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(609) 336-7518

09AM to 05PM EST

What is Self Management In Chronic Diseases?

Primary caregivers play a vital role in the health and wellness of patients. However, little do you know that, at times, self-management of diseases is also crucial because it is not always possible for your caregiver to be with you. Chronic diseases may include diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, etc. Unfortunately, such chronic diseases tend to follow patients throughout their lives. This article sheds light on what self-management is in chronic diseases, its emphasis, and all the important aspects related to it.

What is a chronic disease?

Before we move towards the self-management of chronic diseases, let us learn about what chronic diseases are. Chronic diseases are referred to as “unstable” health conditions that are bound to stay with a person their entire lives. However, they are not harmful when treated regularly. 

In some cases, chronic diseases can be very burdensome and often restrict a person from carrying out regular activities. Around 60 to 70% of the entire population in the US is affected by chronic diseases. The age group that lies under the threat of chronic diseases ranges from 35 to 60 years of age.

Here is a closer look at some of the most common chronic diseases: 

  • Heart diseases such as hypertension
  • Kidney stones 
  • Diabetes mellitus 
  • Arthritis 
  • Lung diseases such as asthma and COPD 
  • Stomach ulcers 
  • Problems with the thyroid (hyper/hypo)
  • Skin diseases such as eczema

How are chronic diseases diagnosed?

If you want to know about chronic disease management, you first need to acknowledge how chronic diseases can be diagnosed and what factors make their existence so prevalent. The first and foremost method for the diagnosis of any disease is to look at the signs and symptoms. 

Secondly, the best methods for diagnosing chronic diseases can be based on the patient’s history. A detailed history of any disease is sufficient to reach a diagnosis and plan any treatment accordingly. When it comes to medical assistance for chronic diseases, a physician will run a series of tests, and then according to the results, they will facilitate the management through therapeutic aids. 

However, this is something very different in the case of self-management. Patients undergoing self-management are encouraged to identify their disease themselves and pay close attention to their signs and symptoms, followed by regular monitoring of the levels associated with the disease. 

What is self-management in chronic disease?

When it comes to self-management in chronic diseases, it is the method through which a candidate or a patient can identify, treat and manage the chronic disease themselves. There is one thing you need to know about what is self-management in chronic disease is that you should not try any home remedy or take medicines from the referral of a second person but rather:

  • managing the disease through other means, such as improving your lifestyle
  •  changing your eating habits
  •  taking good care of your health
  •  adapting new behavioral changes
  •  Learning how a drug interacts with any other drug 
  • avoiding medications that have more side effects than the good indications
  •  striving to meet or seek professional help 
  • using self-knowledge or common sense for coping with diseases 
  • trying to reach the right access to medical healthcare organizations.

On the contrary, self-management of chronic disease does not mean that the patient should be a healthcare professional or own a medical degree. It just demands the patient stay focused on what is actually triggering the disease, progressing it, and limiting it.

If you keep a check on your lifestyle, you can likely limit the risk of any kind of chronic disease. In some cases, chronic diseases run in the family history and genetics, so they are destined to be passed on to the offspring. In such cases, you can restrict yourself from choosing the path that can trigger the disease.

For example, any patient in whose family with Diabetes mellitus is running commonly should refrain from consuming high carbohydrates. This is just a prophylaxis of the treatment before it has even been diagnosed.

What are the medical treatment modalities for chronic diseases?

Hospital management for chronic diseases, or one that is carried out by a sound physician, is quite different from self-management. Let us dive in and learn more about how medical treatment of chronic diseases is done on a routine basis.  

Proper history Taking

Disease, the first and foremost step in recording a diagnosis of any disease is to closely pay attention to the signs and symptoms, their duration, and the length of time the symptoms have been present in the patient. In addition, a detailed history itself can be very helpful in reaching a definite diagnosis of chronic disease.

Investigations

To confirm the disease, investigations can be carried out through various laboratory tests, X-rays, ultrasounds, or other relevant diagnostic tools.

Medical Treatment

According to physicians and surgeons, the ideal method for the treatment of chronic diseases includes: 

Therapeutic aids

Therapeutic aid is referred to as the medications prescribed by the doctor and the recommendations for lifestyle changes.

Surgical intervention

In cases where the chronic disease is very progressive, can be fatal, and can be damaging to other vital organs and structures, surgical intervention becomes quite imperative. 

For example, in cases of arthritis, if the pain is severe and the patient is bedridden, an artificial knee replacement surgery can be done in order to relieve the joint pain and also facilitate the patient’s return to regular daily life activities.

Effects of changes in lifestyle on chronic diseases

As far as lifestyle changes are concerned, they are also considered part of chronic disease self-management. So, let’s look at how lifestyle changes can affect the management of chronic diseases.  

Regulation of blood glucose through a workout

When you exercise and make it a regular habit, you can help speed up your body’s metabolism. In the case of candidates with diabetes, a daily brisk walk can help keep their blood glucose levels at optimum levels. Similarly, patients with high levels of cholesterol should exercise daily. The more you burn, the less cholesterol tends to accumulate in your body. 

Lifestyle changes act as an immunity booster. 

When you bring about a change in your lifestyle, either through dietary modifications or through body workouts, you are very likely to welcome a better state and mechanism of immunity in your body.   

Consuming important minerals and vitamins through dietary modification can help boost your body’s immune system and give rise to defensive antibodies. This can be a great warrior against chronic diseases that are very likely to trigger infections.

A routine check-up is part of a healthy lifestyle.

Self-management does not mean that you abide by home remedies and old wives’ tales. It can also contribute to reaching your physician at the right time before the disease progresses into a much worse state. 

Embrace an adequate sleeping pattern 

A normal, healthy individual needs around 6 to 8 hours of sleep without interruption. This seems to be an ample duration because in 6 to 8 hours, your body can metabolize and your brain can rest significantly. Not having a proper sleeping pattern can only lead to agitation, irritation, and unhealthy slackness at any time of the day.

 

How safe is self-management of chronic diseases? 

Where doctors and other health professionals promote self-management for chronic disease, there is one thing that is often unnoticed and neglected. Many patients have at times reported it to medical practices in a very worst condition of chronic diseases after they have undergone wrong treatments performed by themselves.

This can be because you follow any home remedy without proper research or seek help on the Internet without having proper knowledge of the disease itself. It is highly recommended that self-management does not mean that you search for medications online and start consuming them; rather, it means adopting a healthy lifestyle, developing better dietary habits, monitoring and documenting the levels, and consulting your physician at the right time.

When to seek medical help?

When you come across any of the following conditions, seeking care at a primary care clinic becomes important. 

  • When you notice your blood glucose levels rising or declining abruptly
  •  excessive sweating or uncontrolled hyperhidrosis
  •  difficulty in breathing
  •  Blurred vision or feeling constantly dizzy
  •  severe headache that is associated with high blood pressure

The Final Verdict

When it comes to addressing what is known as chronic disease management, it wholly depends on what the physician has prescribed or recommended and how significantly the patient follows it. On the other hand, self-management of chronic disease is how patients adapt their lifestyles for a better life. 

 


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Our Team

Dr Farhan Malik
Dr. Farhan Malik Primary Care Physician
Dr Shoaib Malik
Dr. Shoaib Malik Primary Care Physician

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