Coping with Your Diagnosis of a Chronic Health Condition

Man and woman sitting at table looking at electronic tablet.If you have a chronic health condition, you have a problem that may not go away over time. Heart disease, asthma, arthritis, and diabetes are just a few of the chronic conditions that exist. While your condition may not have a cure, you can take an active role in managing your health.

Coping with your diagnosis

If you've just learned about your health condition, you may be angry, depressed, or afraid. Or you might feel relieved just to know what's wrong. Even if you've known about your health problem for a while, adjusting to it can be hard. But learning about your condition can help you cope. Look for accurate and up-to-date books at your local library. If you have access to a computer, check for reliable health information online. Ask your healthcare provider for online resources that provide the most accurate, up-to-date information. Or contact a group that focuses on your specific problem.

Accepting change

Change is hard for most people. Yet right now you may be facing many changes. What you eat or the way you work may change. Your moods and even your symptoms might vary from day to day. It isn’t easy. But learning to accept change can help you feel more in control.

Think about asking your family and trusted friends for support. Remember that they may not know much about your condition. They may need information to understand what you are going through. The more they understand, the more they will be able to support you.

Taking control

Feeling you have control can make living with your condition easier. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider. The more you know, the more active you can be in your care.

Moving forward

You may wonder if you will be able to do the things you've always done. That depends on your age, the condition you have, and your goals. To make the most of each day, try to build caring relationships, be active, limit weight gain, avoid smoking and excessive alcohol use, and eat right. Think about getting counseling if you have trouble coping with the diagnosis and have increased feelings of sadness or frustration. It may be hard at times. But also do your best to keep a sense of humor.