Alberta Health Services notes approximately 30% of Albertans have at least one chronic health condition and that increased to 75% for those 65 years of age and older. A chronic health condition could include diabetes, arthritic, blood pressure, kidney, heart conditions, asthma etc.
Even though it feels like the world has been put on pause, unfortunately for people living with chronic health conditions this does not stop. Stats Canada put out some data collected from a survey about what Canadians are anxious about: 84% are worried about overloading the health system, 54% are anxious about the health of a household member and only 36% are anxious about their own health.
We do not want people living with health conditions to put their health on pause during this time as we know that waiting to manage your health can cause serious implications for the future.
Here are some ways you can manage your health conditions during this time.
- Stay home and only going out for essentials – we know that people living with one or more health conditions are more vulnerable to COVID-19 symptoms.
- Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds when in contact with your face or after being out in public.
- Take your medications as prescribed. If you are unsure about anything related to your medication, it is important to reach out and call your community pharmacist for questions. Currently Alberta College of Pharmacy are recommending keeping a 30-day supply of medications on hand.
- If you have equipment at home such as a blood pressure machine or blood sugar meters, it may be beneficial to do some extra testing at home as this can help you notice any patterns and be able to help you and your family doctor to determine what to do. If you are not measuring these at home and were relying on your doctor visits or blood work for that, it may be beneficial to start testing at home to be able to report these to your doctor.
- Keep a routine: with your medications, meals, activity etc. to ensure stability and continuity with your health during this time.
- Continue to reach out for support and care. Your health teams might look different, but they are still there. Should you notice any change in your health or have concern, booking a virtual or phone appointment with your doctor is a great start.
- Check out health organizations for their advice on managing health during COVID–19. Diabetes Canada is offering free virtual educations classes, Heart and Stroke Canada has tips on managing BP, and Asthma Canada has a free hotline and tips specifically for managing asthma during COVID for example.
- Reflect on your current situation – asking yourself:
- “how is COVID impacting my health?”
- “what am I in control of and what can I do about it?”
- “if I am not in control, what am I am able to control?”
- Continue to engage in positive health behaviours such as eating well, engaging in physical activity, managing your stress, getting proper sleep, reducing or quitting smoking which are all important pieces of managing any health conditions
- Seek support if you do not have any. Many health care professionals are committed to helping you manage your health right now and are available for virtual appointments to keep you on the right path.
By Andrea Shackel, Registered Dietitian
Revive Wellness Inc.