Chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and asthma affect a surprising number of Americans – about 80 percent of older adults have at least one chronic disease and almost 70 percent of individuals on Medicare are afflicted with long-term illnesses. In fact, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic diseases are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths each year, and treating individuals with chronic diseases accounts for 86 percent of our nation’s health care costs.
With numbers like these, it’s easy to see why chronic disease management is such an important topic. Finding better ways to manage chronic diseases will help delay health deterioration, boost physical function, and improve quality-of-life for many individuals struggling with day-to-day issues related to their illnesses.
Chronic disease management is an integrated approach to managing illness which includes health screenings and monitoring, medical check-ups, coordinated treatment, and patient education. Appropriate disease management can significantly improve daily quality-of-life while minimizing the effects of a disease.
The conditions below are often ones that are included in a disease management program:
- Heart diseases including congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, and hypertension
- Lung diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Liver diseases
- Psychiatric disorders such as clinical depression.
- Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia
- Sleep apnea
Here at Community Health Connections, we take chronic disease management very seriously. Our healthcare professionals and medical specialists help our patients monitor the status of their chronic disease and overall health, prescribe medication, and help devise care management plans, but if a patient is not equipped with the tools they need to self-manage their chronic disease, it will be a challenge to minimize the effects of that disease.
That’s why we help our patients learn to take responsibility for understanding how to take care of themselves. They learn to avoid potential issues that can exacerbate their health problem. For example, one step in teaching chronic disease management to diabetes patients is to show them how to keep their blood sugar levels within a healthy range.
We believe that if a patient is involved in collaborative decision-making for managing their chronic disease, effective disease management can be achieved and their need for medical intervention reduced. If you have a chronic disease and are struggling with how to manage it, give us a call or stop by one of our locations and talk with one of our healthcare professionals. We’re always here to help you.