Chronic Conditions: Can you avoid them? Part 3 in a series.

Chronic Conditions:  Can you avoid them?  Part 3 in a series.
| by Angie Galatas

This is part 3 in a series of blogs related to chronic illness. The names have been changed but the stories are real.

Did you know you can have a chronic disease but have no symptoms? We react to the obvious warning signs and symptoms (like a sharp pain in your chest or sudden slurred speech and balance problems), but other more subtle signs or a persistent nagging symptom are often ignored. Your symptoms may be a sign of a hidden, chronic disease. How do you know when you should seek help? Maybe, you visited a doctor, but the symptoms persisted? Perhaps you want a second opinion?

The story of Terrance is the story of a client who discovered a hidden disease. Thankfully, he found it early and took time for wellness, rather than living in chronic illness.

The series of spending time in wellness, so you don’t spend time in illness, is not a scare tactic. It is to inform you, so you know when to seek the help of your medical provider. Undiagnosed and untreated chronic conditions increase your risk of developing disease. You can take control of your health and spend more time in wellness.

Let me introduce you to Terrance:

Terrance is a 72-year-old who is 6 feet tall with a barrel-chested athletic build. He wears glasses and has a slight hearing loss and looks 60 years of age. Terrance resides with his wife of 45 years in a modest home in the city. He enjoys playing a weekly pick up flag football game with his friends in the neighborhood.

Since retiring from civil engineering, Terrance volunteers at the local small business association, helping people start new businesses. He eats a balanced diet and does not consume alcohol. He previously smoked when he was in his 20s, quitting at the time of his marriage.

Most people would describe Terrance as a pleasant and social person. He meets no stranger, evidenced by talking to people in an elevator, waving to people during his daily walks, or talking to people in the grocery line. He is a person of faith attending church weekly.

Terrance notices some aches and pains in his joints while playing flag football, but typically ignores it and attributes it to his days playing sports in high school. He also experiences slight visual changes and headaches. At the encouragement of his family, Terrance makes an appointment with his primary care doctor.

Terrance discovered he has high blood pressure. He was surprised by his diagnosis, feeling in good health, and hasn’t smoked in over 50 years.

Terrance wasn’t satisfied with his results, so he searched for answers and hired Medical Advocacy Plus (MAP).

We worked together and decided that since Terrance was suffering from a new diagnosis of high blood pressure and nagging arthritis, he should have more testing to investigate his symptoms. He went to a doctor who specializes in arthritis. Diagnostic testing indicated that Terrance is in the early stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease. RA is often an invisible disease, not showing symptoms. Even though he suffered from aches in his joints, he was unaware of the different arthritis types. He also learned that high blood pressure is a common factor in people suffering from RA. There is no cure for RA; however, studies show that remission of symptoms is more likely when treatment begins early with medications.

Many chronic conditions are preventable or manageable if caught early. Terrance is learning ways to manage his RA, so he doesn’t spend time in illness fighting his disease. He recognized the importance of spending more time in wellness, so he isn’t suffering from illness.

*Terrance is a fictitious name in this blog.