Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Book Review: Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions

by Kristen West

Navigating chronic conditions can be tricky, especially when you are caring for someone with a chronic condition for the first time, or while you yourself have a chronic condition. Luckily, researchers at Stanford University wrote a book about how to better manage chronic conditions. 

Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions by Kate Lorig, David Sobel, and Virginia Gonzalez, is designed to instruct individuals to manage pain so they can live with chronic pain while living a satisfying, fulfilling life. The book draws input from people with long-term aliments, and points the way to achieving the best possible life under non-traditional circumstances. 

The book covers information such as understanding and managing common symptoms; exercising for flexibility, strength, and balance; communicating with family, friends, and health care professionals; healthy eating; managing medication; and making treatment decisions. The text is broken down into sections so you can skip around without having to read the book cover to cover and still gain valuable information. The book is also resourceful reference guide for everyday issues and includes many visual aids and quick reference charts. 

Additionally, Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions is a companion book to the Better Choices, Better Health or Chronic Disease Self-Management Program which is offered through Familylinks in Allegheny County. The program is a workshop for adults given two and half hours, once a week, for six weeks, in community settings such as senior centers, churches, libraries, and hospitals. People with different chronic health problems attend together and discuss chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease, and strokes. Workshops are facilitated by two trained leaders, one or both of whom are non-health professionals with a chronic disease themselves.

Researchers have found that people who participated in the program demonstrated significant improvements in exercise, cognitive symptom management, communication with physicians, self-reported general health, health distress, fatigue, disability, and social/role activities limitations. They also spent fewer days in the hospital and trend toward fewer outpatient visits and hospitalizations.

For more information about a program in your area, click here

Whether you choose to participate in the class, or peruse the book, you are sure to learn some tricks to better care for yourself and your loved one.