Managing Chronic Illnesses

A chronic illness or disease is an illness or disease that doesn’t resolve on its own. Chronic illnesses can affect every age group, from young children to seniors. You can do a lot to prevent chronic illnesses from affecting you and others in your household. Your doctor is an expert at prevention, treatment, and management of chronic illnesses and diseases and can help you and your family stay healthy.

Chronic illnesses have a tremendous effect on your immune system, which means you may not heal properly if you experience an injury or accident. Chronic illnesses can also affect your moods and can lead to depression and anxiety symptoms.

You can do a lot to prevent developing a chronic disease or illness if you:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Don’t drink excessive alcohol
  • Eat a healthy diet low in fat, sugar, and salt
  • Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week

Your doctor can help you develop an action plan to attain optimal health and help prevent illness and disease. Your action plan may focus on:

  • Medication management
  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Regular exercise and activity
  • Stress reduction techniques
  • Routine testing and wellness visits

These are just a few of the chronic illnesses and diseases you may develop in your lifetime and how your doctor might manage them:

Arthritis – anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, stretching, and developing an exercise program help you stay active to prevent joint stiffness and pain.

Diabetes – fasting laboratory tests to determine blood sugar levels; you may need to continue routine testing at home to check your blood sugar. Medications including metformin and insulin may be recommended. Dietary modifications are also an important part of diabetes management.

Heart disease – medications to regulate heart rhythm and other heart functions, dietary and exercise modifications, and surgical treatment to enhance heart and vascular function are part of heart disease management.

Cancer – surgical removal of precancerous or cancerous tissue, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and lifestyle modifications to enhance quality of life are important treatments in cancer management.

Obesity – diet and exercise regimens, lifestyle modification, weight loss medications, or weight loss surgery to help you attain and maintain a healthy weight are recommendations to manage obesity.

Asthma – short term rescue inhalers, long term asthma medications, allergy testing, and environment modification to help you avoid asthma triggers can help manage asthma.

Remember that your doctor can help you manage a chronic illness or disease. To learn more about the prevention, treatment, and management of chronic illnesses and diseases, call your doctor today.

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