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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Living with Chronic Disease

Chronic diseases are now the leading cause of disability and death in the United States, with seven in ten deaths each year attributed to such illnesses as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke.       
Nearly half of all adults in America live with at least one chronic disease.
Even with all the medical care that patients with chronic illnesses receive, they are still the sickest members of our society.  A 2009 National Council on Aging survey found that 32 percent of people 44 and over who have one or more chronic illnesses are living in pain, 65 percent are stressed, and 50 percent are depressed.
To live well with chronic illness, try learning from others who have a chronic condition. Stanford University’s self-management workshops, for example, are led by two people, at least one of whom has a chronic disease or is a caretaker of someone with a chronic disease.
These workshops in Michigan are called PATH. The letters stand for Personal Action Towards Health.  MSU Extension is offering the 6 sessions of PATH program starting Monday, Oct. 17, from 1 – 3:30 each week. You will be able to set clear goals for everything from exercise to nutrition. Physical symptoms aren’t the only challenge. Anger, fear, depression, and isolation often accompany chronic illness. These symptoms of chronic disease will also be addressed so you will be able to learn skills how to manage your illness instead of the illness managing you.
If you have a chronic disease or are the caretaker of someone with a chronic disease you can benefit from these free workshops. To register call the MSU Extension office at 517-439-9301.