Understanding and coping with illnesses
With so many conditions and diseases in the world, it can be difficult to understand all the information on symptoms and treatment options. Medical terminology alone is enough to confuse most people who have concerns or health issues that they don't understand.
Talking to a doctor is the best way to relieve your worries and get a diagnosis on your medical problem. He or she can offer you information and advice on treatment options, so you can work together to cure or manage your condition. It's also helpful to do your own research on your illness, through the Web, through books or through support groups.
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Types of Illness
Illnesses can be broken down into categories, depending on factors such as their symptoms, their duration and their severity. Such categories include:
- Common illness. Common illnesses include things like colds and flu that people contract all the time. Typically these ailments are not severe and many people recover without the need for medical attention.
- Critical illness. Critical illnesses are illnesses that are life-threatening and require intensive monitoring and treatment from health care professionals.
- Chronic illness. Chronic illnesses are illnesses that last a long time, sometimes a lifetime. In some cases, the illness may go through periods of remission, but will always be present in the body.
When illness is terminal, such as in advanced cancer, HIV AIDS and other conditions, it presents an entirely new set of coping issues. Often, the patients will go through various stages of grief, such as denial and depression. Ultimately, acceptance is the final stage in coping with a terminal illness, but this can be a difficult place to reach.
Terminal illnesses are difficult on both the sufferers, who deal with fear, pain and sadness on a daily basis, but terminal illnesses are also very difficult on family members and friends. Often difficult medical decisions need to be made, pain management measures must be put in place, and constant care may become necessary.
When someone you love or you yourself are suffering from a terminal illness, it's important to put the proper support structures in place. Therapists, grief counselors, support groups and medical professionals can all be helpful in coping with the many issues that arise from a terminal illness.