Chronic diseases are those that people face on a daily basis, but which do not go away and, at the same time, do not immediately put life at risk. Fortunately, with modern medicine, a nourishing lifestyle, and the right mindset, you can lead a happy and healthy life despite chronic illness.
At the same time, it is naturally difficult to accept the diagnosis of diabetes, chronic kidney disease, lupus or other chronic diseases. Here is a list of helpful coping tips that can help you come to terms with your chronic illness and promote a healthy lifestyle every day.
Tips for coping with chronic illness
1. Learn as much as you can about your condition.
Knowledge is power. The more you know about your chronic disease, the better.
Naturally, you’ll want to start by asking your doctor questions. Before your next visit, keep a notepad with any questions or concerns that come to mind. Bring it with you to your date and don’t be afraid to talk. You pay your doctor to answer these questions for you, and you deserve to know what you want to know about your own illness and health.
If you were only recently diagnosed, do some research online. Read articles and journals. See if you can join forums where other people who also have your condition post regularly. Ask them what they wish they had known when they were first diagnosed. People are surprisingly willing to help and offer helpful advice.
The more you know, the better you can manage your symptoms and avoid other medical complications.
2. Find health professionals you can trust.
Again, your doctor is there to serve you, and so are your nurses and other medical staff.
If you are unhappy with the medical care given to you, or dislike your doctor’s bedside manners, don’t be afraid to seek another healthcare professional to take care of you.
It is your prerogative and it is in your best interest to find the best possible medical care in your area.
3. Automate what you can about your illness.
If there are aspects of your illness that you can automate, do so.
Pre-schedule your doctor and lab appointments and receive automated reminders. Order all the medical supplies you can in bulk (diabetes test strips, for example). And above all, sign up for a online prescription refill service.
With online refills, you won’t have to remember to order or pick up your next prescription. Your medicines will arrive at your home exactly when you need them.
4. Tell others about your condition as much (or as little) as you want.
Many people with chronic illness make the mistake of not telling others what they are struggling with. Of course, it is up to you to decide if you want to reveal that you have a chronic illness in the first place. It’s also up to you to decide how much you want to tell others.
But sometimes it can be helpful to talk about your condition. For example, if you have diabetes and need to watch your weight and specific types of foods you eat, you don’t want to constantly push away people who are trying to give you treats and candies.
Being up front can be of great help in these situations. People can be more understanding and helpful than you think.
5. If you notice any signs of depression, don’t hesitate to seek help.
It is not uncommon to fight depression when you have a chronic illness. The anxiety and fear that accompany a serious diagnosis can take its toll on you over time.
You certainly shouldn’t be ashamed of feeling down. But you should be on the lookout for symptoms.
If you notice that you sleep more or less often, that you eat more or less than usual, that you feel like nothing really matters in your life, or that you are letting go of responsibilities that you took on before seriously, you could have common symptoms of depression. In these situations, it is worth asking for help. Talk to your doctor or even a friend about your symptoms and take the necessary steps to get the help you need.
No one wants to feel alone when they have a chronic illness. For many people with these conditions, however, it may seem like few people understand what you need to go through each day just to feel semi-normal and manage your symptoms.
So as a final tip, try connecting with other people who are struggling with your same or other similar chronic illness. Regularly meeting other people who share your struggles can help you feel less alone and better able to deal with the unique challenges that make you, yourself.
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