According to the National Health Council, about 133 million Americans suffer from chronic disease. If you’re one of them, you know exactly how debilitating these diseases can be. Symptoms can range from mild to debilitating, and they can really have an impact on a person’s life outlook.
So how do you balance life with a chronic illness? In truth, it’s not always easy, but there are things you can do to make it more bearable.
What is a chronic illness?
If you’re dealing with an illness that has no known cure, it is considered chronic. In order for a disease to be considered chronic, it must persist over time. You may have symptoms that go into remission, but this doesn’t mean you are free from disease.
The following are common examples of chronic disease:
- Heart disease
- Chronic pain
- Multiple sclerosis
If you suffer from a chronic illness, you are likely taking prescription medications to help manage symptoms. But your disease may still have an impact on your daily life.
How to balance life with a chronic disease
There are so many different chronic diseases and symptoms, they can affect people’s lives in various ways. Still, there are a few things you can do to avoid letting your disease get in the way of life.
You will have good days and bad ones, but it’s important to practice patience throughout your life. This means being patient with yourself and any limitations you may have. If you’re feeling bad, it’s okay to take it slow. Permit yourself to move through life at your own pace without worrying about what other people will think.
Take care of yourself:
You may have some days that feel hopeless, to begin with. So, what’s the big deal if you stay in bed, order takeout and eat a tub of ice cream? Well, it isn’t a big deal on its own, but you will feel better about yourself if you power through and make healthier choices instead.
Your choices can have a snowball effect on your health and outlook. The more you choose health, the better you’ll feel.
Explore your options:
When it comes to medical treatment, understand that you don’t have to take one person’s medical opinion as a mandate. If your doctor has you on a medication that’s hindering your life, request a change. If you want to try a different treatment, explore that option.
For example, someone dealing with pain may request to be part of an experimental stem cell treatment for chronic pain. In this case, they’d start by talking with their doctor about the risks and potential benefits. Then, they’d find a suitable treatment to try.
Regardless of your symptoms, you can probably find alternative treatments that are worth trying. If something appeals to you, talk to your doctor about the next steps.
It is important to rely on a trusted medical team, but remember that you are ultimately in control over your own choices.
Focus on positivity:
When you’re in excruciating pain most of the time, it can be difficult to remain positive. Still, it’s important to try. We all get this one life, and we don’t know how long it will last. No one would ever blame you for dwelling on hardship, but you will likely regret the time you’ve wasted on negativity.
Try to live your life to its fullest potential. This may mean saying yes to more plans and becoming more social. Or it may mean being more productive. Do whatever makes you happy, even if you have to force yourself to do it.
Millions of Americans suffer from chronic illness. But if you’re among them, know that you’re still in control over your life. You can take measures to improve your quality of life, even on days when your symptoms seem severe.