A chronic illness is a long-lasting health condition that requires consistent medical attention to control; however, it cannot be cured. Some examples include diabetes, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), arthritis, and other conditions. Most of these conditions progress gradually and sometimes are not noticed until signs begin to appear or there are abnormal medical test results.
Suffering from a chronic or long-term illness can be a challenge. It can disturb your life in several ways. You may often be in pain and feel tired. It might impact your physical abilities, appearance, and independence.
It is not abnormal for individuals experiencing a chronic illness to feel isolated, angry, embarrassed, and anxious. If you have recently been diagnosed with a chronic condition, you might feel like grieving your previous, healthy life before adapting to a new one.
Take charge and manage your illness before it rules you. For that, it is essential to have some strategies that help you deal with the chronic condition. Here are a few steps for you to follow if you are suffering from any illness.
1- Get Educated About Your Chronic Condition
Are you diagnosed with a serious condition? Do you know what has caused it? How to cope with that illness? What could be the treatment options?
Patients must learn about their condition as much as possible when it comes to chronic illness diagnosis. Individuals will only be able to manage their illness well when they have enough education about it.
For example, people suffering from the deadly and rare disease mesothelioma may need to know its cause (exposure to asbestos), its symptoms, and treatment options. They might even get help from sites like mesotheliomahope.com to obtain up-to-date and accurate information about their condition. These websites provide helpful information and resources on mesothelioma specialists, treatment options, and financial options.
2- Don’t Forget to Take Your Medication on Time
Although taking too many pills can be daunting, taking them at the right time and recommended dosage is vital. Your doctor may have provided specific instructions like taking a particular medicine before or after a meal, so check instructions properly.
If you are experiencing difficulty remembering to take medicines on time, try setting an alarm or reminder, sticking a note in your bedroom, putting the medicines next to you, or asking your partner or family member to remind you.
Consult your specialist at least twice a year to review your medication. Also, don’t ever take any medication except the prescribed ones.
3- Manage relationships
When struggling with a chronic illness, it is important to manage your relationships effectively. You might find out that you have limited time and energy for socializing.
Some people around you may not understand your challenges and might bring more stress to your life. Make smart decisions on where to concentrate your energy and time. Focus on people who are more important to you. Communicate with them your worries to help relieve your stress. Help your loved ones understand what you need in order to deal with the disease and stress related to it and how they can support you in this matter.
4- Maintain A Healthy Diet
Making healthy nutrition choices can be an effective way to manage your chronic condition, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, etc. For example, decreasing sodium intake and focusing on foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lean meats, and fish can help reduce and maintain your blood pressure. Individuals suffering from diabetes must focus on consuming foods that are low in sugar and high in fiber to help manage their blood sugar levels.
A healthy diet can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which is beneficial for lowering the risk of further complications.
5- Track Your Health
When diagnosed with a chronic illness, keeping a check on your health and taking responsibility for your care is necessary. Do not leave everything to your healthcare provider. One way to take care of yourself is to identify any changes in your body and track them. If you have diabetes, learn to check your blood sugar. If you are diagnosed with hypertension, keep monitoring your blood pressure.
This kind of monitoring can help you spot potentially harmful variations in your body and protect you against life-threatening situations.
6- Incorporate Exercise into Routine
Part of the treatment for any chronic illness involves changes in your lifestyle, including exercising more. Regular exercise allows you to manage disease symptoms and boost your health.
Practicing aerobic exercises like running, walking, and riding a bicycle, helps you breathe faster and enhance blood flow, which, in turn, benefits your heart health.
Flexibility exercises are great for your joints to function at their best. Strength training may help increase your muscle strength, provide joint stability, and reduce illness-related declines in muscle strength.
However, before starting any exercise, consult your healthcare provider about the appropriate ones for your chronic condition.
7- Building A Team Can Help
Your doctor might not have all the answers to your problems related to your chronic condition. Seek help from real experts. A dietician might be a better source for providing you with the best nutrition information. You will get the best solutions for your troubles related to movement and exercise from a physiotherapist.
8- Organize All of Your Essential Medical Documents
Having all your documents related to chronic condition diagnosis organized can be incredibly helpful for future reference. It includes any test reports, prescriptions, and discharge summaries. You can organize these documents in various ways, including hard copies, scanned copies on your computer, or photographs on your phone.
9- Take care of your mental health
A chronic disease diagnosis can take a toll on your mental health. When you are stressed out all day and night thinking about how illness has affected your life, your health may worsen. One of the best ways to deal with a chronic condition is to free your mind from worries, stress, and anxiety.
Employ stress reduction techniques, such as mindfulness and breathing exercises, or do something that relaxes you, like reading a book, painting, talking to a friend, or watching a movie.
A chronic disease lasts a long time, if not forever, and may worsen with time. These conditions can be managed and controlled with consistent care but not cured completely. Some common types include heart disease, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, and cancer. Living with a chronic illness can impose many restrictions upon your everyday activities. It can be stressful and challenging. However, with some right strategies, you may be able to cope with your chronic illness better and protect your health against further damage.