People living with chronic illnesses are faced with a myriad of challenges that may prevent them from fully enjoying their lives. In this extract, you will learn a few chronic disease management tips.
Learn about your disease.
Conduct research about the causes, symptoms and management of your disease. Most chronic diseases develop gradually; hence, you should be in a position to predict the progress of your condition. Your GP can be an essential source of information. Ask for booklets and brochures discussing the symptoms and management of your illness.
Observe the doctor's appointments.
After diagnosis, your GP will ask that you visit him or her periodically. These visits are vital because they help the doctor get a better understanding of the disease's progress. As such, he or she can adjust medication to prevent the disease from getting worse.
Manage your expectations.
Discuss with your GP about what it means to have the disease. For instance, a person with HIV/AIDS has to observe extra caution when having sex and during child delivery to prevent mother to child transmission. On the other hand, a person diagnosed with arthritis should avoid strenuous activities.
Keep a healthy lifestyle.
Keeping a healthy lifestyle can help boost your immunity and prolong your life. Some proven ways of maintaining a healthy lifestyle are:
- Regular exercise such as aerobics, morning runs or a walk in the park.
- Observe a healthy diet, and consume lots of fruit and water.
- Avoid alcohol overindulgence and abuse of hard drugs.
- Reduce your salt and sugar intake.
Take care of your mental health.
Chronic illnesses can significantly affect your mental health. It is usual for patients to feel stressed about having to take medicine for the rest of their lives. Some of the treatment procedures are excruciating and can cause anxiety among patients. Your GP might recommend counselling sessions if he or she diagnoses you with depression. Be positive about life and focus on the things that matter most to you. A strong support network comprising of close friends and family can help improve your moods during the bad days.
Chronic illnesses such as cancer, COPD and arthritis can cause pain in affected body parts. Your GP might recommend pain killers or non-drug treatments such as physiotherapy. Mind relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation can also help you manage pain. Cognitive behavioural therapy will help change your perception of pain.
If you are diagnosed with a chronic illness, learn about the disease, manage your expectations, keep a healthy lifestyle, take care of your mental health and consider pain management techniques.