Tag Archives: chronic illness

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.


A Guide to Coping With a Newly Diagnosed Chronic Illness (Part 2)

It can be both overwhelming and scary to receive a new diagnosis, especially if it is something that may last a lifetime like lupus or diabetes, but there are many things you can do to make your journey ahead easier. In our last post, we looked a the first few tips for coping with a chronic diagnosis, now for some more helpful hints to set you down a positive path:

Be Fair To Yourself

We can all be a little hard on ourselves sometimes, but there’s a special kind of frustration that comes with a chronic illness when it gets in the way of everyday activities or things you want to do. It can be easy to berate yourself, “Why can’t I just do this? I always could before!”, but that kind of attitude will only lead to more frustration. You have to be kind to yourself and give yourself the allowance you may need to adapt to your shifting capabilities. You can only do what you can do.

Restructure Your Life As Necessary  

That brings us right into our next tip, once you receive your diagnosis a lot of things may become clear, like why you’ve been feeling sick for so long. It may also become apparent that your life now holds new challenges that you need to ready yourself for. If you need to ease the burden in your life to avoid harmful stress, that’s okay. If you can’t go for coffee with your friend, pick up the kids, meet your deadline for work and cook supper when you’re not feeling up to snuff, then simplify. Prioritize the things that need to be done, and let the rest wait for another day.

Seek Support

Reach out to others in a way that works for you. Try a local support group, or an one that is based online. If support groups aren’t for you, turn to family or friends if you need some help navigating your newly modified life trajectory. Reach out for help when you need it, don’t suffer in silence while you try to be an island.

Take Downbeats When You Need Them

If you’re overtired or not well, don’t try to be a hero. For certain chronic illnesses like lupus, if you don’t take breaks and rest days when you need them, you’re asking for a full-on attack of symptoms. If you are fatigued, rebuild your energy with a down day so you’re ready to tackle everything the upcoming day or week has in store for you.

Keep an eye out for more helpful tips for coping with chronic illness in the future! Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you’ll check back again soon.


A Guide to Coping With a Newly Diagnosed Chronic Illness (Part 1)

It can be daunting to receive a new diagnosis, especially if it is of the chronic variety. If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic illness, it means you have a disease or condition that lasts for a long time (sometimes the rest of your life). Chronic illnesses are usually incurable, but treatable. Let’s take a look at a few helpful hints for coping with a new chronic diagnosis:

Accept What You Can’t Change

As with any serious bump in the road, the first step to dealing with a tricky diagnosis is to accept it. It can be temping to convince yourself you don’t have congestive heart failure or lupus like the doctors have told you and the tests have shown you, but this will only do you a disservice. If you are to do everything in your power to be as healthy as you can be, you need to face your condition head-on.

Be Your Own Advocate

When you struggle with a serious illness, it can be a long and winding road of emotional doctor’s appointments, tests and re-tests and conflicting opinions. While doctors are invaluable to the process, you shouldn’t just coast on blind faith. The best outcome will be achieved if you work together as a team, with you bringing the knowledge of your situation and symptoms, and the doctor bringing the medical expertise. At the end of the day, you are the one who lives your life and knows your body best and a doctor can’t read your mind. Your health journey should be a team trip, with you in the driver’s seat.

Foster Good Communication With Your Docs  

It pays to be on good terms with your attending physicians and specialists. If you have a chronic condition, chances are you’ll be needing them to take good care of you for the foreseeable future. If you’re a difficult patient, you may want to step back and reflect on how to change that. Even though any good doctor doesn’t let his or her feelings toward a patient color their care, it stands to reason that if you have a good relationship, he or she will be more likely to go the extra mile for you.

Knowledge Is A Friend 

While googling health concerns in excess can sometimes lead to health anxiety, if you have a specifically diagnosed illness, it is a good idea to at least read up on it. By learning more about your condition, you will be more aware of new developments in treatment, tips that can help ease your illness or potential complications to be on the lookout for. Just be careful not to let your research get the best of you, as that can have its own negative consequences.

Do Your Part

Your illness is not a one-way street where your doctor has to do all the work to better your quality of life, you have an active role to play in this movie too. It is important to do your homework and make the positive lifestyle changes you need to make to ensure a healthier future. If you have extra weight to lose, get it off. If you need to exercise more, get on it. If you should start eating better or following a certain nutritional plan, start today. You can’t expect to gain control of your health if you don’t do your part to get there.

There you have the first few of our chronic illness coping tips, check out Part 2 next! Thanks for visiting DocChat!


Prediabetes – Nature’s Warning Label

Prediabetes is a health condition whereby a person’s blood-sugar levels are chronically elevated higher than normal, but not yet quite in the zone of diabetes. It is startlingly common in the United States, affecting approximately 1 in 3 American adults. Unfortunately, many people don’t take prediabetes seriously, which may be one of the foremost contributing factors to the extraordinarily high number of Americans who go on to develop type 2 diabetes.

What are the Symptoms of Prediabetes?

Some people don’t experience any symptoms even though their blood-sugars are elevated, while others seek medical attention because they begin having some of the early symptoms of diabetes such as increased thirst, frequent urination, blurred vision or fatigue. Whether or not the person is having symptoms, elevated sugars are enough cause for concern to start acting upon.

Can Prediabetes Lead To All Types of Diabetes?

No, prediabetes only leads to type 2 diabetes (and may have a correlation with gestational diabetes as well), but it cannot lead to Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition whereby the body attacks the pancreas, causing problems with insulin production. Type 1 has no prerequisite and cannot be prevented, whereas type 2 can most often be prevented by making healthier lifestyle alterations such as exercising more, quitting smoking, cutting down on alcohol consumption and adhering to a healthy diet.

The Heated Prediabetes Debate

There is a moderately large camp of medical professionals standing in opposition to prediabetes awareness campaigns, viewing the term as rash, overzealous and responsible for unnecessary testing. These doctors believe a diagnosis of prediabetes alarms people more than helps them. To this sentiment, Ann Albright, the CDC’s director of the Division of Diabetes has rebutted, “Our major message is to use this as a warning, not to frighten people. It’s just not an option to stand by and watch millions of people march to diabetes.” Most medical professionals seem to err on the side of the CDC, looking at a prediabetes screening as a good way to set people down a better path of self-care so as to avoid a bigger health problem down the line.

Why You Should Take Prediabetes Seriously

Prediabetes can be a direct precursor to type 2 diabetes, a life-threatening and often debilitating disease that can cause kidney failure, loss of limbs, cardiovascular complications and more. Being that type 1 and 2 diabetes are collectively the 7th leading cause of death in the united states, it is important to take a diagnosis of prediabetes seriously so you can positively change the trajectory of your future before type 2 diabetes takes a hold of your life.

Time to Answer the Wake-up Call

If you are diagnosed with prediabetes, look at it as a second chance to get your health on track before you head down the harrowing path of no return to full-on diabetes. If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes or suspect you may have it, check out some of our diabetes prevention tips, and talk to your doctor about a personalized lifestyle action plan to help you turn your health around before it becomes too difficult to do so!

Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any questions about diabetes, prediabetes or any other health issue, our talented, board certified physicians are around 24/7/365 to assist you!




Invisible Disabilities (Part 1) – More Than Meets The Eye

A disability is a chronic health condition that interferes with one’s daily living by impeding routine activities. So what’s an invisible disability? According to Disabled-World, the term refers to people with chronic debilitating conditions (mental or physical) that are not obvious to an onlooker. Someone with a severe vision problem may use a seeing eye dog, or someone with a spinal cord injury may occupy a wheelchair, whereas people with invisible disabilities have no visible aids or obvious defining characteristics.

Types Of Invisible Disabilities

The Invisible Disabilities Association states, “There are thousands of (invisible) illnesses, disorders, diseases, dysfunctions, birth defects, impairments and injuries that can be debilitating.” A few examples of invisible disabilities include any type of moderate-to-severe arthritis, autoimmune conditions such as lupus, mental disabilities like schizophrenia or severe anxiety, diabetes, heart ailments, seizure disorders, respiratory diseases, bowel conditions, brain injuries, among many others.

Facts And Figures

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about half of the American population lives with one or more chronic health issues, though many of which are not considered disabilities. The CDC states that arthritis is the most common disability with over 53 million sufferers countrywide with some form of the disease. Moreover, The Invisible Illness Association asserts that over 26 million Americans have what constitutes a severe disability and of that group only 6 million use crutches, canes, wheelchairs or other obvious aids. Therefore, a whopping 74% of Americans with severe debilitating conditions have disabilities of the invisible variety.

Human Nature – Seeing Is Believing

Unfortunately, there is a social stigma surrounding invisible illness in our society. You’ve heard the old adage ‘seeing is believing’. In actuality, that should rarely be the case. According to Media Toolkit (a non-profit awareness and education group), invisible disabilities are often met with hostility. “People with some kinds of invisible disabilities such as chronic pain or sleep disorders are often accused of faking or imagining their disabilities.” This unhealthy attitude is unfair and needs an overhaul.

Mental Illness Stigma

Psychology Today asserts that such discrimination and prejudicial behavior is unfortunately commonly associated with mental illness. “In relation to social stigma, studies have suggested that stigmatizing attitudes towards people with mental health problems are widespread and commonly held.” This approach needs to change as well, as these negative attitudes trivialize the struggles of so many people who suffer daily, often leaving them feeling alienated from others.

Confusion? Understandable. Prejudice? Not So Much.

It is reasonable that some people are confused about what constitutes a disability. As the statistics show, just because someone has an illness does not mean they have a disability. Often people who appear to be incapacitated are not, while people who appear perfectly healthy are actually quite restricted. Many people feel they know someone who “capitalizes on an illness” or exaggerates, but looks truly can be deceiving and our initial assessments of a person’s situation are often completely wrong.

Clearing Up The Confusion

The Invisible Disabilities Association addresses these misconceptions. “Just because a person has a disability, does not mean they are disabled. Many living with these challenges are still fully active in their work, families, sports or hobbies. Some with disabilities are able to work full or part time, but struggle to get through their day, with little or no energy for other things. Others are unable to maintain gainful or substantial employment due to their disability, have trouble with daily living activities and/or need assistance with their care.” So while we may interact with people who have invisible illnesses, we never really know what living someone else’s life truly entails.
Keep an eye out for Part 2 – a revolutionary theory explaining invisible illnesses in a relatable way, as well as some resources for people suffering with chronic disabilities.