Life is never predictable! Especially, with regards to chronic health issues as they seem to develop within the human body and many people won’t be aware of it till it strikes one day.
And then after, no matter what, it won’t easily subside despite all the medications and health precautions were taken as it is by then already out of hands.
People should either accept and live with it or panic themselves for life despite adequate medical support available for most of the chronic ailments.
But is a chronic ailment that horrendous for one’s health, that can affect both their physical and mental well-being? How can a person diagnosed chronically ill insure (read: surround) himself with happiness that will ensure them of overall well being in fine fettle?
There is a cycle of stress associated with chronic diseases. The stress resulting out of a chronic condition creates anxiety which in turn increases pain and that further adds up to stress creating another whole new cycle of stress.
Thus, stress, anxiety, and pain decrease happiness. This is the circle where one who is affected by a chronic illness lives but again it differs from person to person.
Many people get easily caught up in the vicious cycle of stress despite having the will and chance to live out of it.
Chronic illness, for some, is an opportunity to bring out the best in them, in terms of fighting back their illness with more immunity power, maturing oneself at least beyond four years in the process of dealing with the constant illness and pain that accompanies a chronic ailment, learning to appreciate the little things in one’s life, developing many exciting new hobbies if away from one’s vocation, opening new doors in every walk of life despite the closing of existing doors, preparing to change and direct one’s life for the better and not allowing the illness to haunt them for life, etc.
Nevertheless, with or without a chronic ailment, stress is a bane to one’s existence and one should discover or know certain things that need to be kept in mind in order to put stress under check and reduce their stress levels caused due to the haunting chronic pain cum illness.
But right away, it is important to know what is a chronic health problem and ten ways to be happier even when a chronic health issue surfaces in one’s life.
What Is A Chronic Health Problem?
A chronic condition is nothing but a human health condition or disease which is persistent or in other words a disease that’s long-lasting in its end results which come with time.
It is a fact that the phrase ‘chronic’ is applied to a specific disease only when its duration persists for more than three months.
Regular chronic diseases which are included as per the definition of the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics are cancer, arthritis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and some viral diseases like hepatitis C and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
Likewise, an illness which is lifelong resulting in death as a consequence is a terminal illness. In medicine, a chronic condition can be differentiated from the one that is acute.
The non-communicable diseases are very much the lasting medical conditions that are distinguished owing to their non-infectious causes. In contrast, though some chronic diseases, like HIV/AIDS, are caused by transmissible infections.
As per the health statistics of the United States, 25% of adults have a minimum of two chronic conditions while the chronic diseases constitute a major cause of mortality, and the World Health Organization (WHO) attributes 38 million deaths a year to non-communicable diseases.
When it comes to describing chronic diseases, a doctor might use the words “controlled” or “stable” to describe one’s cancer if it’s unchanged over time.
The chronic disease can even go through the cycles of growing, shrinking, and staying the same sans any change.
Chronic diseases will prevail to be more common with age. Old age factor too plays a big role in deciding the kind of chronic diseases that can affect an individual.
The leading chronic diseases in developed countries include arthritis, cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and stroke, cancer such as breast and colon cancer, diabetes, epilepsy and seizures, obesity, and oral health problems. Each of these conditions afflicts older adults in the United States.
For instance, cardiovascular disease is one among the growing concerns of the chronic ailments in the US with heart disease becoming the nation’s leading cause of death owing to the three health-related behaviors such as tobacco use, lack of physical activity, and poor nutrition which contribute markedly towards heart disease.
Heart disease is followed by cancer, obesity, arthritis, diabetes, oral health issues, epilepsy, etc among other major chronic health issues affecting the US population.
Types Of Chronic Health Issues
Chronic conditions have often been cited to discuss the various health-related states of the human body like physical impairments, syndromes, disabilities as well as diseases.
Epidemiologists have taken stakes in chronic conditions due to the fact they contribute to disease, disability, and diminished physical and/or mental capacity.
For example, hypertension or high blood pressure is considered to be not just a chronic condition in itself but also correlated to diseases like a heart attack or stroke.
Additionally, some socio-economic factors may be rounded off as a chronic condition as they lead to disability in daily life.
In 2015, the World Health Organisation listed a report on non-communicable diseases, citing the four major types in the list below which includes the following chronic conditions and diseases:
- Cardiovascular diseases like heart failure, cerebrovascular disease, and ischemic cardiopathy,
- Chronic respiratory conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asthma, and
- Diabetes mellitus.
Other examples of chronic diseases and health conditions include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Attention deficit hyperactivity dysfunction
- Autoimmune diseases, such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, coeliac disease, lupus erythematosus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and deteriorating polychondritis
- Bipolar disorder
- Cerebral palsy (all types)
- Chronic hepatitis
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic osteoarticular diseases, like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic pain syndromes viz., post-vasectomy pain syndrome and complex regional pain syndrome
- Deafness and hearing impairment
- Eating disorders
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Periodontal disease
- Sickle cell anemia and other hemoglobin disorders
- Sleep apnea
- Thyroid disease
- Tobacco Use and Related Conditions.
What Are The Ways To Be Happier?
Like in case of many chronically ill patients who normally become ill at least in their late 30s or above, have complex overlapping diagnoses that involve pain and fatigue.
Though it will be difficult for a chronic patient to accept illness and pain as their way of life during the initial stages, it is only after spending some years time in understanding the illness while taking regular treatment that one can accept the ‘reality’ of their new life.
Yet, the question that plagues many people even after accepting the chronic ailment is that whether it is ever possible for them to live happy and well even if they couldn’t ever recover in a complete manner.
The guidelines to adopt for anybody in these testing times is to keep building a positive life despite an illness which can sometimes work miracles not only giving hope to the diseased but even in healing the disease thoroughly due to the renewed hope that the positivity of an individual gives.
Like the saying goes – ‘to each his own’, these guidelines can differ from one person to another. But there are some guidelines for which the brief descriptions for each of them can help a chronically ill person come to better terms with life.
Some of these prescriptions perfectly fit not only the ill ones but for anybody who wants to have a healthy and a happy living.
Self-care is true care for others! – Taking care of oneself must always be the first priority as in order to have a balanced, productive life, one needs to offer compassion, care, and respect for thyself first.
This only will enable them to care for others. It is quite important in the case of women who have just become mothers where they sacrifice all their needs to attend the baby first.
A mother is always known to put the baby’s needs and care above herself in the first place, even though she needs to rest well and take care of herself post her baby’s delivery.
Never ever give up! – A misunderstood chronic illness can take many years to get properly diagnosed and treated which may lead the diseased into a state of hopelessness that makes them give up and settle for a life of bitterness or fancy about miracle cures.
It is constantly up to the patient to have as much hope and positivity as they can in those critical times with a determination to access comprehensive and humane care so as to receive the benefits that they are entitled to.
Life has no guarantees! – It is the unpredictable nature of life that quite puts people in a state of unease about not being able to put in the maximum willingness to recover from their ailment or a chronic condition, owing oftentimes to the reasoning that there’s no guarantee for anything in life, whatsoever, including death.
Especially, in cases of chronic ailments that have barely any hope for the recovery of life, then the chances for putting effort and working out one’s illness is, even more, less as the patients are not sure of a positive outcome in spite of all their efforts.
People tend to take an easy road and suffer the side-effects/consequences during such tough times as they have no clue of the difficult path which may be worth the effort as it can pay rewards.
Be adaptable to changes – While managing the health needs, one can utilize and get immensely benefited from drug therapies, surgery, dietary changes, physical therapy, as well as acupuncture, exercise coaching, massage therapy, herbal supplements, homeopathy, self-imposed daily rest and more.
Not only these, one must constantly monitor their health condition in the due course of time and must adapt to any sort of new changes as per their changing health symptoms and conditions.
Being friends with fatigue – As a chronically ill patient rests on the bed, not just hours but several days, it is easy to collapse while feeling a lot more fatigue every time one collapses.
The proactive habit that prevents the complete collapse and helps in preventing to wear anyone out is to learn to embrace the bed rest time and fight the fatigue by cherishing the resting period with adequate food, drink, and nice sleep.
Step out of the box – If life has to feel full in the times of lull, at least occasionally one needs to up their ante and step out of their little box or the comfort zones that one usually resorts to particularly in times of sickness abstaining from anything that can actually rev up the mind, body, and spirit.
Activities like traveling, volunteering or learning something brand new will help one to feel the full aliveness of life as they get to step out and discover more about themselves.
Keep an eye for silver linings – All life experiences are invaluable, including the ones that make us go through a rough phase in life.
Being sick need not necessarily make anyone miserable for life if one can appreciate the silver lining behind the dark clouds and teach themselves to be more kind, sympathetic, erasing boundaries and limitations, and appreciating the beauty in the present moment.
Get more real with life – People who are ill can save themselves mountains of stress if they start to get more real with life.
Many chronic situations can be resolved if one doesn’t cause themselves unnecessary stress and anxiety while coping with an illness.
Go out of the way to share – Despite the plaguing illness, one has to firmly believe as one of the prime reasons for one’s happier existence is to discover, develop, and share their gifts as a way of passing something valuable to the life around them which will fill oneself with great contentment and happiness.
Be still, live in the moment! – Not to forget, and it applies to anyone seeking a happy life is to sit and be still at any time in a day. There’s always a certain serenity and calmness that abides by the stillness and the one who practices it.
This learning to be still can not only improve the health but also enrich one’s intellect (that gets more organized during meditations) and guide oneself to their utmost well being.
Life smiles at those who learn to take anything that comes to them with absolute grace and ease that can dispel any and many of the issues hounding their health and well being.