While we are living in a time of uncertainty, that can cause stress and anxiety for many, the best thing you can do is focus on what you can control. If you suffer from a chronic health condition like diabetes or heart disease, you will need to continue to manage your condition. Avni Jain, MD, a family medicine physician with Adventist Medical Group, shares how you can continue to manage your condition while in quarantine.
Stay connected with your doctor
If you have a pre-existing, chronic health condition and regularly check-in with your doctor, continue to do so. Call and ask your doctor how they want to continue your follow ups. It’s possible that your doctor’s office may have alternative ways to hold appointments, including the use of telehealth. “If you find yourself unwell due to your condition or any other reason, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor,” explains Dr. Jain. “They are ready and available to care for you, especially throughout this time.”
Telehealth allows for you and your doctor to connect on your condition virtually on a phone, computer or tablet. You will be able to have the same interaction as you normally would however, through a video chat. Both of you can ask and answer questions about your condition and have the same relationship and communication as you would in person. Contact your doctor to see if this is an option for your appointments. Many physicians and even urgent care centers are offering this as an option, so you can continue to see your physician.
Monitor your glucose levels
“Continuing to monitor your glucose levels is imperative for your health if you have diabetes,” says Dr. Jain. If you haven’t already, make sure you have enough insulin and supplies for the next few weeks. Be prepared for emergent situations in relation to your blood sugar by having extra bottled water, rubbing alcohol, ketone strips, glucagon, snacks and other items you may use or need to manage any blood sugar fluctuations.
Take your prescriptions
Continue to take your daily medications. If being out of your normal routine causes you to forget to take your medications, set an alarm on your phone, leave yourself a note or put the bottle where you will see it. Contact your doctor if you begin to run low on your prescriptions, and they will be able to order a refill with your local pharmacy. Most pharmacies have a drive through or are offering curb side service to limit your exposure to COVID-19.
Being at home, it can be hard to remember to drink water throughout the day and staying hydrated is especially important when you have a chronic health condition. Dr. Jain suggests “setting a timer to drink water every thirty minutes or carrying a water bottle around the house that is labeled with how much water you should be drinking throughout the day.” Find something that works for you to help you stay hydrated.
Staying active not only assists with your physical health and managing your condition, but also your mental health. Exercising releases chemicals in the brain called endorphins that elevate your mood. Go for a walk in your neighborhood, a bike ride, a run or find a workout video online. During these uncertain times, its important to stay positive and take measures that help you stay healthy.
Eating healthy plays an important role in keeping you well. While being at home makes it easier, avoid snacking on junk food, and choose healthy foods when you are at the grocery store. While the uncertainty of our situation may tempt you to indulge, it’s important to try and continue to eat healthy. It will help you feel better physically and mentally and help your immune system.
It’s important that while you work to manage your condition, you also take precautions to protect yourself from COVID-19. Stay home unless you must go out for essential items like food and supplies, wash your hands often for 20 seconds, practice social distancing with others, clean and disinfect items regularly and avoid touching your face. If you have any questions or concerns, call your doctor.
Managing your condition during this time can be overwhelming but can also be a sense of normalcy. If you are struggling with your condition or with the greater uncertainty of our “new normal,” reach out to your doctor. Your doctor can assist you in not only managing your condition but can also help you find resources and other options to help with your situation. “Your doctors are there for you, now more than ever so please reach out,” says Dr. Jain.