What are They?
They are chronic conditions which require both ongoing medical attention and personal lifestyle management. Examples include heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, hypertension, COPD, arthritis, fibromyalgia and others.
How Common are They?
Almost half of the U.S. population has at least one chronic illness! (and growing)
How Serious are They?
Chronic health conditions account for 70% of all deaths in the U.S. every year.
Some can be quite disabling and seriously reduce your quality of life. Every minute about 2 lower limbs are amputated in the U.S. as a result of poorly managed diabetes alone!
How Costly are They?
Treatment of chronic diseases accounts for nearly 3/4 of all health care spending, and twice as much than for the average person.
Health insurance coverage for those with chronic conditions is 5 times higher than for those without them.
Yikes! This All Sounds so Bleak. Is There any Hope?
The great news is that many of these conditions are preventable and frequently quite manageable, especially when integrated care mindset tools are included in your treatment.
What are the Secrets?
Early detection is the key to prevention, especially when combined with focused attention to lifestyle habits. Working in close collaboration with your provider on this is crucial.
But What if I Already Have a Chronic Health Condition?
Successful management of chronic conditions hinges on 3 main factors.
1) The first is "Attitude" or mindset. Research has shown that those who approach their health condition as a challenge (but not an insurmountable obstacle), who focus on what they can control, and make a commitment to do so, often do remarkably well.
On the other hand, those who minimize or catastrophize about their condition, expect their provider to "fix" their problems, or wallow in self pity, are almost guaranteed to amplify their suffering and pain, and add a layer of emotional distress to their already challenging symptoms.
2) The second factor is Activity (or exercise). No matter what your condition (e.g. diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.) almost everyone is capable of developing some sort of exercise regimen within their own limitations. This alone will greatly enhance your longevity, boost your mood, and improve your body's ability to function.
3) And thirdly, Dietary considerations are also a must. So many chronic health conditions are directly related to this factor, and can be helped or reversed with appropriate modifications.
But What if I Don't Feel "Motivated"?
You're motivation to take care of yourself is a function of two underlying mindset factors:
1) How important or significant do I think making these lifestyle changes are for me?
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Not at All Totally
2) How capable am I of actually making these changes?
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Not at All Totally
Most people usually rate themselves pretty high on the first question (e.g. 8-10). However, some deny or minimize serious issues such as the importance of controlling blood pressure or, in the case of diabetes, blood sugar levels.
And, if they fall below a "7" on the second, compliance with medical recommendations rapidly begins to wane.
That's why it's so important for you to actively collaborate with your provider to develop both Activity and Dietary guidelines you can comfortably tolerate and follow!
So, What's the Bottom Line When it Comes to Chronic Health Conditions?
- They affect all of us at some point, and nearly half the population at any given time.
- They are often preventable, and always manageable, with appropriate activity and dietary practices.
- The primary determinant of your health and happiness, even in the face of chronic illness, is your personal mindset. And,
- Active collaboration with your provider and a commitment to work with them on a disease management plan is the key to your success.