Beyond Doctor’s Orders
5 ways to enhance your chance of success with arthritis.
Succeeding with a chronic illness involves more than just following doctor’s orders. If you’re willing to work at it, these five habits will ensure you live successfully with arthritis:
1. Learn all you can.
Knowledge is power. Read everything you can, and locate trusted sources of news and information (online or offline); find out where exercise classes are being held in your community; and ask lots of questions – of your doctor, your physical therapist and other health-care providers.
2. Pay attention to your emotions.
Living with a chronic condition such as arthritis ups your chance of developing depression. Warning signs include constant tiredness, lack of appetite, trouble making decisions, disrupted sleep and feeling worthless. To head off depression, develop a network of family and friends who raise your spirits and can help you keep active.
3. Make your doctor your partner in care.
You’re more likely to find success if you and your physician make informed decisions together. Make sure your doctor spends time with you discussing treatment options and answering all your questions. Talk about ways to improve your functioning, such as losing weight, becoming more active or reducing stress. Don’t be embarrassed to talk to your physician about anything, including admitting when you haven’t followed her advice. Agree to disagree when the two of you have different opinions – and keep talking about it.