Listen to your body and accept you may need to adapt your life. Symptoms are often unique to you, try not to compare yourself to others.
Edmund is 39 years old and works as an Accountant. He was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis three years ago.
When he was diagnosed Edmund didn’t take on board its significance. He took medication yet failed to track or note what he was taking and whether it had any positive effects on his condition. He continued to follow a demanding fitness regime which, although it offered him daily escape from the symptoms, his lifestyle was having a negative impact on his health and he was taking medication which was no longer suitable. Following a period of being quite ill, and a frank discussion with a gastroenterologist, Edmund got a ‘light bulb moment’ and realised the importance of being an active partner in his health care.
Living with a condition such as ulcerative colitis can be unpredictable as the condition is prone to fluctuate. Flare ups can be triggered by many things, so it is important for the individual to be vigilant and play an active role in managing their condition by taking ownership, for example recording their food intake to identify items and food groups responsible for flare ups and to discuss these with health professionals.
What self management means for Edmund
For Edmund it means being proactive in learning about your condition and keeping a diary. For example, he is now in the habit of recording what he eats and drinks, his medication intake and what physical activities have an impact on his health – both a positive and negative. As a result of this, Edmund has now identified levels of medication which he can’t drop below. He knows what he can and cannot eat and has become more educated about his diet and nutrition so knows where to get his essential nutrients from.
- Being diagnosed with a long term condition is something to take seriously – you will need to do your research. Listen to your body and accept that you may need to adapt your life. This may include finding an activity that can help you relax and unwind.
- Your symptoms can often be unique to you. Therefore, joining a support group and talking to people with lived experience can be very useful, it is important not to compare yourself to others.