Ever heard of Green Prescriptions? These are scripts given by doctors or nurses with lifestyle modifications written on them. This is in sharp contrast to mainstream prescriptions usually given out for medications. Green prescriptions rely on alternate non-medical strategies that can influence your health. The reliance on drugs and other interventions is thus limited, or sometimes completely negated.
Green prescriptions are almost universally applicable in all aspects of health, spanning from entirely preventable conditions to even pre-existing chronic conditions. There are many preventable infectious diseases, like sexual infections (STIs), hygienic-related infections, or even malaria. These render themselves easily to green prescriptions.
Chronic conditions like cardio-metabolic diseases are also easily tamed with green scripts. If you practice common sense and self-judgment, you can easily write down your own green scripts, sparing your doctor the chore of prescribing any meds.
The commonest green prescription is related to physical activities. Physically active individuals inevitably accrue multiple health benefits. They have reduced rates of cardiovascular disease and type two diabetes, lower rates of some cancers, and optimal bone and muscular health.
Physical exercises go hand in hand with healthy eating habits. Healthy eating is a no-brainer, it’s mostly plant-based foods, lean and limited animal proteins, all mostly fresh rather than processed. A healthy diet combined with physical activities keeps your weight in check, limiting many chronic conditions.
You don’t really need your doctor to give you a green script to stop smoking, reduce excessive drinking and refrain from abusing other drugs. This you can already do by your own initiatives. Health benefits accrue almost immediately.
What about unsafe sex that puts you at risk of STIs and HIV? Surely you know what to do here, nobody ever needs a green script for condoms or abstention from reckless sexual habits. Better to play it green than to visit your doctor for a real medical prescription when symptoms abound.
Green prescriptions are usually combined with health education. Opportunities for health education are everywhere, and mostly free. Surf the net, watch and listen to health programmes on popular media, and read health articles (like this one).
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Your doctor is a living encyclopaedia, ask them about all aspects of your health, and what you should be doing (or not doing) in order to be even healthier.
Dr Alfred Murage is a Consultant Gynaecologist and Fertility Specialist.