HOW TO BE PROACTIVE ABOUT YOUR HEALTH

As the prevalence of chronic illnesses increase, people are using various tools to manage their conditions.

A patient's management of chronic illness can be enhanced with apps and smart watches.

Nov 19 2019

Every day, millions of Americans deal with the effects of chronic disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, six in 10 U.S. adults have a chronic disease and four in 10 have at least two chronic diseases.

The most common ailments include heart disease, chronic lung disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease. Among those dealing with these illnesses, millions face high cholesterol, high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome — issues that require consistent patient management to maintain good health.

The burden of chronic disease can weigh heavily and many have begun to focus on self-management, devoting time and energy to educating themselves about their diseases. The conditions require daily check-ins and awareness.

If you count yourself as part of this population, here are some different resources that can make patient management easier — no matter what you may be dealing with.

Advancements in Cutting-Edge Technology

There are now many tools available that can monitor your condition. In fact, some can even send health metrics and status reports to your doctor or alert you to trends that you can share with your physician during an appointment.

Pedometers, heart rate monitors, glucose monitors, apps and other tools make it easier for you to check what's going on and adjust your activities if necessary.

Digital assistants like Amazon's Alexa are becoming part of patient self-management. According to Amazon, Alexa is now able to partner with some healthcare organizations to send communications between you and members of your care team.

However, you shouldn't rely solely only on these tools. If you are feeling different than usual and aren't sure why, you should definitely check with your doctor.

Local Hospitals, Clinics, Employers and Community Organizations

Your local community may host wellness events where you can have your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and heart rate checked. You can also search for diabetes education classes, cooking classes, smoking cessation programs or events about other health topics. Take advantage of these offerings to learn more about how you can better manage your health.

Additionally, more and more businesses have begun to offer wellness programs for their employees. If offered at your organization, you can use them to lower your risk for certain diseases, learn how to effectively manage chronic conditions or make lifestyle changes that will improve your health. If you're unsure what your company offers or how it works, don't hesitate to contact your human resources department.

Online Resources and Guides

Government agencies provide a wealth of disease-specific information online, as do health companies and regional health systems. By performing a quick search, you're sure to find a number of informational how-to guides and helpful video series that explain how to best manage a chronic condition.

Some online resources to start with include:

Doctors Can Point Toward More Resources

If you ever have questions or begin feeling overwhelmed, don't hesitate to make an appointment to speak with someone in your provider's office. Being proactive is the best way to stay healthy and keep chronic illness from interfering with the activities you enjoy.

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