Receiving a diagnosis of a chronic disease can be overwhelming. Your doctor may prescribe medications when needed; but there’s a good chance you were sent home with information about your new diagnosis too. In that information, I imagine there’s recommendations for action you need to take as well to optimize your health. Lifestyle changes can have significant impacts on disease prevention and management; however, many individuals struggle to adopt and adhere to behavior change on their own.
So, which chronic diseases can also be labeled lifestyle related diseases?
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- High cholesterol
Risk factors for chronic diseases
Your age, gender and family history are risk factors that you cannot control. However, even with a strong family history, adopting healthy lifestyle habits can reduce your risks. Healthy lifestyle choices include:
- Stop smoking
- Reduce alcohol consumption
- Increase physical activity
- Improve nutrition
Sounds simple, right? Not necessarily. When it comes to disease prevention and management, if you don’t think the health threat is serious or that you are susceptible, you’re not very likely to make lifestyle changes. However, if you see the benefits and can overcome barriers to change, you’re more likely to make lifestyle changes to prevent and/or manage a disease.
Is it time for a change?
One in two adults in the United States has a chronic disease while one in four has two or more chronic diseases. Whether you’re trying to prevent or manage a disease, you are ultimately the expert of your life. It’s easy to tell someone to stop smoking, eat more nutritious foods, become more active, lose weight, or stop drinking so much alcohol; however, for the person facing disease, incorporating these changes are not so easy. And it could be that their unhealthy lifestyle choices are what help them cope with what they’re facing.
Barriers to change include time, cost, availability of healthier food options, environment, social support, fear, and lack of motivation. Only you can decide when it’s time for a change to occur. Working with a health coach, personal trainer, your physician, or even a psychologist can be extremely beneficial in achieving life-long lifestyle changes; however, you have to be in the driver’s seat.
As a health coach, I will partner with clients who want to invest in their health and wellness. As the expert on your life, you are resourceful and capable of change. My job is to support you in achieving what you envision for yourself in the future in terms of your health and well-being. Together we will work on the steps necessary to get you there. For change to occur, action must take place. Please contact me with any questions. In health – Jennifer