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Avoiding & Managing Long Term Medical Conditions Yourself

Avoiding long term medical conditions

We know from research that it is possible for all of us to reduce our chances of developing medical problems in the future if we live a healthy life.

In particular we can reduce our chance, or risk, of developing the following medical conditions:

  • Heart disease including heart attacks
  • Stroke
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Lung disease, especially COPD and lung cancer
  • Cancer
  • Liver disease

How do we do this? You will already be aware of a lot of publicity around eating healthily, giving up smoking, controlling our alcohol intake and taking regular exercise. Research tells us that being aware of these things isn't enough: instead, we all need to commit to taking a few small steps so that we actually do these things rather than just thinking about them or talking about them. You can get help with these steps through:

  • Join a local club. Having support from other people is very helpful in making sure we stay motivated to do things differently and a club is sociable too.
  • Ask us at the Surgery for help: for example we run a Stop Smoking Clinic.
  • Book in for an NHS HealthCheck to find out what risk you are at for the conditions listed above, and how you as an individual can help lower that risk.
  • Book for a Carer's Check if you provide unpaid care for someone else.
  • Look at the online resources below:
Online resources
  • Your health, Your way provides tools for you to check how you are doing, and advice on how you can live healthily to reduce the risks of developing medical problems in the future.
  • QRISK is an online calculator which allows you to calculate your own personalised risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke in the future. It is the tool GPs use to help them give you advice on how you can lower the calculated risk, and we also use it if you have an NHS HealthCheck.
  • Know Your Own Health is a website which explains what self-management means, how it might help you, and how you can start to do it.
  • The 10 Best Fitness Apps is designed for you if you have a smartphone or tablet/iPad and like gadgets! These Apps may help you to live a healthier life through direct personal feedback and target-setting.

Managing your long-term medical condition better yourself

  1. Look at the information in the Further Information pages on the right hand side of this page.
  2. Make sure you have your annual review with the appropriate Surgery staff member.
  3. Follow the advice you are given and make sure you use any prescribed treatments according to instructions and take them regularly if that is advised.
  4. If you feel your condition could be controlled better please ask that staff member or your preferred GP.
  5. Learn more about your condition (see below) and how it is best treated and how you might be able to reduce the chance of it getting worse.
Local self-management courses you may be able to enrol with
  • Self-Management for Life. 6 sessions over 6 weeks for people with any long-term condition run at various locations across Devon. Part of the NHS Expert Patient Programme.
    • For details of forthcoming courses please ring 0800 988 5560 or fill in an online enquiry form at Self Management UK.
  • Looking After Me. Similar as Self-Management for Life but designed for people who care for people with long-term conditions.
    • For details of forthcoming courses please use the same contact details above.
  • DAFNE. This course is for Type 1 diabetics treated with insulin. In Devon it is only available through the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital Diabetes Clinic.
    • If you would like to attend a course please ask your GP or our Nurse Practitioner Mrs Belinda Owen to consider referring you.
  • Click HERE to read about taking a statin to reduce your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

Learning about your long term condition

There is a huge amount of information available on the internet of variable quality. Don't be put off! To help you ensure the information you are reading is accurate please consider visiting the following websites:

    • Patient contains information leaflets in printable PDF form. This is your best first port of call.
    • HealthTalk has videos of people who have long term conditions giving advice about them.
    • Torbay Hospital provides a lot of patient information including what to expect when you have a test or treatment at the hospital.
    • Hiblio is an online TV service developed by Torbay Hospital which has programmes on a variety of health and social care topics.

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