If you have recently been diagnosed or have been living with a chronic condition for some time, it can be challenging to comprehend your symptoms and how best to manage them. But understanding and managing your chronic condition will improve how you feel, give back control over your life, and reduce complications.
Healthcare professionals play a significant role in patient-centered disease management, but ultimately it’s the patient who makes the ultimate decisions. It is essential that they be given control over their care and that you actively support them throughout their journey.
What is a chronic condition?
Chronic conditions are long-term illnesses that may be difficult to understand and manage. They may result in physical, social, and emotional discomfort for patients.
Chronic conditions are unfortunately all too common and often preventable. By adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors such as eating nutritious foods, getting adequate exercise, and abstaining from tobacco use, you can help avoid developing chronic illnesses and manage them once they arise.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2014), chronic conditions account for nearly 50% of deaths in America. They also represent one of the primary sources of healthcare spending within our nation’s borders.
Chronic conditions are prevalent worldwide, affecting people of all ages and ethnic groups as well as those with various economic circumstances. Not only do they impact quality of life and productivity, but they are also one of the leading causes of disability and death worldwide – in both developed and developing nations alike.
What are the symptoms of a chronic condition?
Chronic conditions can present with unpredictable symptoms that make life difficult. They may appear and disappear at random or flare up at certain times of day.
People living with chronic illnesses may experience mood disorders like depression and anxiety. They may also have sleep disturbances and difficulty eating.
Additionally, some may experience a loss of interest or enjoyment in activities they once found enjoyable.
Some individuals struggle to manage their daily lives, whether it’s work or social withdrawal symptoms such as withdrawal from friends and family.
Chronic diseases include cardiovascular (heart attacks and strokes), cancer, chronic respiratory illnesses, diabetes and HIV/AIDS – these illnesses being the leading causes of disability and death worldwide.
How can I manage my chronic condition?
Management of a chronic condition involves understanding and controlling your symptoms. This requires an integrated approach that takes into account all aspects of health, environment, and genetics.
Most chronic illnesses can be avoided through healthy lifestyle changes, such as eating well and getting enough exercise. Patients who make these adjustments tend to feel better and live longer.
To effectively manage a chronic condition, it’s important to become your own advocate. This means being willing to speak up with doctors and other medical professionals in order to receive the care you require.
You can join a support group for people suffering from the same illness as you to share experiences and receive advice. Many hospitals and organizations host these gatherings.
Gain as much knowledge about your illness and its impact on daily life as possible. Doing this will give you control over the situation, as well as give you the information needed to maximize the effectiveness of treatments.
How can I get help to manage my chronic condition?
Chronic conditions can have a major impact on your physical and mental wellbeing, as well as hindering you from doing the things you enjoy most. Furthermore, they increase the likelihood of developing other health issues or complications.
Though you may feel overwhelmed by a chronic condition, there are ways to manage your symptoms and enhance quality of life. Speaking with your doctor, finding the appropriate treatment, and adopting healthy lifestyle habits can all help you take control of this illness.
Your doctor can usually provide you with a management plan that outlines the steps both of you must take to manage your illness. This may include eating a balanced diet, staying physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking and minimizing alcohol use.
Additionally, seeking emotional support from your healthcare team and family or friends is essential. This is especially pertinent if you have a history of depression or stress; having such resources available can help keep you positive throughout difficult times.