Chronic Disease Requires Action Plan PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 28 November 2010 22:10
What is a chronic disease? According to one thesaurus, it is an "illness, sickness, ailment, syndrome, malady, disorder or complaint” that is "constant, unceasing, unending, continual, persistent, unrelieved, never-ending, ever-present or lasting.”

One of every two adults lives with a chronic illness, estimates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Conditions that can be managed but not cured include chronic kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, joint disease and chronic pain.

How do we deal with unrelenting health problems? Researchers at Stanford University found that people with chronic illnesses get tired. They hurt. And they sometimes just want to give up completely.

These same researchers studied how people with chronic diseases find relief. They found that people who learned how to solve problems, communicate with doctors, relax, eat well and manage their emotions improved their health and spent less time in the hospital than those who didn't.

But changing how we eat and live day to day is not always easy, especially when you hurt. So, out of this research was born a workshop to show those who live with chronic illness "how” to apply the advice they hear from health experts. Here are few tips:

Be encouraged. "If you have a degenerative process, you know you are going to have to cope with it,” says Jan, a workshop participant with chronic pain. "This class is a support situation with others facing similar challenges.”

Set goals. "One thing we learn is how to form an action plan … things you can do,” Jan says. "I had to discipline myself to do an exercise plan.”

Eat well. "Nutrition is important no matter what your disease process,” Jan says. She's right. The balance of nutrients we feed our bodies strengthens our immune system, controls symptoms and prevents complications.

What's the point? Even with an existing illness, we can learn to "prevent, avoid, stop, thwart or nip in the bud” other problems that can make our condition worse. For example, a person with diabetes who learns how to control his blood sugar and blood pressure can often avoid other complications such as kidney disease.

Source: Quinn, B. (2010), "Chronic disease requires action plan", NewsOK; Original article can be viewed here.
 
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