Living with a Chronic Illness: Tips for Coping with a New Diagnosis

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Receiving a diagnosis of a chronic illness like diabetes, cancer, or heart disease can come as a real shock. It’s normal to feel a range of emotions as you come to terms with your diagnosis. Grief, anger, guilt, and shame are all common reactions to a chronic disease diagnosis, but these feelings often ease with time. Eventually, you will come to accept your diagnosis and learn to thrive in the face of your condition. Here are some tips to help you cope!

Make Impactful Lifestyle Changes

People with chronic conditions can significantly reduce symptoms and improve their quality of life by making the appropriate lifestyle changes. The CDC explains that good lifestyle habits like regular exercise, healthy eating, getting enough sleep, and limiting alcohol consumption can help delay and manage chronic health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. For example, blueberries have been found to improve artery function and boost defense systems that prevent cancer. You can learn more about leveraging lifestyle habits to treat chronic conditions from online resources like NutritionFacts.org!

Organize Your Medical Records

Treating a chronic condition often means regular trips to doctors and specialists. Keeping track of all of your medical records can get confusing, so set up an organizational system now. This will make it easy to find old files and share information with doctors, family members, caregivers, and anyone else who is involved in your treatment. Keep in mind that PDF files are preferable over other formats like Microsoft Word and Excel. If your medical files exist in these formats, you can convert PDFs online with a simple drag-and-drop tool.

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Sort Out Your Health Insurance

Treating a chronic condition can become very expensive without health insurance. If you need to get a health insurance plan, start looking at your options now. Employer-sponsored coverage is always a great solution. If you work as a freelancer and don’t have a partner with an employment insurance plan that you can join, you will need to find your own coverage. Look for insurance plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace or the Freelancers Union.

Make sure you find a health insurance plan that provides the type of coverage you need to treat your illness. Alliance Health explains that most healthcare plans help with the cost of doctor visits, lab tests, prescription drugs, hospital care, and self-management programs. Keep in mind that insurance companies cannot deny your coverage due to existing chronic conditions!

Access Mental Health Support

Coping with a chronic illness isn’t just about caring for your body, but your mind as well. Many people don’t realize how stressful it is to live with a chronic condition. In fact, people with a chronic illness are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety and depression compared with the rest of the population. If you’re feeling hopeless, overwhelmed, or otherwise mentally depleted by your diagnosis, don’t hesitate to seek mental health support.

Online therapy solutions make it easy for anyone to access effective mental health services from home. Beyond offering convenience and affordability, online therapy is also secure and private. Plus, many online therapy platforms allow you to choose from a variety of licensed professionals, offering complimentary consultations to ensure patients find the right fit.

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No one is ever prepared to receive a diagnosis of a chronic illness. As you learn about your illness and find a way to live with it, take advantage of all the resources that are available to you. Accessing mental health help, using online tools to organize your medical records, and learning about your insurance options will make it easier to navigate your diagnosis and forge a path forward.

Do you want to learn how to treat your chronic illness with healthy lifestyle habits? Check out NutritionFacts.org for updates on the latest nutrition research!