How Can Medical Staff Help Combat Chronic Diseases?

Combat Chronic Diseases

Medical staff professionals work hard to improve access to treatment and deliver high-quality and cost-effective care for patients with chronic diseases. Individuals seeking help with chronic illnesses often experience improvements in their quality of life thanks to the work of medical professionals. As the prevalence of chronic illnesses grows, this work is crucial.

People who are dealing with chronic health conditions or have seen loved ones suffer from them understand the toll they can take. According to the CDC, around 60 percent of adults have at least one chronic illness, and 40 percent of them have two or more. The numbers are even higher among older adults, so the likelihood that you have a parent or grandparent managing a chronic condition is high.

What is a chronic disease?

Chronic illnesses are long-lasting conditions that can often be controlled but not cured. People living with chronic diseases experience acute health complications that can shorten their life expectancy. Therefore, they must try to manage the symptoms that affect their quality of life.

Data from the World Health Organization indicates that chronic conditions are the leading cause of premature deaths worldwide. This is the case even in places where infectious diseases wreak havoc.

However, patients should not lose hope when they are diagnosed with a chronic disease. These illnesses and their consequences can often be managed and prevented effectively through systematic monitoring to identify new problems, lifestyle changes, and appropriate medical management.

Common chronic diseases

Here are some of the most common chronic diseases:

  • Stroke
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Mental health disorders
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Obesity
  • Asthma
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Oral disease
  • Back pain
  • Osteoporosis

It is worth noting that although most chronic conditions can affect people of all ages, many are more common among older adults.

How do chronic conditions affect patients?

Chronic conditions have disease-specific symptoms, but they also come with invisible symptoms such as fatigue, mood disorders, and pain. Along with treating the condition, there are certain steps patients need to take to care for themselves, such as exercising and taking medications.

Physical changes from a chronic illness can impact a person’s appearance. This shift can affect self-esteem by turning a positive self-image into a poor one. As a result, people may withdraw from social activities and friends.

People suffering from chronic illnesses may also have anxiety and depression. This affects their daily life and their ability to work. Patients may have to learn how to cope with a decreased range of motion and other physical limitations, morning stiffness, and other physical limitations.

The inability to work as a result of mental illness can cause financial difficulties. Some patients may have to depend on their spouse, home healthcare provider, or a relative, causing them to feel anxiety, a loss of control, and uncertainty about the future.

Stress might build up and distort their feelings about life. Long durations of stress can lead to anger, frustration, hopelessness, and depression. Stress can also affect family members.

Which medical professionals can help manage condition chronic diseases?

Patients can benefit from having a team of healthcare professionals involved in their care. Here is a look at some of the crucial medical professionals who can assist in managing chronic conditions.

Doctors

Patients need to work with a doctor who understands them and their lifestyle. A doctor can provide a chronic disease management plan for patients who need a structured approach to managing their illness.

Nurses

These medical professionals oversee how orders from doctors are implemented. An RN who has completed an online post-masters FNP program at a reputable institution such as Rockhurst University will be able to identify and manage chronic conditions in their patients. Nurses who have graduated from these courses will have an excellent knowledge base and hands-on experience from clinical placements to ensure they provide the best care possible for patients and their families.

Social workers and occupational therapists

A social worker provides counseling and information about community and government support services. Community health centers can help those suffering from chronic conditions connect with social workers. An occupational therapist can assist patients in maintaining, regaining, or improving their independence and is also often involved in visiting the patient’s home.

Physiotherapist

For conditions involving movement and pain, a physiotherapist can help improve mobility, including joint and muscular pain, and prevent further deterioration of bodily movement.

Psychologists

Some patients might also need a psychologist to assist them with the mental challenges associated with chronic illnesses.

How do medical professionals help combat chronic diseases?

Assessments and diagnosis

Medical professionals are responsible for identifying and diagnosing chronic illnesses effectively. This typically involves taking medical histories, conducting physical examinations, and ordering relevant diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of a patient’s symptoms.

Management and treatment

After diagnosing a chronic illness, medical professionals create personalized treatment plans to manage the condition effectively. These treatment plans might include lifestyle modifications, medications, physical therapy, and other interventions tailored to the patient’s needs.

Monitoring and follow-up

Chronic illnesses usually require continuous follow-up and monitoring to assess the effectiveness of the treatment and make any necessary adjustments. Medical staff will track the progress of a patient, conduct regular check-ups based on diet, weight, and general physical health, and modify treatments to ensure the best outcomes.

Prevention and early intervention

Some chronic diseases can be better managed and prevented if they are detected early. Professionals in the medical sector promote preventive measures such as screenings, vaccinations, and health education to identify risk factors and intervene before a chronic illness worsens.

Emotional support

Chronic illness can be emotionally challenging for patients and their families. Medical staff provide emotional support, guidance, and empathy to assist patients in coping with the psychological impacts of their conditions.

Advocacy

Some medical professionals advocate for public health outcomes that promote preventive measures, better access to healthcare services, and improved chronic illness management. They play a role in shaping guidelines and policies to enhance patient outcomes.

Pioneers of Progress

Medical professionals are pioneers of progress in the constantly evolving battle against chronic diseases. They drive transformative change and help shape a future where health challenges can be addressed effectively. The government and private sector must collaborate with healthcare professionals to implement practical approaches to better prevent and manage chronic diseases.