Chronic illnesses generally have no “cure” in sight, which means they can last a lifetime. Living with day to day chronic conditions can be difficult to manage, especially when they come with always changing symptoms and issues. With proper care and attention, you can live a happy and healthy life, even with health needs. Here are some tips to help you take charge and manage your illness:
Do research on your diagnosis
The more you know about your condition, the better you will be able to understand what is going on and know why. It is best to ask your doctor or nurse your questions, which can prevent you from finding untrusted information online. If you need to do more in-depth research, see if they can direct you to their trusted research sources.
Monitor your symptoms
It can be easier to take responsibility for your care to avoid putting everything on your doctor. Listen to your body and track any changes so you are equipped to know what is happening. If you have hypertension, learn to check your blood pressure. At home monitoring will allow you to find any changes before they become harmful or result in bigger issues later down the line.
Build a team
Try to put together a team of doctors, nurses, and specialists that you work well with and can trust. Certain professions will be better for different areas of your health. For example, if your doctor does not have all of the information regarding nutrition and your diagnosis, seek help from a dietician and request that your providers collaborate care.
Invest in yourself
Most of the time, chronic conditions require lifestyle changes. This can include: quitting smoking, losing weight, exercising, and eating healthier. These tend to be placed on the back burner and they shouldn’t be. Those who are able to make these changes tend to be more successful in managing their condition than those who don’t. Your health is worth the time and energy it takes to make these changes.
Manage your medications
It can be hard to remember one pill a day, which is why managing multiple medications is so difficult. Research the medications you are taking, including: why you are taking them, how to best take them, and which side effects to be monitoring. Work with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist to understand your medication appropriately.
Join a support group
You can’t always get all of the support you need from your doctors or family alone. To connect with like-minded individuals who understand what you are going through, try joining a support group in your area. If you are unable to attend a support group in person, there are online support groups as well (click here for information on support groups).
Look out for depression
Depression effects 1/3 or more of people who live with chronic illnesses. It can keep you from taking your medications, seeing your doctor when needed, or pursuing healthy habits. If you find yourself dealing with any signs of depression, make sure you tell your doctor and work with a therapist who can help. Click here to work with a therapist who specializes in chronic illness.