It is estimated over a quarter of the population in England (15.4 million people) has a long-term condition such as diabetes, coronary heart disease or chronic lung disease and an increasing proportion of these people have multiple conditions.
Although there is a wealth of information available to patients with long-term health conditions, the advice can seem overwhelming and healthcare providers don’t always have time for patients to answer all those niggling questions that can make a difference to your life.
Wendy Norton, Head of Health Coaching at My Clinical Coach guides people with long-term health conditions on how to live a healthy and more fulfilling life. Here she provides 3 top tips:
Although smoking rates have declined over past decades, smoking is still the biggest cause of preventable illness and premature deaths in the country, accounting for almost 80,000 deaths in England a year.
For people with long-term health conditions such as diabetes and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) smoking exacerbates symptoms and significantly decreases quality of life. If you have COPD and are still smoking, then the single most important way in which you can help yourself feel better is to stop! In fact, research suggests that if you can stop smoking for 28-days, you are five times more likely to be able to quit for good.
Take Control of Your Condition
Be an informed patient and learn as much as you can about your condition. The more you know about your health, the more you will feel able to control the condition rather than letting it control you. A patient who has regular support that understands what they’re going through and has the right tools to help, is proven to be more successful than a patient doing it on their own.
I have found that many patients we coach want to be more involved in their care, as it gives them a greater sense of control and improves their quality of life. Patients often highlight how self-management of their condition not only improves their physical health but also their mental wellbeing. So, take control of your health and choose what is right for you!
Follow a Healthy Diet
Knowing the foods that can be a problem for you is crucial. For those with COPD, certain foods increase the risk of bloating and gas which can make it more difficult to breathe. Apples, stone fruits (peaches and nectarines) and melons may be healthy but can cause bloating, so it is vital to know how your body works when planning your diet.
Never skip breakfast as this can lead to over-eating later in the day which can ruin your food plan and cause your blood sugar levels to rise, which can be harmful to people with diabetes. I would recommend aiming for three servings per day of fibre fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains.