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Learning about managing chronic health conditions

Learning about Managing Chronic Health Conditions

What is a chronic health condition?

Chronic health conditions are conditions that last for a long time, usually 1 year or more. If you have a chronic health condition, you may need to see your doctor or healthcare provider more often to see how you are doing and how well your medicines or treatments are working. Some chronic health conditions cause you to limit or change your daily activities.

Some examples of chronic conditions are:

  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • heart disease (coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, heart muscle disease)
  • high cholesterol
  • chronic pain
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • arthritis

How can I care for myself when I have a chronic health condition?

You can help prevent or manage your chronic health condition by making healthy choices. Here are some helpful tips and ideas to help you manage your health:

  • Eat a balanced diet including a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
  • Limit added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium (salt).
  • Aim to include 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity that raises your heart rate. Try to do this 5 or more days each week. If 30 minutes is too much all at once, break it up into smaller chunks. Exercising for 10 minutes, 3 times each day has the same benefit as 1 longer session.
  • Do muscle strengthening activities at least 2 times each week. This type of exercise can include cycling, climbing stairs or hills, or lifting weights.
  • Include several hours of light physical activity each day. This can include standing, walking slowly, cooking, dusting, or laundry.
  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night.
  • Use les or stop using tobacco or vaping. Avoid being around second-hand smoke.
  • Use less or stop drinking alcohol.
  • Talk to your doctor about getting screened for other diseases at least once each year so any problems can be found as early as possible.
  • Visit your dentist at least once each year to help find and treat mouth (oral) diseases.

Where can I get help?

The Alberta Healthy Living Program offers a variety of services to help you manage your chronic health condition. These include nutrition counseling, group health education classes, self-management workshops, and supervised group exercise. These services are free of charge. To learn more or to register go to: Alberta Healthy Living Program (ahs.ca/ahlp).

To see this information online and learn more, visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca/health/aftercareinformation/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=custom.ab_chronic_disease_management_inst.

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For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at 811.

Current as of: February 20, 2024

Author: Chronic Disease Management, Alberta Health Services

This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.

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