For most individuals, being diagnosed with a chronic ailment is devastating news. A plethora of questions run through the mind of the individual, which may range from, “How am I going to cope with this disease? Would my family be able to take in the news? How far the disease has already progressed? Will I be able to live through this pain? The list is long and endless…
It is normal to feel shaken by a chronic-disease diagnosis. It is equally important to understand that even the strongest among us or people with relatively few stresses in life get petrified and may go through different stages of grief including denial, bargaining, anger and sadness.
Now, we present to you the best strategies collated from the pharmaceutical company Glaxo SmithKline’s Harris poll to survey of 3,000 adults and 1,000 doctors about living and coping with chronic conditions.
- Get a prescription for information. The more you know about your condition, the better equipped you’ll be to understand what’s happening and why. Instead of turning to the Internet — the Wild West of health information — direct your questions to your doctor or nurse. If you want to do more in-depth research, ask them about trusted sources of medical information on the Web. If your doctor won’t give you the information you need, you might want to start looking for a new doctor.
- Make your doctor a partner in care. We’d put this one more bluntly: Take responsibility for your care, and don’t leave everything to your doctor. One way to do this is to listen to your body and track its changes. If you have hypertension, learn to check your blood pressure. If your heart has rhythm problems, check your pulse. For heart failure, weigh yourself every day and chart your symptoms. This kind of home monitoring lets you spot potentially harmful changes before they bloom into real trouble.
- Build a team. Doctors don’t have all the answers. Seek out the real experts. A nurse might be a better resource for helping you stop smoking or start exercising. You’ll get the best nutrition information from a dietitian.