Chronic Disease Management
What is chronic disease management?
Chronic disease management is a way to manage a health condition that is chronic in nature. A chronic health condition is something that never fully goes away although the attention the health issue requires may fluctuate over time.
What is a chronic health issue and do I have one?
First let’s discuss what is not a chronic health issue.
For example, if you’re in the kitchen and cut your finger, there’s likely some blood and then process of applying an ointment and maybe wrapping the cut in a band-aid. The first day or two maybe the cut burns when you wash your hands or accidentally spray lemon juice in it. As the cut heals, however, you feel less pain and tenderness. Soon you stop wearing a band-aid. As the cut fully heals it no longer causes pain/tenderness, and you barely notice it on your finger. One day you wake up and never think about the cut again; it’s all healed and causes no issues.
This is an example of a health condition that is not chronic in nature.
A chronic health issue is different than a cut on your finger.
Chronic disease is something that never fully goes away and requires some type of monitoring.
Cancer, HIV, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Diabetes, Arthritis and Lupus are examples of health conditions that require some level of ongoing management.
Maybe one month you’re doing okay, but in another month the identified health issue flares up, requiring a change in medication or additional trips to the doctor. When chronic health issues flare, they create symptoms and sometimes those symptoms feel unmanageable.
How chronic disease management helps you.
Creating a plan that helps you stay on top of your health condition is important. Staying on top of your own medical care means you’re taking a proactive approach to managing a health condition specific to your body and your lifestyle. This is one step in the process of chronic disease management.
Additionally, our minds and our bodies are connected.
When our bodies feel sick, its not uncommon for feelings of worry, confusion, frustration, anger, anxiety or sadness to exacerbate. Soon negative thoughts like Is this ever going to go away? or I’m never going to feel better! or Why does this happen to me!? start to infiltrate our thought process and dominate our behavior and motivation.
Negative thoughts make people feel worse about themselves, not better. Negative thoughts encourage self-isolating behavior and negative self-talk that perpetuate feelings of anxiety and depression.
When the body starts to decline or change in an unexpected way, it’s easy for the brain to follow; this is the Mind-Body connection.
Working together we will create a chronic disease management program that works for you and fits you goals. There are many benefits to having a chronic disease management program. The most significant benefits are as follows:
- Helps you integrate support systems such as family, friends and your spiritual community
- Helps you improve communication with your doctors
- Helps you to understand how medication helps support your body
- Helps you to better control physical symptoms
- Helps you to decrease stress
- Empowers you as a health advocate
- Enhances your understanding of how your body works
Are you ready?
Prior to starting my own private practice, I worked in oncology for nine nearly years and within managed care for twelve years. From working in kidney transplant, to psychiatric units to oncology, my patients shared with me the various struggles they faced while managing a chronic health condition.
Chronic health conditions create fatigue and frustration. No one wants to feel sick. No one wakes up early in the morning eager to take medicine. No one enjoys feeling worn down. No one enjoys having multiple doctor appointments or dealing with treatments that feel as though they are never going to end.
In therapy we will process stress points specific to your health condition and create a chronic disease management plan tailored to your needs.
Every person is an individual. Every individual has different social, financial, personal and spiritual goals. Each person has different goals.
Knowing your chronic disease management goals is important. Having a plan that identifies how to execute your plan is even more important. Schedule your first appointment now.