Live Longer – Self-Manage Your Chronic Conditions



As a RN and Care Manager, I help patients and their families manage chronic conditions like, Diabetes, Arthritis, High Blood Pressure, and Lung diseases. 

Did you know that 80% of older adults have 1 chronic condition? Did you know that 99% of management of those conditions are in the hands of the individuals and their families? Let’s first discuss the top 10 conditions in adults age 65+:

  1. High blood pressure
  2. High cholesterol
  3. Arthritis
  4. Heart disease
  5. Diabetes
  6. Kidney disease
  7. Heart failure
  8. Depression
  9. Alz/dementia
  10. Lung disease
What can families and patients do? It is called, Self-management. A definition is offered by Improving Chronic Illness Care, “the decisions and behaviors that patients with chronic illness engage in that affect their health.  Self-management support is the care and encouragement provided to people with chronic conditions and their families to help them understand their central role in managing their illness, make informed decisions about care, and engage in healthy behaviors”.

Therefore, good daily decisions improve your health and ability to live longer without complications of your chronic conditions. Self-management of your chronic conditions is empowerment, because you are taking control and taking a stance to gain power to manage your conditions with your providers as a part of your team. That’s right, your providers are a part of your team, you should and must have a say in and understand all decisions made, in regards to medications, tests, procedures, and so on.

On other hand, a portion of the ability to be empowered is through education. For accurate and reliable information about your chronic conditions, visit sites like - Center for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/ and US National Library of Medicine https://medlineplus.gov/.

Each condition listed above, requires different activities or interventions on your part and your providers part in order for you to live longer. But overall some points include:
  • Educate yourself – For example, if your cholesterol is borderline, you may be able to improve it with nutrition and exercise instead of taking medications, know your numbers and discuss with your providers, if you can make the changes without medication, it is okay to tell your provider, no, but follow up with your plans and thoughts, that’s team work. Do not just say, "No" without reason, because you will be labeled as "non-compliant"
  • Your providers are your partner - so I am going to say this bluntly, take responsibility for your health, and don't leave everything to your provide
  • Have a team – it is okay to see someone on how to change eating habits (nutritionist or dietitian) or if you feel like your primary provider is not equipped to help with your high blood pressure or heart failure, find a heart doctor (cardiologist), they specialize in the heart 😊; include your family and friends in your changes therefore you can have healthy competition with support
  • Make a healthy investment in yourself – stop smoking, lose weight, exercise more, and change eating habitats, this decreases stress on your body, therefore it is more equipped to help you manage your conditions
  • Have goals – we all have something we need to work on; write them down and review them daily, then reward yourself when you reach or complete a goal
  • Know your medications – if you have side effects or some medications cost too much discuss with the provider who ordered it or the pharmacists, don’t just stop taking the medication, there are programs available to help with costs or even generic medications, which are just as effective
Overall, managing chronic conditions, to live longer, is not an easy feat, but it can be done. I have helped countless patient and families do so; do not try to go it alone, each condition is unique, like you, in what is needed; if you would like more information or help, consult Evolve Senior Solutions, LLC for help through your journey.

Data retrieved from https://www.ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/get-the-facts/chronic-disease-facts/ ; https://cmcd.sph.umich.edu/; https://www.ncoa.org/blog/10-common-chronic-diseases-prevention-tips/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=NCOA_Week&utm_medium=email; http://www.improvingchroniccare.org/index.php?p=SelfManagement_Support&s=39 

Thank you for reading, A RN: Disclosed! Thank you for sharing! 

Stay connected! 

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