I am a doctor and with a chronic disease. These 12 things people should know

I am writing this article in hopes of informing those who wish to learn more about chronic diseases. I speak from experience: I have long been of patients with this evil, but I was also stuck with me for five years because of a chronic illness .

I want to educate our friends, relatives, colleagues and medical staff, so that they better apprehend this condition. If this information is shared, they will, I hope, strengthen relationships, reduce misunderstanding and improve the management of these chronic diseases.

Chronic disease

It’s a disease, condition or injury that can last a lifetime, and we can not heal, even though the patient may go into remission in some cases. Its severity varies: some people can work and have a “normal” life and active, while others are very sick and remain cloistered at home.

Many people with chronic disease have no visible symptoms. Their seriousness is sometimes not remarkable, which can create misunderstanding and lack of support from doctors, relatives or colleagues.

1. Nobody wants to be sick.

As a physician, I have never seen one patient who appreciated his illness. It was quite the opposite: most were very active and suddenly found themselves with mountains of questions and treatments to alleviate symptoms insurmountable.

2. Many doctors do not understand chronic diseases.

For years, many thought that some of these diseases resulted from depression or anxiety disorder, and that psychiatric help was the only effective treatment.

But despite many medical advances in the field, many doctors refuse to make the page and do not know how to tackle the problem. At the risk of their symptoms worsen, patients thus wasting valuable time searching a doctor can correctly diagnose and prescribe proper treatment.

3. Not being able to go to work is not synonymous with holidays.

Being unable to work because of chronic illness is not a cakewalk. It’s a daily struggle to perform simple tasks, such as getting out of bed, dressing, cook dinner, etc. The disease often requires patients to stay in bed, in addition to their medical appointments because they are too weak to set foot outside.

You’ve probably ever been stuck at home because of bad weather or a bad flu. Remember the frustration because you could not leave the house. Now imagine you are stuck at home for weeks or months. It would be frustrating, right?

4. Being a chronic disease can trigger an overflow of emotions.

This medical condition can indeed alter the biochemical composition of brain areas that control emotions. There are also other factors that can influence a person’s mood and make depressing or worry a little more:

  • waiting or looking for a diagnosis
  • the inability to work and feel effective
  • changes in how the couple / family work
  • loss of social interaction that leads to isolation
  • Stress related to money
  • the ongoing battle against the symptoms and to perform simple daily tasks

Chronic diseases often generate a feeling of emptiness. It is not unusual for patients to go through all the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance). They mourn their life back and that they must now endure.

The sense of isolation is also very strong: even if the patient wants to interact socially, its symptoms can prevent it. He finds himself unable to make a phone call, write an email or post a message on Facebook.

5. The symptoms related to chronic diseases are very complex.

Symptoms vary depending on the disease, and patients may have one or more at a time. Here’s a partial list: severe fatigue, pains, headaches, inability to concentrate, nausea or dizziness.

There is nothing unusual about these symptoms come and go regularly, sometimes within an hour. Provide activities in advance becomes a real headache. A “good day” for a patient with a chronic disease could be considered a “bad day” by someone else.

6. exhaustion resulting from chronic disease is not a simple phone soft.

Burnout is a common symptom that can be very severe and debilitating. A banal activity or a larger event, such as year-end holidays, can trigger. Patients then have to “pay the price” and require several days or even weeks to recover.

So they need a lot of rest and often cancel outings at the last minute. That does not mean they are lazy or they steal. When exhaustion befalls the person, it has no choice but to stay at home to rest. It is as if the body up against a wall and could go no further, whatever the effort. IF you want a better understanding of this depletion associated with a chronic illness, I invite you to read this article on “theory of the spoon.”

You may have already found in bed for a few days, after a bad flu or surgery. Think back to what you feel: you could hardly get out of bed and simple gestures you exhausted. Imagine that you experience this every day, consistently, for months or years.

7. Pain is a common symptom of chronic diseases.

This condition is often accompanied by severe pain, such as headaches, arthritis, muscle pain, back or neck.

8. Do not think straight is extremely frustrating.

It’s a complicated symptom to describe. The mental fog cognitive dysfunction is common in these patients, and it can manifest itself in different ways: it is hard to find words, concentrate or remember something. People who suffer know what they want to say but can not find the right words.

9. The risk of infection is higher.

The immune system of people with a chronic illness can sometimes overreact. Instead of tackling the infection, it will waste time and energy to fight against the patient’s body organs or joints, nerves or muscles. Many people with these disorders take medication to regulate this problem and should avoid contact with sick people as a common cold can turn into a very serious infection.

10. Certain foods can worsen symptoms.

Certain foods can worsen the symptoms experienced. The most common culprits are gluten, dairy, sugar, soy, yeast, alcohol and processed foods. These trigger foods can cause inflammation which in turn causes an increase in symptoms. These can last for hours, days or even weeks.

And because all these foods are part of our daily diet, it is often difficult to identify those responsible. Do not include them in our plates becomes a challenge.

11. The sense of smell is more developed.

Certain smells, such as perfumes, household products or cigarette can trigger migraines, mental fog, nausea and other symptoms. It is sometimes prescribed under-dosed versions of drugs used for cancer treatment. This sensitivity to odors is similar to that observed in pregnant women or patients undergoing chemotherapy.

12. Living with a chronic disease takes effort.

It must indeed be disciplined to be sure to have a restful sleep, avoid triggers and take the medication at the right times in order not to aggravate medical condition. Those chronically ill sometimes want to feel normal, eating a slice of pizza or making sure later, is understandable, even if they “pay” later.


Despite this punctuated combat suffering, isolation and debilitating symptoms, chronic patients (and their carers) continue to fight. They struggle daily to better understand their body and do things that we take for granted. Their entourage rarely understands their problems and so can not help effectively.

You can make things happen for patients with chronic disease by informing you about their symptoms and empathetic. Understanding chronic diseases helps lift the veil on the suffering they cause. So I thank all those who took the time to read this article!

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