Living With a Chronic Health Condition? Here’s What You Need to Know

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Being diagnosed with a chronic illness can throw up all kinds of feelings. In some cases it might come as a complete shock, routine tests might show something you were totally unaware of. In other cases it might even come as a relief, if you’ve been suffering for a while, you might be glad to finally have an official diagnosis. But either way, living with a health condition is difficult. Just living our day to day lives can be a huge struggle when certain parts of our bodies break down or don’t function as they should. But it doesn’t have to be the end, in many cases keeping your condition under control and following doctor’s advice will allow you to live a happy and fulfilling life. Here are some things to bear in mind if you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic health condition.

Learn About Your Condition

Your doctor should give you some details about your condition when you’re diagnosed, but they’re never going to be able to tell you everything. So spend some time yourself researching your condition, it’s incredibly useful information to know and can help you to understand what you’re going through better. You could find out the likely causes, the symptoms and what the different treatment options there are available. Finding out whether your condition is genetic can also be useful in case other family members need to be tested or take special care of their health. You can find more information on sites like cdc.gov/features/familyhealthhistory/. Another important thing to be aware of is any secondary complications that can arise due to your condition. Knowing what to look for helps you to spot problems early, allowing you to seek medical attention quickly if needed.

Speak To Your Family

Speaking to your family and letting them know can be really helpful. While many people worry that it will upset their loved ones, keeping secrets and keeping them in the dark about things is likely to put more pressure on you and could cause additional upset later down the line. More information can be found on websites such as webmd.com/palliative-care/. If you have children and dependents, for example, you may just need to explain that things might be a little different now since you’re not very well. At least then everyone has an understanding of what’s happening.

Know Your Medication

As well as understanding your condition, you should also get clued up on your medication. What does it do, when should you take it, and do you need to take it before, with, or after food? Knowing the possible side effects is also useful, that way you know if you need to keep an eye out for any adverse affects or strange symptoms. You might also need to factor in the cost of your prescriptions, if you’re going to be taking medication long term, this can be expensive. You might be entitled to some help with costs, for more information you could read at nationwideprescriptionconnection.com/why-choose-us/. Otherwise, you will probably need to address your finances and make changes. Work things like prescription costs, health treatment, and hospital stays into your budget.

Get Support

Being diagnosed with a chronic illness can be incredibly stressful, you probably wonder ‘why me’ or feel lonely and isolated. However, there are many other people out there just like you. Speaking to others who are in a similar situation can be extremely beneficial. They may be able to offer you practical support and advice since they’re going through the same thing. It can be reassuring to know that it’s not just you. There are plenty of forums, blogs, and websites online where you can speak to others. You could join therapy groups to chat with others too, a good way to make friends that truly understand what you’re going through as well as gain support and advice. Be sure to get support from family and friends too, your support network is crucial at such a difficult time. Even if they can’t understand exactly what you’re going through, knowing you’re loved and cared about can be reassuring when you’re feeling uncertain about your health. If your mental health is suffering, as a result, be sure to reach out to your doctor. It’s a worrying time, and so you might find that you end up battling with depression and/ or anxiety. Keeping on top of your mental health will allow you to stay positive.

Consider Alternative Complementary Therapies

Modern medicine is excellent, but it’s not perfect. To complement your treatment, why not consider some alternative therapies? These have been shown to be very beneficial in some people and can help you feel more in control of your condition. While they’re considered as complementary therapies, these things are scientifically proven, so it’s not just like you’re having them done and hoping for the best! Acupuncture, for example, can help to reduce inflammation in the body, stimulate the nerves and even can help them to regenerate. Massage causes the brain to happy chemical serotonin, so as well as assisting with pain physically, it can also make you feel better mentally too. Even counseling and pain therapy can help you to learn different coping techniques. This can help you deal with pain better by allowing you to focus your attention elsewhere, as well as try different breathing techniques and positive thinking.

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Go To a Rehab Centre

When you think of rehab, your first thought will probably be rehab for addiction. However there are rehab centers such as healthrehab.com/ that are for those with medical conditions. These can make sure you’re properly looked after and receiving the right care and treatment during difficult times. After an operation for example when you’re particularly vulnerable, these centers can help you get back on the road to good health. If you’ve lost some function due to your illness or recovery, these places can help you to get back onto your feet. It can also teach you how to take care of yourself if your health condition has drastically affected your day to day life. For example, if you’ve had a spinal cord injury leaving you paralyzed, or Parkinson’s Disease leaves you struggling with day to day tasks they can teach you new ways to function. Unlike when you’re recovering at home, there’s no need to worry about cooking, cleaning or other general housework. You have your own private room and round the clock care, allowing you to just focus on getting better without any outside pressures or stress. Once you’re back home, you could find out if you qualify for home help if you need it. If you don’t, employing a housekeeper to come out a couple of times a week could help to take the pressure off.  They could assist you with anything from cooking, cleaning, laundry, childcare or with pets.

Make The Necessary Lifestyle Changes

Finally, you can make changes in your life to improve your outlook and ensure a healthier life. Even if your condition wasn’t to do with your lifestyle (for example it occurred randomly or due to genetics) good physical health overall will make you stronger and more resilient. A healthy diet, an exercise plan that suits your health condition and enough sleep are all ways you can improve your health and overall wellbeing. You will also boost your immunity so you’re less susceptible to other illnesses which is good news when you already have a serious health condition. Focus on looking after yourself both physically and mentally. Drink plenty of water, stretch daily, take a supplement. Make time for relaxation- book a spa day or spend time with friends to improve your mood. Nourish your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to be strong and healthy. If you’re struggling with your weight, you could consider speaking to a dietician, nutritionist or personal trainer. When you already have a health condition, this is more important than ever. It goes without saying that quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol and quitting any drugs that aren’t prescribed by your doctor will all help you too. There are plenty of things you can do for yourself that will both improve your health and allow you to feel much better overall too. You want to put yourself in the best position possible for health and happiness.

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Living with a chronic illness or coping with a life-changing injury can be scary and worrying. But don’t lose hope, many people out there still go on to lead happy lives despite their illness and you can too. The hardest part is likely to be adapting to your new way of life and doing things in a different way. But there’s plenty of support and advice out there so don’t feel as though you need to go through it alone.

Are you dealing with a chronic health condition, or has an illness or injury changed the way you live your life?

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