Monday, September 21, 2009

Understanding Chronic Health Conditions: Part 4

One of the hardest things to do when you are an independent person and someone who has always worked for a living is adjusting to life with a chronic health condition that limits your ability to function on a daily basis. At it's best a slower pace is going to help you manage your condition and remain functionally fit for a longer period of time. At it's worst is going to make you question your self worth and your purpose in life.

I am one of those people who felt that perfection in everything I did was my ticket to love, respect and value as a person amongst my family, friends and co-workers. I had the perfect house; always clean and fresh smelling, everything in it's place and magazine picture ready. I was the best employee my boss ever had; punctual, detailed, effective and always the first to come in and the last to go home after hours. I put so much of me into everything I did and everyone I loved I had nothing left for myself.

When I finally had to accept that the doctor was right and that I was sick I had ran myself into a very delicate medical state. When I finally recognized myself as a chronically sick person because I could no longer performed at the level of "perfection" I imposed on myself it was a very sad day for me. When I finally surrendered what I expected and traded it for what I needed to do to be able to function at my personal best with a chronic health condition I discovered that my life had not ended it had simply changed.


  1. Pace yourself, and try to stick to a fairly regular schedule.
  2. Take note of when you are overtired or overanxious, and try to modify your activities accordingly.
  3. Prioritize activities, and don't overextend yourserlf.
  4. Ask for help when help is needed; seek out support programs in your community or online if necessary.


  • Ask your doctor if there is a special diet you should follow, foods that you should avoid or foods that are specially good for you.

  • Get treatment for dental problems promptly such as missing or loose teeth, gum disease or tooth decay that may interfere with eating or get a dental check up if you have not had one in the past year.

  • Get treatment right away for any condition or sympton that interferes with eating such as heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, trouble swallowing and changes in appetite or eating habits as they may signal another problem.

  • Maintain activity levels as much as possible. Talk to your doctor about specific exercises or physical therapy that might help you manage your symptoms and maintain a healthy weight. Stretch. Walk. Take deep breaths and slowly release several times a day. Swim or join a water exercise program. Garden or Dance. Anything that will keep you moving and preserve you lung capacity if good for you.


More than half of people over age 40 report sleep problems related to stress, which can significantly affect quality of life, cause great distress, impair memory, concentration and alertness.

Sleep problems may be a sympton of a medical condition or psychiatric disorder -- most commonly depression -- or may be side effects of medications

Talk to your doctor if you notice changes in your sleep pattern that persist for more than two weeks, such as difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night or waking too early in the morning.

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