People who are non-adherent with their disease care complicate their own lives. And while medical professionals share some responsibility for patient care, the patient has more control of the outcome than the doctor does.
How can you help yourself to feel better and be good to yourself with you chronic illness?
Here are some ideas to help you get started on the right path toward good health.
1. Keep moving
Low impact exercises can be beneficial for people with chronic illness, especially those who experience pain. Walking and water therapy, for example, can reduce muscle stiffness, increase muscle strength, relieve stress, decrease pain, and even make it easier for you to fall asleep at night. And you don’t even need a gym membership to improve your health—build exercise into everything you do. Park further away or go for a walk during your lunch hour.
2. Give up bad habits
Alcohol and smoking have negative effects on everyone. For people with chronic illness, they can speed up joint damage and worsen illness and pain, among other detrimental effects. It is never too late to quit. Unhealthy eating is another habit you can rid yourself of by putting real, good food in your body and staying away from processed foods.
3. Get restful sleep
Getting at least eight hours of sleep every night can help alleviate the pain and fatigue commonly associated with chronic illnesses. To get a more restful sleep at night set a regular sleep schedule, keep electronics out of your bedroom including television, and avoid physical activity and heavy meals close to bedtime.
4. Keep infections at bay
People with chronic illnesses, especially those with autoimmune diseases, are more susceptible to infection. This may be related to the diseases themselves or the immune-suppressing medicines used to treat them. Studies show that newer drugs may greatly increase the risk of infection in people with autoimmune diseases. To ward off infections, wash your hands often, avoid sick people, or wear a mask to keep germs at bay. Also make sure you are eating healthy and getting the probiotics you need. Talk to your doctor about vaccines that are appropriate for you and your conditions.
5. Manage your pain
Many people have this idea that they should just grin and bear pain. But pain is not something you are required to live with. It’s okay to admit you are in pain and to take action to remedy it. Medications are an option to block pain signals, and you can also consider other non-medicinal pain control methods, such as hot and cold treatments, physical therapy, exercise, relaxation and massage. The goal of pain management should be to find new ways to reduce pain and change habits so pain doesn’t disrupt your life.
6. Manage your emotional health
Living day to day with a disease can take a toll on both emotional and physical health. Patients who are restricted in their normal activities are more likely to be depressed. Unfortunately, few are willing to share their emotional symptoms with their doctors. The ramifications of living with chronic illness are devastating enough, so if you struggling with symptoms of depression, such as ongoing sadness, uncontrollable crying, frustration, and anger, it is vital to seek help from a mental health professional.
7. Participate in your healthcare
Being an active participant in your health allows you to feel confident and leads to improved health experiences. But, it is each patient’s responsibility to participate in the management of his or her health. Make the choice to understand your illness and its effect on your body and your life. Doing so will help you to participate in healthcare decisions with and ask questions of your doctors, make informed choices about treatments, and appreciate the need to make necessary lifestyle changes that improve your quality of life.
I hope that you have found the information contained in this article useful. If you have further questions or comments please leave it below. I would love to hear from you,
Wishing you much joy and healing.