starting each day by thoughtfully setting goals which helps achieve structure, meaning, and reasons to be happy in our busy lives.
In implementing these lifestyle choices, Dr. Nathan recommends simplifying goals to increase achievability, commitment, and ultimately success. “When you make dramatic lifestyle changes, it’s important to be monitored and safe,” she adds. Over time, she says it is absolutely possible to improve your health in many ways by being more mindful about lifestyle.
About Aruna Nathan, M.D.
Dr. Nathan is board certified in Internal Medicine and has practiced in Montgomery County, Maryland since 1998. In 2017, she became one of the first physicians in the country to be board certified in Lifestyle Medicine, a new specialty that uses evidence-based lifestyle therapeutic approaches to prevent, treat and often reverse chronic diseases.
Her accolades include the Patients’ Choice Award and Compassionate Doctor Recognition, America’s Top Physicians from the Consumer Research Council of America, The Leading Physicians of the World (International Association of Internists), and Top 10 Internists by the American Registry. Also, nominated and selected by her peers, Dr. Nathan was recognized as a Top Doctor for the past three years by Washingtonian magazine. In 2019, Dr. Nathan partnered with Paragon Private Health to launch a personalized care program, known as concierge medicine, and is currently accepting new patients into her practice.
Paragon creates, implements and manages customized concierge medicine programs for independent physicians throughout the Unites States. It is the only concierge medicine company named to the prestigious Inc. magazine list of the 5,000 fastest growing private companies in America in consecutive years – 2018 and 2019.