Our current medical paradigm is failing in the treatment of chronic disease. Despite massive spending on screening, medical research, and pharmaceutical development, rates of chronic diseases have continued to climb. One in two Americans now has a chronic disease, and one in four has multiple chronic diseases. If you're one of these Americans struggling with a chronic illness, you may have noticed that the conventional way of treating these diseases is based on suppressing symptoms with drugs and managing the disease after it has already occurred rather than preventing and reversing disease by addressing its underlying causes. To use an analogy, imagine you get a rock stuck in your shoe, and it makes your foot hurt. If you look for help in the current medical system, you may get a description of foot pain along with directions to the nearest drugstore for some extra-strength ibuprofen. Sure, ibuprofen would help to reduce the pain. But wouldn’t it be better just to take off your shoe and dump out the rock?
The "rocks" that are driving chronic disease are overwhelmingly environmental and behavioral—poor diet, lack of physical activity, sleep deprivation, exposure to toxins, stress, and many more. Although our genes do play a role in predisposing us to certain diseases, recent research has shown that almost 85 percent of the risk of disease comes down to these environmental and behavioral factors. Health coaches are ideally positioned and trained to support you in changing your diet, lifestyle, and behavior—which is the single most important step you can take to address chronic disease.