Sickle cell patients can live normal lives devoid of crisis if they can only adopt healthy lifestyle in the management of the disorder, the Wife of Delta State Governor, Mrs Edith Okowa, has disclosed.
She insisted that sickle cell disease is not a death sentence and could be properly managed through regular uptake of balance diet, avoiding alcohol and tobacco.”
Mrs Okowa stated this at the 2nd International Lifestyle Medicine Conference, organised by the Society of Lifestyle Medicine of Nigeria (SOLONg), in Abuja.
She practically demonstrated her assertion when she presented a married women in her late 30s to the gathering and introduced her as a sickle cell patient who is living without crisis.
According to her: “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 crisis. They have to drink at least two litres of water daily.
“Not only sickle cell patients, people should 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.”
Speaking, the President of SOLONg, Dr Ifeoma Monye, explained that 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 night time sleep management, social support, avoidance of harmful substances and environmental exposure are used to prevent and reverse chronic diseases.
“It focus on recognising 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 noted.
While delivering a keynote address, the President of British Society of Lifestyle Medicine, Dr Rob Lawson, disclosed that key contributory factors responsible for chronic diseases were market regulation, social inequality, environmental pollution and low nutrient food.
He noted the United Nations (UN) has targeted to reduce global premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by 33 per cent by the year 2030.
He reiterated the 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.