Mature Wellness Initiative

Deerfield’s Health and Wellness Committee kicked off a Mature Wellness Initiative in the fall of 2020. The first 2021 Mature Wellness Speaker Series will feature via Zoom, Dr. Brian Asbill, Asheville cardiologist and Lifestyle Medicine physician. 

• Graduated cum laude from Davidson College in 1990 with a BS in Biology. 

• Received MD degree from the Medical University of SC in 1994. 

• Completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at University of Virginia in 1997. 

• Completed his cardiology fellowship training at MUSC in 2001 and subsequently joined Asheville Cardiology Associates where he served as an invasive, non-interventional cardiologist until 2020. 

• While working at ACA, he additionally completed board certification in clinical lipidology in 2008, received his certificate in plant-based nutrition from eCornell in 2013 and completed board certification in lifestyle medicine in 2017. 

• Currently he serves as the medical director of the cardiac rehabilitation program for Mission Health and has also co-founded Ruckus Health whose vision is “To support people holistically in uncovering their innate ability to live in emotional, mental, physical and spiritual balance.” 

Dr. Asbill found that too many of the people who came to him needing surgery were there because of serious heart ailments caused by lifestyle choices. He felt the evidence was so clear and con­vincing that he made a decision to leave his surgical practice and focus his career on the emerging discipline of lifestyle medicine. He became the first person in the world to become certified in Lifestyle Medicine.

What is lifestyle medicine?

Lifestyle medicine is the evidence-based practice of helping individuals adopt and sustain healthy behaviors that affect health and quality of life. It does so by focusing on the root causes of disease, such as diet, exercise, sleep and stress.

How does lifestyle medicine differ from primary care?

Lifestyle medicine practitioners focus on things like nutrition, exercise, tobacco cessation, stress management, sleep and relationships as the foundation of good health. This method stresses these modifications over pills and procedures as preventive measures whenever possible. Primary care involves initial care for a patient, and then coordination of their comprehensive care. Dr. Asbill believes strongly that comprehensive care should incorporate the principles that are foundational to lifestyle medicine. Therefore, primary care is really the ideal environment for introducing patients to these principles. Lifestyle medicine is a tool that can be used by primary care physicians, specialists and other allied health professionals, and all should be well-versed in how to incorporate its principles in order to support patients in a more comprehensive way.

What types of conditions and problems can be treated through lifestyle medicine?

About 75-80 percent of chronic disease is related to poor lifestyle choices, and 75-80 percent of the cost of healthcare in this country is for the treatment of chronic disease. Those patients who benefit most from a lifestyle-focused treatment plan are those with several lifestyle medicine-rated diseases, including obesity, hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. People are often surprised to find that a lifestyle-focused treatment plan is effective in treatment of conditions like early-stage dementia, certain cancers, some autoimmune disorders, arthritis and erectile dysfunction.

What kind of results can be seen in patients?

Dr. Asbill has seen some truly life-changing results in patients! Patients who have been treated with a number of different medications for their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, for example, have lost weight and seen dramatic improvements in all of these metrics. Many, if not most, of them have been able to reduce their need for multiple medications, and some of them have been able to discontinue their medications altogether.

What motivated Dr. Asbill to pursue lifestyle medicine?

He was drawn to lifestyle medicine because so many of his patients had the same collection of chronic diseases that ultimately lead to cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Those chronic diseases associated with it include obesity, diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia and tobacco abuse.