Receiving the diagnosis of a chronic disease can be a very traumatic experience. Many of us worry about how it will affect our lives, and whether our life expectancy and quality of life may decrease. When lifestyle changes are part of the treatment program, that concern can be reinforced.
The good news is that there is no reason to assume that a diagnosis of hypertension or diabetes is any kind of impediment to a happy, productive life. In fact, it can be very beneficial to your health and happiness to find out you have the condition, because once you have a diagnosis, you know what you need to do in order to minimize the impacts of your condition and, in the short term, to eliminate the symptoms that sent you to the doctor to begin with.
When we are diagnosed with some type of condition, we typically must address three major areas to keep its effects to a minimum.
Food giveth and food taketh away. The things that we eat can create many of the health problems that we experience later in life, with diabetes being a prime example. Excessive sugar intake for many years can ultimately lead to poor pancreatic function, interfering with the body’s ability to break down sugar. Diabetes is sure to follow.
Eating correctly can drastically improve the diabetic’s health, and with some careful research, it can do so in a way that isn’t nearly as disruptive as one might initially think. There are plenty of solutions out there for eating correctly with diabetes. Since sugar is the main culprit, you need to read up on sugar substitutes. There are lots of sweeteners on the market that can improve your diabetic health without sacrificing the tastes you enjoy. No need to eliminate your special coffee; just use sugar-free syrup instead of the traditional formulation.
There are very few conditions that aren’t improved with a good exercise program. With a diagnosis in hand, talk to your doctor about what types of physical activity will bring you the most benefit. Ask if there are certain considerations for levels of exertion or even the clothing you should wear to make your exercise safer.
A good exercise program will help you lose weight, which is good for anyone’s health. It will also strengthen your heart and lungs—another one that’s good for anybody. The same is true of building muscle mass and improving your mental health. Certainly, a diabetic needs to be cautious with exercise and not do too much, since your diet and medication are carefully structured around a given level of physical activity. But whatever your condition, the right exercise program will benefit you.
Just as diet and exercise are pertinent for any condition, medication can play a big role as well. Upon diagnosis, your doctor will discuss medication options for you. It is important to handle this step correctly. If your doctor can provide several choices, talk to your insurance company to find out which one will be most affordable based on your copay structure.
Don’t forget to address side effects and drug interactions. Review your complete list of existing medications with your doctor and make sure that the new additions will not cause a reaction with those. Discuss the situation with any other doctors who are treating you as well.
Once you’ve set a medication regimen, follow it. It does you no good to be prescribed something if you don’t take it consistently and as directed.
There are very few of us who never develop any kind of chronic health issue. Don’t be discouraged when yours emerges. Instead, focus your energy and attention on how to make the best possible life in spite of your diagnosis. You will find greater happiness and satisfaction in life, and you’ll set a great example for friends and family who may experience the same situation at some point.