Author: Dr. Bartley Bryt
Chronic conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, cancer, and diabetes are responsible for most of our nation’s health care costs. More than 40% of New York adults suffer from chronic conditions, which refer to diseases that persists over time and are not passed from person to person.
Healthy diet, exercise, and getting enough sleep may help prevent certain chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Here are some guidelines to share with your employees to help those with chronic conditions:
- Understand your condition– Ask your doctor or nurse for more information and for helpful websites where you can educate yourself.
- Adopt good habits– Stop smoking, exercise, and lose weight if you need to. Many people with heart disease and diabetes, for example, have been able to come off medications after losing weight.
- Take a proactive role – Learn how to monitor your condition and help yourself. For example, check your blood pressure if you have hypertension, and check your feet daily if you have diabetes.
- See your primary doctor– Since all your doctors may not be communicating with each other, keep your primary care physician informed so they can see the whole picture and make sure you are getting the most appropriate care.
- Keep your family involved– Your family can be a great source of support so communicate with them about your condition, medication, and treatments. Healthy lifestyle choices can help your family as well; making changes as a family will not only keep them healthier but will also help keep you on track.
- Get support– Beyond your family, joining a support group of people who are going through the same things you are can be extremely helpful. Another helpful place to turn is to other health care professionals, such as nurses and dieticians, who can provide guidance and a personalized approach beyond what your doctors provide.
Brighton Health Plan Solutions’ nurse case management program, for example, has helped members lose weight, exercise more, stop smoking, and achieve other health goals. They not only feel better, but they have even been able to stop taking certain medications, saving them both time and dollars.
Actively taking these steps can make it easier for your employees to manage and successfully cope with a chronic condition and avoid future complications.
Dr. Bartley Bryt is Chief Medical Officer at Brighton Health Plan Solutions (BHPS), an innovative health care enablement company with several industry-leading brands. BHPS’s new Create® health care marketplace introduces competition between local health system provider networks to finally deliver better health care at lower cost for employers in the New York tri-state area. Learn more about Create at createhealthplans.com.