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4 tips for managing ANY chronic condition

October 27, 2023
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A doctor taking a patient's blood pressure

If you are managing a chronic condition—or are at risk for one—creating self-care habits that support a healthy lifestyle will keep your condition in check.

These four steps can go a long way toward maintaining your health.

  1. See your healthcare provider: Preventive care can save lives. Creating an open dialogue and visiting your provider is important. Without regular check-ins, it’s hard to identify health problems. Developing a trusting relationship with your provider will give you an ally in achieving your health goals.
  2. Know your numbers: When you go to your provider for a routine visit, they may check your cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight. When we say it’s important to “know your numbers,” those are the numbers we mean. These values can be a good indicator of your risk for conditions like heart disease and diabetes. If you are already managing a condition, it will tell you if you are making progress, or if there are areas that need attention. If you’re taking medication for your chronic conditions, it’s important that you take them as prescribed. Medications can help keep your numbers under control.
  3. Stay active and eat well: No matter your age, level of ability, or health status, physical activity is important to aging well. The goal of exercise is to improve circulation and reduce body fat. Aerobic exercise improves circulation, so you should aim to do moderate activity for 30 minutes, most days of the week. This can be a brisk walk, swimming, or riding a stationary bike. Any amount of movement that is possible for you can make a big difference. The foods you choose can make a big difference in your health, too. When it comes to nutrition, a few general rules will help you manage a chronic condition. Choose more whole grains, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and reduce your daily sodium intake. With these small changes, you may start to see improvements in your numbers.
  4. Stay informed and on track with your care: If you’re juggling many provider appointments, it can sometimes be hard to keep up. Together with your primary care physician and specialists you want to have one shared care plan and participate in shared decision making. It’s important to stay informed and share information among your doctors. This will help you—and them—stay on track with your care goals.

Don’t forget your vaccines!

The CDC recommends annual flu shots for anyone six months or older. For people over 65, especially those with chronic conditions, a high-dose flu shot is recommended. A new COVID-19 booster is also available. Lastly, a new single-shot Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) vaccine is now available for adults 60 years or older. A trial of the RSV vaccine showed it was 83% effective in preventing a lower respiratory tract disease.

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