While a high percentage of Americans suffer from a chronic disease due to lifestyle factors (think heart disease, hypertension, diabetes) there are many who face a daily struggle with chronic illness that we may be less aware of.
What is the difference between a chronic disease and a chronic illness? The terms may seem the same. However, a chronic illness is a long-term health condition that may not have a cure. While chronic illness can be managed, it can also prevent someone from working, doing typical daily tasks, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.
What Is A Chronic Illness?
Some examples of chronic illnesses include:
- Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia
- Crohn’s Disease
- Chronic Fatigue (also known as ME)
- Meniere’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
Chronic illness can be as emotionally and physically draining as a disease diagnosis like cancer or diabetes. It can be overwhelming to manage day-to-day. Often, chronic illness is misunderstood. Additionally, if the person suffering is younger, there’s the management of education and support of your child and school staff, along with managing the condition itself.
Living with Chronic Illness
In addition to understanding the initial diagnosis, those who have a long-term illness have to learn to live with any ongoing physical effects. Because the effects of chronic illness can come and go (i.e. “flare up”) those who have an illness may be more hesitant to talk about it. Rather, they’ll just opt out or cancel plans. There are a range of emotions that can accompany learning to live with these illnesses—including fear, depression, and anger or frustration.
Caring for one’s mental health is just as important as caring for one’s physical health. Seeking out support from friends and family can help. So can support groups. Some people feel better talking to a doctor about the “what ifs” of their condition, and creating an action plan if those situations arise.
Still, a big fear for many is, “Will I lose my freedom and independence?”
Independence and Chronic Illness
While the type and severity of symptoms are unique to each person, some who suffer from these conditions may find that they feel limited as to what they can do or where they are able to go.
Additionally, some may start to feel dependent on others, which brings discomfort. While it’s lovely to have help, a big part of maintaining independence is doing oneself.
Remote patient monitoring can allow those living with chronic illness to experience greater freedom and independence. For instance, instead of having a family member get prescriptions and reminding the person to take them, they can receive their own reminder to get your meds out. They can keep access to all your medical records and schedule their own appointments. These may seem like small things, but self-management and agency in decision making are keys to independence with chronic illness.
Additionally, friends and family may be willing to “let go” a bit if they are receiving coordinated communication through an app. This can help bring a little more freedom each day, allowing the individual to get some time alone (and for others to feel like they can leave the house, too!)
Get Up and Go with Electronic Caregiver
For those who want to work, go to school, and travel, a wearable system can be a boost to independence as well.
“My initial thought was ‘I’m too young for this,’ but I wasn’t,” Barraza says. “I’m not too young for it, and nobody’s too young for this system. I felt safer immediately when I started using it and knowing how it works and knowing that I could be protected anywhere.”
Barraza works with us at Electronic Caregiver and is raising a young family. With 24/7 emergency response, geolocation, activity monitoring and access to a physician at any time, she can feel the freedom to live a full life with her chronic condition.
For those who might need to stay closer to home, the Premiere or our Pro Health system provide greater peace of mind when living with a chronic illness. Whether someone lives alone or not, 24/7 remote patient monitoring allows for greater independence by providing connected care in real time.
Are you ready to discover which of our remote patient monitoring systems can help you manage your chronic illness? Throughout the month of July, we’re offering 10% off the monthly monitoring fee (use code FREEDOM) for the Premier, Pro Health, and 4200 series products. A free camo wrist pendant is included with Premier and Pro Health orders. Call 833.ECG.LIFE today to learn more.