All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for September 2003

How to Live With A Chronic Disease

August 27, 2003 at 4:49 p.m.
Bay Area

Millions of Americans suffer from chronic diseases, everything from heart disease to asthma or diabetes. While they can be difficult to keep under control, they don't have to dominate your life.

David Spero, a registered nurse and health coach speaks from experience. "I don't have diabetes," he says, "but I do have multiple sclerosis."

Spero says regardless of the nature of the chronic disease, they all have a lot in common. His motto is that illness is the best teacher, awareness is the best medicine and self-care is the best care.

"You know, 95% of the time you're on your own, so learning to take care of yourself is clearly the most important element in learning to manage a chronic illness like diabetes or any other," Spero says. It's a philosophy he shares in his book "The Art of Getting Well: A 5-Step Plan for Maximizing Health When You Have A Chronic Illness." He likens it to a martial art, emphasizing awareness flexibility and balance.

Spero says, "The causes of chronic illnesses are complex, and they're not our fault. But it is our responsibility to defend ourselves and to do the best we can."

That means slow down and listen to your body. Change things that are harmful to you, habits or relationships, and if you need help, get it.

Spero says, "If your life has a lot of positives, a lot of meaning and a lot of value to you - and pleasure and fun - then you are going to want to do the things that you need to do and your body will probably work better too."

Copyright © 2003, KRON 4