A chronic illness is a medical condition that lasts for a prolonged period of time, sometimes through the extent of one’s lifetime. As these conditions don’t have a cure, individuals experience various lifestyle changes which they need to learn to adapt to, such as:
- Coping with pain
- Depending on others for daily tasks
- Adjusting to physical limitations
- The financial burden of covering medical costs
A notable example of a chronic condition is Crohn’s disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease where the body’s immune system attacks the gastrointestinal system. Crohn’s inhibits the body’s ability to digest food and discard waste leading to inefficient absorption of nutrients which can manifest other issues such as arthritis, vision impairment, bone loss, kidney problems, and more. Even though the disease has no cure, through proper treatment, individuals can live relatively active and healthy lives. However, they need to make changes to their diet, take constant medication, and in most cases require surgery according to Harvard Health Publishing.
While each condition requires personalized treatment, Michael Suhany Health Insurance shares some common coping methods to help you come to terms with your diagnosis:
Educate Yourself About The Condition
Having uncertainties relating to health is one of the prominent factors for stress. Speak to your doctor and ask direct questions about your condition, what you should expect, and essential lifestyle changes you should make. Additionally, request them to provide you with various trusted online resources for you to research yourself.
Reach Out To Experts
Depending on your condition, get a referral for a specialist such as a cardiologist, gastroenterologist, neurologist, etc. Using their expertise a specialist can provide you with the best care for your condition. However, if you are visiting more than one specialist, it’s best to share all information with your primary care physician to receive a valuable second opinion on your treatment plan.
Connect With Your Insurance Provider
Health insurance providers across the country provide Chronic Disease Management Programs which focus on helping individuals cope with chronic illnesses. These programs help you connect with a team of experts such as physicians, physiologists, dieticians, and other specialists depending on your condition. Additionally, you also get access to counseling services, assistance in scheduling medical appointments, and home visits for regular check-ups.
Having an insurance plan that covers chronic illnesses can dramatically reduce healthcare costs.
Take Responsibility For Your Health
According to research, individuals who exercise regularly find it easier to manage symptoms of chronic conditions. Exercise improves cardiovascular health, reduces inflammation, increases mobility, and strengthens joints. Additionally, it promotes good mental health by reducing stress and promoting mindfulness. Depending on your condition, you may not be able to participate in strenuous exercises, however, even doing simple home-based exercises can have a major positive impact on your health.
Furthermore, supplement your fitness activities with proper nutrition and timely medication. You can also boost your motivation to move by creating fun playlists and investing in a pair of wireless headphones.
Be Open To Help
Making lifestyle changes becomes easier when you have the support and motivation from your loved ones. Talk to your family about changes you want to make and ask them to join in as well. Additionally, learn to ask for help to overcome challenges created due to your conditions. This can include climbing stairs, holding heavy objects, traveling to a store, for check-ups, or buying medicines, etc.
Upgrade Your Home
Making necessary changes to your home can help cope with your condition better. For example, if you foresee climbing stairs to be a challenge in the future, consider shifting your bedroom downstairs, additionally, make your washrooms accessible and install centralized controls for appliances throughout your home.
Downsizing can help pay for medical costs. Moving into a small home makes for easier maintenance and lower upkeep costs. Before deciding to move, create a budget for monthly expenses on your healthcare needs and ascertain how much selling your home will cover. Be sure to also review mortgage options that are available to you by staying up to date on mortgage news that can affect your circumstances.
Living with a chronic disease is understandably stressful. However, by making your well-being a priority, implementing necessary lifestyle changes, and working closely with your doctors you can learn to manage your condition and maintain a good quality of life.