Chronic Diseases and 7 Great Ways to Cope with Them
Dealing with a chronic condition can be overwhelming and exhausting. It can be both mentally and physically draining. You may be fighting a variety of symptoms, and you may also feel like you don’t have the strength or willpower at times to continue fighting the disease or to continue dealing with the constant onslaught of doctor visits, medications, and treatments.
You may not be able to make your chronic disease go away, but you can make it easier to manage with a few coping strategies. Here are some things you can do that might help:
Educate Yourself as Much as Possible
One of the things that can be so disheartening about a chronic condition is that it can seem so mysterious. Some conditions may not even have a known cause. Others may have a known cause, but doctors don’t know how to treat or cure them, only how to manage the symptoms. You may not be able to find those answers, but you can certainly get information that will help you better understand your condition and what you can do to manage it. Just make sure you are getting information from reputable sources and not just whatever you find through Google. And always listen to your doctor’s professional medical advice.
Having information will make you feel like you have at least some handle on things when your appointments and treatments start to feel overwhelming or when you are coming up short on answers about other things.
Create a Team and Coordinate
Chronic diseases usually affect multiple parts of your life. For example, if you have diabetes, you may need to see a doctor who specializes in the disease, as well as a nutritionist to help you manage your diet at home, a trainer to help you lead an active lifestyle, an eye specialist, and so on.
You should build a health care team from experts in each area that your disease includes. Then you should ensure that your primary care doctor or your general physician is in touch with each of these providers to get the information needed and to help everyone coordinate on your care. What one provider knows about your eye health, for example, might tell another about something that is progressing with the disease. Your providers need to be talking to one another.
See Your Doctor as a Partner
Many people rely on their doctor to tell them what care they need. They view their doctor as the professional, and rightly so, and they defer to the doctor for the tests they need, the best treatments, and so on. You should view your doctor as a partner in your care, not as the person who controls it, as you ultimately decide if you want to follow their professional opinion. Just remember that your doctor is also the more educated and trained partner in the dynamic, so their advice is typically going to be more helpful to you than if you would ignore it.
Make the Needed Lifestyle Changes
No matter what your condition, there are lifestyle changes you can make that will improve your overall well-being. That might mean eating healthier to keep your blood sugar under control or getting more exercise and rest to maintain your energy levels. Talk to your doctor about what lifestyle changes would improve your condition or your general well-being, and then make a commitment to implementing them.
Lifestyle changes may seem like supplemental steps you can take for your chronic disease, but they should be considered as important as your primary treatment. The right lifestyle changes can make a huge impact on your condition, as well as your overall wellness.
Create a System for Your Medication
Remembering to take multiple pills a day can be difficult. Yet missing even a single dose can have a negative impact on your health. Develop a system to ensure that you are taking your medication appropriately and on schedule each day. That might mean using a pill box that gives you a visual of what needs to be taken each day, or it might mean creating a white board with a detailed chart and schedule.
Use whatever system works best for you, and make sure you build in reminders.
Trying to manage a chronic illness all on your own can become overwhelming. Get whatever support you can to help you through it. That might mean asking your husband to help you remember your medication each day. Or it might mean asking your friend to be your walking buddy so that you know you’ll make it a part of your routine.
You should also turn to your family and friends for emotional support. You need people you can talk to when you’re struggling or when you feel scared or depressed or angry about your disease.
Get Psychological Help
It is very common for those with a chronic illness to become depressed. You can stave off these times or better manage your depression by speaking with your primary care doctor so that they can determine if any medications are needed in order to combat your depression. They will also be able to refer you to a counselor should you be in need of further support.
Dealing with a chronic illness can be difficult, but the right coping strategies can make it a little easier. You can improve your mood and overall wellness, and you can feel like you have control over your life, instead of letting the disease control you.
Having the right doctor makes a big difference. At East Mesa Family Doctors, we consider ourselves your partners in care. Whether you have a chronic illness or are just trying to achieve optimal wellness, our doctors are there to help you figure out the best strategies for achieving your goals. We empower our patients with information and help them understand all the treatment options available to them, including alternative therapies. Call us today to make an appointment with one of our friendly and trusted doctors.
Address: 8035 E. Brown Road, Building 4, #101, Mesa, AZ 85207
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (480) 750-0085