Being diagnosed with a chronic illness is difficult, and almost certainly means some major changes in your life. You can adjust to living with a chronic illness by getting good info, and talking to people - doctors, counsellors, or other people living with the illness.
This could be for you if...
you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with a chronic illness you're struggling to adjust to living with a chronic illness ou want tactics to help you live with an illness
What is a chronic illness?
A chronic illness is any medical condition that lasts a long time. Some chronic illnesses get worse over time, while the symptoms of other chronic illnesses will flare up occasionally. There are lots of different chronic illnesses, and each have different causes and symptoms. Some examples of chronic illnesses are: epilepsy
If you, or someone you know, has a chronic illness
Being diagnosed with any medical problem can be a shock. When it's something serious that you're going to have for a long time, it can be even harder to adjust to. It's normal to get frustrated or upset about living with a chronic illness.
Depending on the condition, chances are you'll have to make some adjustments to your lifestyle to manage with symptoms of the illness. It could mean you need to cut down on alcohol, change your diet, get more exercise or rest, or adjust to taking medication. Doctors will try to work out a treatment plan that fits specifically with your own individual needs and lifestyle but often you'll still have to make some adjustments in your everyday life.
Get good info
Getting the facts about your illness is vital – talk to a doctor or specialist about how to manage it and what changes to make in your life. You'll also feel more comfortable and in control once you've got good info.
You aren't the only person living with the illness you've got, and there will be people who are tackling the same issues as you. So talk to them – you'll find there's a lot you can do for each other. Most of the chronic illnesses have support groups available that have loads of resources and can give you info and support too.
Talking to medical people – doctors, psychologists or counsellors – will also really help. They'll be able to let you know what you can do to make things easier for yourself, and can give you good advice about how to deal with the changes that living with your illness brings.
Living with Chronic Illness by Elizabeth Holtzman
Chronic illness does not match the common pattern of how illness unfolds. You get sick, go to the doctor and get some medicine and wait to get better. If there is no cure for what ails you, you die. Chronic illness is a sign of the advances in medicine. Advances in diagnosis and treatment have slowed the course and impact of diseases previously considered terminal. They have become diseases not to "die of" but to "live with."
Diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C and asthma are some of the more familiar chronic illnesses. More recent additions are chronic fatigue syndrome, immune dysfunction disorder, fibromyalgia , AIDS and some specific cancers.
The course of a chronic illness often begins with an individual experiencing symptoms, which are often diffuse and which come and go. By the time a person decides to consult a doctor they go in expecting to receive a diagnosis and a treatment plan. When the diagnosis is difficult, which is often the case, a search ensues through a variety of specialists. Knowing where to go and which specialist to consult can take on a life of its own. When a diagnosis is not readily forthcoming, an individual may become increasingly frustrated and start to question whether it is "all in my head."
When a diagnosis is finally obtained it can be a tremendous relief, despite a frightening diagnosis, just...