BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuLiving with a chronic illness - reaching out to othersA chronic illness is a long-term health condition that may not have a cure. Examples of chronic illnesses are:Alzheimer disease and dementia Alzheimer diseaseDementia is a loss of brain function that occurs with certain diseases. Alzheimer disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia. It affects memo...Read Article Now Book Mark Article DementiaDementia is a loss of brain function that occurs with certain diseases. It affects memory, thinking, language, judgment, and behavior.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Arthritis ArthritisArthritis is inflammation or degeneration of one or more joints. A joint is the area where 2 bones meet. There are more than 100 different types of...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Asthma AsthmaAsthma is a chronic disease that causes the airways of the lungs to swell and narrow. It leads to breathing difficulty such as wheezing, shortness o...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Cancer CancerCancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Cancerous cells are also called malignant cells.Read Article Now Book Mark Article COPD COPDChronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common lung disease. Having COPD makes it hard to breathe. There are two main forms of COPD:Chroni...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Crohn disease Crohn diseaseCrohn disease is a disease where parts of the digestive tract become inflamed. It most often involves the lower end of the small intestine and the be...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Cystic fibrosis Cystic fibrosisCystic fibrosis is a disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs, digestive tract, and other areas of the body. It is one of th...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Diabetes DiabetesDiabetes is a long-term (chronic) disease in which the body cannot regulate the amount of sugar in the blood.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Epilepsy EpilepsyEpilepsy is a brain disorder in which a person has repeated seizures over time. Seizures are episodes of uncontrolled and abnormal firing of brain c...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Heart disease Heart diseaseCoronary heart disease is a narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. Coronary heart disease (CHD) is also cal...Read Article Now Book Mark Article HIV/AIDS HIV/AIDSHuman immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS. When a person becomes infected with HIV, the virus attacks and weakens the immune ...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Mood disorders (bipolar, cyclothymic, and depression) BipolarBipolar disorder is a mental condition in which a person has wide or extreme swings in their mood. Periods of feeling sad and depressed may alternat...Read Article Now Book Mark Article CyclothymicCyclothymic disorder is a mental disorder. It is a mild form of bipolar disorder (manic depressive illness), in which a person has mood swings over ...Read Article Now Book Mark Article DepressionDepression may be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for shor...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Multiple sclerosis Multiple sclerosisMultiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).Read Article Now Book Mark Article Parkinson diseaseParkinson diseaseParkinson disease results from certain brain cells dying. These cells help control movement and coordination. The disease leads to shaking (tremors...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Living with chronic illness can make you feel very alone. Learn about staying connected with people to help you cope with your illness.Talk With People who Have the Same IllnessSharing with and learning from people who have the same feelings as you can help you cope with your own illness.Find a support group in your area for people who have the same chronic illness as you. Many organizations and hospitals run support groups. Ask your health care provider how to find one. For example, if you have heart disease, the American Heart Association may offer or know of a support group in your area. Find an online group. There are online blogs and discussion groups about many topics, and you may find support this way. Tell Others About Your Chronic IllnessYou may find it hard to tell others that you have a chronic illness. You may worry that they will not want to know about it or that they will judge you. You may feel embarrassed about your illness. These are normal feelings. Thinking about telling people can be harder than actually telling them.People will react in different ways. They may be:Surprised. Nervous. Some people might not know what to say, or they might worry they will say the wrong thing. Let them know that there is no right way to react and no perfect thing to say. Helpful. They know someone else with the same illness so they are familiar with what is going on with you.You may look and feel fine most of the time. But at some point, you may feel ill or have less energy. You may not be able to work as hard, or you may need to take breaks for self-care. When this happens, you want people to know about your illness so they understand what is going on.Tell people about your illness to keep you safe. If you have a medical emergency, you want people to step in and help. For example:If you have epilepsy, your coworkers should know what to do if you have a seizure. If you have diabetes, they should know what the symptoms of low blood sugar are and what to do.Let People Help youThere may be people in your life who want to help you take care of yourself. Let your loved ones and friends know how they can help you. Sometimes all you need is someone to talk to.You may not always want people's help. You might not want their advice. Tell them as much as you feel comfortable sharing. Ask them to respect your privacy if you don't want to talk about it.If you attend a support group, you may want to take family members, friends or others along. This can help them learn more about your illness and how to support you.If you are involved in an online discussion group, you might want to show family or friends some of the postings to help them learn more.If you live alone and do not know where to find support:Ask your provider for ideas about where you can find support. See if there is an agency where you can volunteer. Many health agencies rely on volunteers. For example, if you have cancer, you may be able to volunteer at the American Cancer Society. Find out if there are talks or classes about your illness in your area. Some hospitals and clinics may offer these. This can be a good way to meet others with the same illness.Get Help With Your Daily TasksYou may need help with your self-care tasks, getting to appointments, shopping, or household chores. Keep a list of people who you can ask for help. Learn to be comfortable accepting help when it is offered. Many people are happy to help and are glad to be asked.If you do not know someone who can help you, ask your provider or social worker about different services that may be available in your area. You may be able to get meals delivered to your home, help from a home health aide, or other services.Open ReferencesReferencesAhmed SM, Hershberger PJ, Lemkau JP. Psychosocial influences on health. In: Rakel RE, Rakel DP, eds. Textbook of Family Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 3.American Psychological Association website. Coping with a diagnosis of chronic illness. www.apa.org/helpcenter/chronic-illness.aspx. Updated August 2013. Accessed August 10, 2020.Ralston JD, Wagner EH. Comprehensive chronic disease management. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 11.AllVideoImagesTogA Closer Look Rheumatoid arthritis(In-Depth)Exercise(In-Depth)Multiple sclerosis(In-Depth)Self Care Living with a chronic illness - reaching out to othersRelated Information Review Date: 8/13/2020 Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 09/29/2021. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- © 1997- All rights reserved. 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