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January 18, 2023

How to Live with and Maintain Chronic Illnesses

As the New Year has begun and many are motivated to implement more healthy habits into their lives, hear from Jeanne Bernat, FNP-C discuss the ways Avance Care is able to offer needed support for those with chronic conditions wanting to make healthy changes in their lives.

How to Live with and Maintain Chronic Illnesses

Living with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and overweight can be challenging.  I hear from people with chronic conditions say they don’t have time to eat a healthy diet, exercise, or get 8 hours of sleep due to the responsibilities of work and family.

All of us are being pushed to do more and more in 24 hours, and this does make it difficult to start and maintain healthy lifestyles. Most of us are only looking at today, maybe looking ahead 6 months. But as a medical provider, I am looking at today, tomorrow, next year, and 30 to 40 years down the road. I am treating you as though you are going to live to be 100 years old. What we do today significantly impacts our health in years to come. Most bad habits that people have will shorten their lifespan such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, eating high calorie diets, being overweight, and having high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

I advise people with chronic conditions to make one small obtainable goal a week, whether it be decreasing sugar intake, appropriate meal portions, or starting or increasing exercising. Once that goal has been achieved and is maintainable, then add an additional goal. If someone makes a goal to change everything at once, failure is more likely to occur. Remember, this is a lifestyle change – not a change until weight decreases, blood pressure is normal, or lab work improves. You did not develop unhealthy habits overnight, and you should not expect to fix everything at once.

At Avance Care, we have knowledgeable and certified family providers. We see patients with chronic illnesses all day, every day. We also have a wonderful support team such as dietitians, diabetic dietitians, and behavioral health therapists to collaborate with and help you towards total wellness. This support team supports both the provider and patient by allowing for more hands-on guidance to the patient and also keeping the entire care team involved in progress or setbacks.

Our behavioral health therapists help people with chronic illnesses who have developed depression and need talk therapy to turn negative thinking into positive thinking. Our dietitians not only help with meal planning, but also provide ways to incorporate healthier eating and exercise into our lives. We also have Chronic Care Managers (CCM) for persons with Medicare and 2 or more chronic illnesses. Care Managers contact you on a regular basis to assess if you are able to afford medications or have social barriers that prevent you from getting food, medications, going to a doctor appointment, etc.

Our lives are busy, but I think most of us could improve on being healthier to some degree. Having a relationship with your primary care provider and support staff can help with changes and ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

If your chronic condition is not controlled, and you would like to improve your health, visit with your Avance Care provider. Now is great time to start living healthy going into the New Year.

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