Nearly one in every two persons in the United States suffers from chronic medical conditions. It can be overwhelming, mainly because most people living with chronic illnesses are depressed or engaging in high-risk behavior. In this light, physicians must learn how to enable their patients to deal with issues and make well-informed health decisions to better their lives.
Showing your patients that there is life after a chronic illness can be revolutionary in their journey. It can help them reduce stress, lead a healthy lifestyle, improve their diet and sleeping habits, and control their symptoms.
Chronic conditions are illnesses that last a year or longer and necessitate continuous medical attention while impeding everyday activities. In the United States, chronic problems such as heart issues, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of mortality and disability. They are also the main drivers of annual healthcare spending.
Characteristics of Chronic Illnesses
- Numerous risk factors
- Complex causes
- Long development period with no symptoms
- Functional impairment or disability
- Most are not resolved on their own.
- A prolonged course of illness
What Causes Chronic Illnesses?
Most are caused by risk behaviors:
- Drinking too much alcohol.
- Poor dietary habits, such as a lack of fruits and vegetables
- High sodium and saturated fat intake.
- Tobacco usage and secondhand smoke.
- Insufficient physical activity.
List Of Common Chronic Medical Conditions
- Heart Complications and Stroke
Every year, many Americans die of heart complications, stroke, or other cardiovascular issues, accounting for one-third of all deaths in the United States. These also have a financial burden, costing the healthcare system billions per year and lost productivity due to early death alone.
Heart complications and stroke can be caused by excessive blood pressure, high LDL (bad) cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking. Overweight and obesity, prediabetes, a poor diet, and a lack of physical activity are all risk factors. By managing their high blood pressure and lowering other risk factors, people with cardiovascular issues can reduce the risk of mortality.
- High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol
High blood pressure affects millions of persons in the United States. High blood pressure destroys the lining of the arteries, making them more susceptible to plaque development. It narrows the arteries leading to the heart and brain, a significant risk factor. Many consume too much sodium per day on average, much-exceeding suggestions by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
People whose LDL cholesterol is too high are also at risk of cardiovascular issues. Excess cholesterol can build up in the walls of arteries, restricting blood flow to the heart, kidneys, brain, other organs, and legs.
Diabetes is one of the chronic medical conditions that affects your body’s ability to convert food into energy. After consuming food, most of it is converted to sugar (glucose) and absorbed into your bloodstream. Your pancreas releases insulin when blood sugar levels rise.
Insulin allows blood sugar to enter your body’s cells and is used as energy. If you have diabetes, your body either does not produce enough insulin or does not utilize it as effectively as it should.
Over time, it can lead to significant health issues like heart complications, eyesight loss, and renal illness. Unfortunately, millions of adults in the United States are diabetic and worse; some don’t know they have it.
Being overweight or obese means having abnormal or excessive fat buildup, posing a health concern. Overweight describes a Body Mass Index of 25 or higher, while obese is 30 or higher.
Millions of people die each year because of being overweight or obese. People who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of heart complications and stroke and its risk factors, such as type 2 diabetes, low HDL cholesterol, high LDL cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
Arthritis is a broad word that encompasses more than a hundred problems that damage the body’s joints. When you have arthritis, your joints become inflamed, causing pain and discomfort.
Arthritis affects people of all ages and can range from moderate to severe. It involves a quarter of adults in the United States. It is the most significant cause of job incapacity, costing billions in medical care and missed wages each year.
The most prevalent type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Bone scrapes against bone as cartilage – the slippery, cushioning surface on the ends of bones – wears away, producing pain, edema, and stiffness. Joints can lose strength over time, and pain can become persistent.
Rheumatoid arthritis, another common type, affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually lead to bone joint deformity and degradation. Even though new drugs have greatly improved choices, severe rheumatoid arthritis can still cause physical limitations.
What is Chronic Management?
It involves patient education, monitoring, and coordination, check-ups, screening, etc. When dealing with chronic patients, management can enhance their quality of life while lowering their healthcare costs by preventing or decreasing the consequences.
- Pain Management
Taking pain-relieving medicine, completing physical therapies (such as physiotherapy), and other therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, can all help patients learn to modify how they think about pain and, as a result, change how they feel and behave regarding pain.
As such, use a variety of therapies rather than just one. Some non-pharmacological pain management techniques include physical therapies (exercise can assist relieve pain depending on the cause), massage, and acupuncture.
- Mental Health and Positivity
Chronic medical conditions such as fatigue, aches, and pains, are often not visible, so people are not always aware of their impact. Physical symptoms aren’t the only thing that might damage a person’s mental health; lifestyle restrictions and living with continual discomfort can also affect them.
Worrying or thinking adversely about potential events increases your patients’ anxiety or stress, harming their overall health. You can teach them to seek professional help from a psychologist or psychiatrist, keep a record of their worries, and learn more about their prognosis and potential outcomes – all these things can help them feel more in control.
You could also encourage people to join support groups or start their own. Please enable them to keep their minds occupied by doing puzzles and crosswords. Poor mental health can exacerbate physical problems, a term known as psychiatric morbidity.
- Making Good Lifestyle Choices
Keeping a healthy lifestyle can help patients feel as good as possible when living with chronic illnesses. It involves eating healthy, exercising as much as a condition allows, and getting enough relaxation.
Having small rather than large meals, even when they don’t want to, can help people who have chronic medical conditions maintain a balanced diet. Make sure they avoid sugar, salt, and fat-laden snacks by choosing nutritious items they enjoy.
You could also speak with your patient’s family members to assist them in adhering to their dietary requirements. Lastly, encourage your patient to engage in physical activity every day, even if it’s only a tiny amount.
- Good Sleep
People who suffer from chronic illnesses require a lot of sleep. Avoid napping during the day, avoid excessive bed rest, and avoid stimulants before bed to help them obtain enough decent sleep. Exercise can also help ensure that your patients are tired, which will assist them in having a decent night’s sleep.
- Healthcare Team Management
When dealing with several ailments, your patients may interact with various healthcare providers. The most important thing to remember while seeing multiple healthcare providers is to inform your patient that they must report to all their healthcare providers about who else they see and for what reason.
Most importantly, every patient’s healthcare team member should be aware of all medications. Taking two or more drugs simultaneously may lead to adverse side effects, even if it’s complementary medicines.
As a result, encourage your patients to control their healthcare team so that everything runs well. If feasible, let the patient know that you’re willing to speak with other professionals involved directly. Allowing all members of a patient’s healthcare team to share information will enable them to have a more comprehensive picture of their needs.
Chronic Medical Condition Assistance With BioScan
With millions and millions of US citizens suffering from chronic medical conditions, it can be challenging to keep up with routine exams and pay attention to your patients’ requirements. Fortunately, biofeedback pain management can significantly simplify the procedure. BioScan is a comprehensive examination tool that evaluates the body and other factors.
BioScan offers a real-time (Electrodermal) testing and analysis system for recognized stressors. Not only that, but it also aids in nutritional testing by determining whether the product is in balance with the body.
With BioScan, you can now provide rapid readings and non-invasive testing on your patients’ and clients’ 14 primary body systems or scan the body against thousands of compounds to detect sensitivities and stressors.