Mrs. Edith Okowa, wife of Delta State governor, on Friday, advised patients living with Sickle Cell disease to adopt a healthy lifestyle in the management of the disorder and to stay well.
Okowa gave the advice in her address at the opening of a two-day 2nd International Lifestyle Medicine Conference in Abuja, organized by the Society of Lifestyle Medicine of Nigeria (SOLONg).
According to her, sickle cell disorder is not a death sentence as it can be prevented and managed through healthy living by taking a balanced diet.
“The patients should choose a diet that focuses on vegetables, fruits, and grains. They provided the patients with folic acid and other necessary vitamins needed for them to stay healthy.
“They must take plenty of water because dehydration is a risk factor for them to have a crisis. They have to drink at least two liters of water daily.
“ Not only sickle cell patients but people should also practice water therapy in the morning, taking a bottle of water first thing in the morning.
“Exercise also improves the overall wellbeing of the patients but strenuous exercise is not encouraged and adequate sleep is very necessary.
“ You should know that you don’t have business taking alcohol and tobacco if you want to stay healthy.’’
Okowa, Founder of O5 Initiative, an NGO which focuses on creating awareness and advocacy for Sickle Cell disorder, said the organisation had recorded immense success through promoting a healthy lifestyle.
In addition, Okowa advised parents, relations, and friends of the patients to show them love and support them to manage stress.
In his keynote address, Dr. Rob Lawson, President of British Society of Lifestyle Medicine, said the professionals acknowledged the upstream determinants of non-communicable diseases, created by humans at this age of chronic disease.
Lawson, also Board Member, International Board of Lifestyle Medicine, said the key contributory factors responsible for chronic diseases were market regulation, social inequality, environmental pollution, and low nutrient food.
According to him, the UN General Assembly has set an ambitious target to reduce global premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by 33 percent by the year 2030.
“The chief means of doing this, it says, are prevention and treatment. This sounds a bit life Lifestyle Medicine does it not?’’
Lawson said that the solution was in adopting realistic and healthy approaches.
The official said it also hinged on the understanding of the concept of Grand Unifying Theory of chronic disease and the need to develop a framework for adoption and clinical practice of lifestyle medicine.
He said there was a need to develop an understanding between the modern environment and lifestyle and also do a comprehensive review of modifiable risk factors in all sectors of public life.
In her address, the President of SOLONg, Dr. Ifeoma Monye, said the society had been looking for ways to drive the message of adopting a healthy life lifestyle since its creation.
According to her, Lifestyle Medicine is a branch of evidence-based medicine in which comprehensive lifestyle changes are used to prevent, treat and reverse the progression of chronic diseases by addressing the underlying cause.
“Lifestyle changes including nutrition, physical activity, restorative nighttime sleep management, social support, avoidance of harmful substances and environmental exposure are used to prevent and reverse chronic diseases.
“It focuses on recognizing and treating the cause of the diseases, not just its symptoms, through what we can “lifestyle interventions”, which include nutrition, stress management, sleep, avoidance of harmful substances, physical activity, and social connectedness.’’
She said the association which started two years ago had grown to have a membership of over 50 members across the country.
The theme of the conference is“ “Lifestyle Medicine: Revolutionising the Management of Chronic Illnesses in the 21st Century”.
Edited & Vetted By: Donald Ugwu