Managing chronic illness is possible and sustainable

Living with chronic illness can be difficult to manage, with symptoms impacting daily life. However, medication is not the only way to minimize symptoms.

Managing symptoms of chronic illnesses can feel almost impossible sometimes, but there are ways to minimize them and to handle flare-ups.
The first step to managing an illness is to understand it. Researching what causes chronic pain and what treatment options are is the best way to start developing a treatment plan. The doctor that is treating the illness should always be a part of this plan, given their medical expertise and prior experience.
For people managing more than one illness, make sure your doctors coordinate about treatment care, so one treatment does not worsen another condition.
According to Harvard Health, people who make lifestyle changes like exercising regularly and eating healthier are more successful at managing chronic illness than those who do not.
For illnesses like Crohn’s Disease and gastritis, following a doctor-recommended diet can greatly minimize symptoms. Even non-GI diseases can benefit from diet changes. For example, migraines can be triggered by foods that are acidic or contain caffeine, so eliminating them can lessen the number and severity of migraines.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, patients who follow strict vegan and Mediterranian diets see overall improvements in their health. These diets include focusing more on vegetables and consuming less red meats and simple carbohydrates like sugar.
The point of these diets is to slow the progress of disease over time. There is no cure for chronic illness, so delaying the effects of it will improve the quality of life.
While some may want to indulge themselves on foods not included in their diet and only resume the diet during flare-ups, this will not be beneficial in the long-term.
It is also important to consult with a doctor when planning a diet. Choosing one off of the internet may not be the best option, since many have been approved by doctors. Doctors have information regarding how the body digests different foods and understand what diets will work best for each condition.
To manage joint diseases like arthritis, exercise is an integral part of a treatment plan. According to, it is important to avoid high impact exercises, like running, and repetitive motion. This can cause joints to degrade faster.
These activities can be replaced with lower impact activities like swimming and biking.
The key to managing pain during exercise is to make modifications. It is still possible to strengthen your body by modifying an activity to make it more successful. Modifications do not mean that illness has made the body unable to get stronger, it just means that there are other ways to develop strength.
This can be said for all forms of illness. When living with chronic pain, there are changes that need to be made to daily life that people who are not sick do not make.
One common misconception about chronic illness is that it is completely preventable. However, much of it can be attributed to genetics and environmental factors.
According to the CDC, “If you have a family health history of a chronic disease like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or osteoporosis, you are more likely to get that disease yourself.”
The CDC offers information about family histories and chronic illness on their website.
The idea that someone has a chronic illness because they are doing something inherently wrong is untrue. However, this does not mean that changes can not be made to slow the progression of it.