5 Steps To Take When You Have Been Diagnosed With a Chronic Condition

According to government data, chronic diseases affect more than 40% of Americans. Like many people, you might have mixed emotions when you receive a diagnosis for a chronic condition. You may feel relieved to finally know the cause of a condition that has plagued you for months or even years. However, you could also feel demoralized at the prospect of managing an illness that may not go away. These steps can help you cope with your diagnosis.

1. Find Ways To Reduce Stress

Many chronic conditions both cause stress and are made worse by it, leaving people who have them in a vicious cycle. Reducing the amount of stress in your life can often ease your symptoms and make your condition easier to manage. Exercise, such as walking, helps to reduce stress hormones and promote better quality sleep. Other activities that may help include decreasing caffeine intake, keeping a journal, spending time with friends and family and avoiding  procrastination.

2. Practice Self-Care

Self-care is any action you take to proactively improve your health. This is particularly important for people with chronic conditions because failing to proactively strive for better health can lead to a rapid decline in function.
Taking better care of yourself can help you feel more empowered, reduce symptoms and improve mental health. Examples of self-care include taking steps to manage your symptoms, maintaining a healthy daily routine and
managing the impact your condition has on your mental health.

3. Get Some Help

While it can be good for your health to continue to perform your normal daily activities as much as possible, it is OK to get assistance where you need it. If your symptoms make it difficult for you to keep up with tasks such as grocery shopping or cleaning the house, consider hiring a housekeeper or using a grocery delivery service. If you have difficulty with activities such as dressing, bathing or cooking, a home health aide could be useful.

4. Relocate To an Accessible Home

If reaching cabinets that are too high, stepping in and out of your bathtub or climbing the stairs to get to your bedroom is making your symptoms worse, it may benefit you to move to a more accessible home. You can start by
researching mortgage rates and finding out what types of loans are available to you. Compare conventional loans, as well as though from the Federal Housing Administration or Veterans Affairs, to determine your options and eligibility. Knowing what type of mortgage you can qualify for and how much it will cost you will help you set a budget for your home purchase.

5. Try Alternative Medicine

Conventional treatments for chronic illnesses, such as medications, surgery and physical therapy, help many patients, but they do not work for everyone. This may be particularly true for patients who face difficulty maintaining adequate pain relief in an environment where access to pain-reducing drugs is limited due to concerns about the opioid epidemic. Alternative medicine can be helpful in some cases.

For example, acupuncture and massage from Sage Massage and Acupuncture are effective techniques for reducing chronic pain for some people. Conditions that often respond well to these treatments include low back pain, bursitis, muscle spasms and plantar fasciitis.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your chronic condition, taking steps to address your health can not only boost your mental health but may also reduce your physical symptoms. Talk to your doctor about these and other steps you
can take.