Tag Archives: chronic condition

A Guide to Coping With a Newly Diagnosed Chronic Illness (Part 3)

It can be very tough to receive a new diagnosis, especially if it is something that may last a lifetime like lupus or diabetes, but there are things you can do to make your journey ahead easier. Let’s take a look at a few more tips for readying yourself to deal with a new chronic diagnosis:

Strive to Stay Positive

It is important when dealing with a chronic illness that you don’t sink into a comorbid depression. This can cloud your judgement when it comes to taking medications routinely or staying on a healthy, motivated path and will add a whole new layer to your suffering. Recent studies also suggest that looking to a higher power, developing a kinship with nature or engaging in any kind of spiritual activity or belief may help ease the burden of a chronic illness by promoting positivity. However, any healthy thing you think of that will both keep you smiling and ward off stress will do just fine!

Prepare for Flares

While we’ve established that positivity is a must in dealing with chronic illness, but it is also important not to set unrealistic expectations for your health. It is a good idea to be ‘cautiously optimistic’ during periods of disease remission (no symptoms): both happy you’re doing well, but also prepared in case things start to get rocky again. If you always ensure you’re prepared for turbulence along the way, you won’t be blindsided or discouraged if your illness has a flare-up. So basically, keep your smile but also keep a protective umbrella over your head so you’re ready if things take a tough turn.

Kick Chronic Stress to the Curb

Too much stress is not only terrible for everyone, but also happens to be a major trigger of many (if not all) chronic illnesses. When you are stressed, your adrenal hormones spike, causing your heart to pound in your chest, your neck and shoulder muscles to tense up, your blood pressure to rise and your breath to become irregularly fast. This is your body in its ‘fight or flight’ mode. If these levels are constantly thrown out-of-whack can incite symptoms of a dormant disease to resurface, especially in the case of autoimmune diseases. Stress also seems to be a front-running factor in heart disease. For the sake of your mental and physical wellbeing, get your stress under control today. Try some of our Stress Busters if you need some tips on how to lessen it.

Don’t Let Your Illness Overshadow Your Identity

Sometimes coming to terms with an illness that is out of control or overwhelming by nature can take over a person’s life. Between doctors, specialists, new medications, symptoms, flare-ups, and the emotional roller coaster you may be dealing with, it is hard to think of much else. However, even though the focus may have to be on your illness while you get to know it and try to get adjusted both mentally and physically (or if you are going through a bad flare-up), when things calm down it is a good idea to try to redirect your focus to the other things that are important to you.

We hope our guide to coping with a new chronic illness can help ease your difficult journey a little! If you haven’t already caught Part 1 and Part 2 of our guide, check them out today! Thanks for visiting DocChat.


Studies Say Telemedicine is Improving Chronic Condition Management

Recent studies illustrate how telemedicine is proving an effective tool in the management of chronic conditions. One study focused on how telemedicine enables diabetics to self-manage better. The 18-month study monitored diabetic patients who were set up to use a mobile glucometer, an online diabetes management program and a medical consultation service. The results indicated great improvement in the management of these patients’ care when it came to things like staying active, taking medication properly heating healthy and coping better.

Another study focused on how patients with chronic lung, heart or arthritic conditions utilized online resources and technology-based support groups to help better self-manage and cope with their chronic conditions.

The telemedicine and technological worlds are expanding together, and offering so many more tools and resources to people with life-long conditions than they had access to before. Some patients benefit from consulting their own doctors from the comfort of their home, or utilising services like DocChat which enable patients to get expert medical advice and treatment without exposing themselves to the dangers or inconveniences of a hospital or clinic.

In light of these recent developments, the future is looking much brighter for those with chronic health conditions.



Clinical Depression – So Much More Than ‘The Blues’

Somehow in our modern, rapidly progressing world, there still remains a cloud of stigma hanging over those who suffer from mental health conditions. This prejudice is founded on ignorance, so the best way to combat ignorance? Facts, education and awareness. Because of said ignorance, many people think of depression in completely the wrong terms. They may perceive a loved one’s diagnosis of clinical depression to be nothing more than a spell of ‘the blues’. Asking the sufferer, why can’t you just snap out of it? Well believe us, people who struggle with depressive disorder are so sick of hearing these tired clichés, and simply want their health condition to be as widely accepted and understood as physical conditions like diabetes are.

So What is Depressive Disorder?

Depression in itself, a short bout of sadness and despair caused by the loss of a loved one or another acutely troubling event, is encountered by nearly everyone at some point in life. A depressive disorder, however, go far beyond a short period of sadness. Depressive disorders, also known as clinical depression, last more than 2 weeks but often lasts much longer. It can range from intermittent waves of despair, guilt and hopelessness, to an all-encompassing physiological condition, affecting the brain as well as the rest of the body. Untreated major depression may lead to self-harm, or suicidal thoughts or tendencies which can be life-threatening if left unattended.

What Causes Depression?

Depression is a serious health condition resulting from neurochemical changes in the brain, but is most often caused by combination of factors including: nutrient deficiencies, the inability to cope with devastating events or circumstances, a chronic or life-threatening illness, genetics, hormonal imbalances, medication (such as certain severe acne treatments) or chronic stress, to name a few.

What Symptoms Does Depression Cause?

As with almost any illness, symptoms of clinical depression vary from person to person, however some of the most commonly experienced symptoms include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, guilt, apathy, distress or emptiness
  • An ever-present ‘blue mood’ that you often can’t shake off
  • Mood or personality changes such as becoming more easily irritable or angry
  • Newfound insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Lethargy and fatigue
  • Loss of interest in things you normally enjoy such as hobbies, work or love life
  • Fixation on negative thoughts
  • Loss of desire to engage in social activities
  • Or reliving past failures, constantly blaming yourself for things that weren’t your fault
  • Weight loss or weight gain (sometimes loss of interest in food)
  • Generalized pain or discomfort, limb or back pain
  • Psychomotor changes
  • Concentration and focus problems
  • Thoughts of self-harm or death

Is Depression Treatable?

Thankfully, yes! Depression is a highly treatable condition that almost always responds well to a combination of medical and therapeutic treatments and lifestyle changes. There is a wide range of medications available today to successfully treat depression. Unfortunately, people often don’t seek help when depressed, and if you don’t seek help, depression could get worse and worse. Undiagnosed or untreated major depressive disorder can be very dangerous, so if you have any of the above-listed symptoms it is very important to talk to your doctor soon about a treatment plan that best suits your condition.

Stay tuned for our next post where we will be taking a look at how diet changes may help alleviate some of the symptoms of depression. For more mental health resources check out our article: Sobering Statistics About Mental Health Thanks for visiting DocChat!

Hearing Loss and Disorder Facts

Hearing loss is a shockingly common problem in the United States that can have various causes and degrees of severity. Let’s take a look at some of the facts behind hearing loss:

  • Nearly 3 of every 1000 American children are born with varying degrees of hearing loss.
  • Parents of 90% of deaf children have no hearing problems themselves
  • There are 4 medically defined stages of hearing loss: mild, moderate, severe and profound.
  • Over 48 million America adults report some degree of hearing loss.
  • Approximately 4000 people suffer sudden hearing loss annually in the United States, and the cause is only found it 10-15% of these cases.
  • Some chronic diseases (namely heart diseases) can cause hearing loss by effecting how much blood is reaching the ears.
  • A trauma to the head can cause acute hearing loss (permanent or temporary).
  • About 5% of children have a disorder called Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) which prevents them from being able to distinguish some sounds from others. It causes confusion, inability to listen to instructions and noise intolerance.
  • Most hearing loss fades so gradually it is only detected when it is a significant issue.
  • According to the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), hearing loss is the third leading chronic physical condition after arthritis and heart disease.
  • Advanced age is the leading cause of hearing loss. Nearly half of adults aged 75 or order have disabling levels of hearing loss.
  • Unfortunately, hearing loss is often confused for dementia older persons because they may be confused, disoriented and off balance, symptoms that can correlate with cognitive decline. (Therefor, it is important for an older person’s hearing to be tested before looking into senility).
  • Some types of hearing loss can be treated with surgery, some can be helped with the use of a hearing aid, and some cases cannot be helped.
  • Genetics have a role to play in many cases of deafness and hearing loss.
  • Some cases of hearing loss are dependant on continuously noisy environments, for example 44% of carpenters develop early hearing loss.
  • Hearing problems and disorders are more prevalent among males than females.
  • Some medications such as antibiotics, blood thinners or chemotherapy medications can cause hearing loss.
  • Only 20% of those who can benefit from hearing aids actually utilize them. Many people find they change sound too much.
  • Sometimes ear infections can cause hearing loss, so if you have itchiness, clogged ears, swelling or other additional symptoms, have your doctor check for infection.

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