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Health Coaching and Chronic Illness

Updated: Nov 16, 2023


health coaching chronic illness

Health coaching is effective at supporting its clients to improve or reverse chronic illness and health conditions. From a clinical perspective coaching “results in clinically relevant improvements in multiple biomarker risk factors (including systolic and diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose, body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, and cardiorespiratory fitness) in diverse populations.” according to just one recent study. Gordon NF, Salmon RD, Wright BS, Faircloth GC, Reid KS, Gordon TL. Clinical Effectiveness of Lifestyle Health Coaching: Case Study of an Evidence-Based Program. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2016 Jul 7;11(2):153-166. doi: 10.1177/1559827615592351. PMID: 30202328; PMCID: PMC6125027.


What does this mean for long-term health? Ample research shows that medical conditions successfully addressed by coaching include:

  • Cardiovascular Disease

  • Chronic Obstructive Lung / Pulmonary Disease (COLD/ COPD)

  • Dementia

  • Diabetes, pre-diabetes

  • Hypertension, high blood pressure

  • Insomnia, sleep

  • Medication Compliance

  • Obesity & Weight Loss

  • Peripheral Artery Disease

Match these conditions to the leading causes of death in Singapore (below) and we see where health coaching can play an effective role in public health:

  1. Cancer

  2. Ischaemic heart diseases (typically the result of coronary artery disease)

  3. Pneumonia

  4. Cerebrovascular diseases (including stroke)

  5. Hypertensive diseases (including hypertensive heart disease)

  6. External causes of morbidity and mortality

  7. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome & nephrosis (kidney diseases)

  8. Other heart diseases

  9. Urinary tract infection

  10. Diabetes Mellitus (type 2 diabetes)


Addressing the Root Causes of Ill Health


Coaching is a process, its strength lies in being able to address modifiable behaviours personal to the client. Coaching supports the adoption and implementation of key healthy behaviours that many people struggle with by themselves in the long-term. For example:

  • the uptake of healthy diets and eating practices

  • regular physical activity (including cardiovascular and strength training)

  • improved weight management

  • risk avoidance (alcohol, smoking)

  • medication adherence

  • sleep improvement

  • stress reduction

  • work-life balance

  • mental, emotional and spiritual health, self-confidence

  • social connection

Note the holistic, whole person approach in the above list. This includes improving physical, mental and social wellbeing.


Coaching & Integrative Health


Health coaches can work alongside medical doctors, as part of an integrative healthcare system, or independently. A health coach does not replace a primary health practitioner, doctor or therapist. Once a suitable coach is found coaching can, however, successfully serve as a bridge between medical recommendations.


As ever, please talk to your doctor or medical practitioner most familiar with your medical history before implementing any changes in diet, exercise or lifestyle, especially if you are under treatment.


Many doctors advise "Eat healthily, exercise, lose weight and destress" and yet are only able to supply medication. Coaching takes the next step and supports the client with the creation or management of healthy lifestyle behaviours to address the root causes of ill health.

Health coaching is not a passive process. It requires the client to be ready to make and to adopt change.

Stay Healthy,

Alastair

 

Achieve Your Health Goals


Your health, physical – mental – social - is complex and affected by multiple factors within and outside of your control. Our consults and programmes address the whole person, the root causes of ill health and maximising your health, performance & vitality.

  • Take the first step. Contact us to arrange an introductory call, to discuss how we can support your journey to health. We are based in Singapore and work with clients globally.

  • Book a Whole Health Consult to assess, identify and prioritise key factors (known and unknown) that affect your health. And receive personalised recommendations on how to address them.

  • Want to put recommendations into action? Learn more about our programmes for individuals or teams.


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