|Questions about common health problems? Call a health coach!|
If you have an ongoing or difficult-to-treat health condition, you may have questions or wish you had someone to talk to about it. Your doctor may have prescribed new medications. Perhaps you have decisions to make about tests or treatments. The good news is that a health coach can help you sort out these things.
Health coaches are specially trained healthcare professionals, such as nurses, dietitians, and respiratory therapists. Their job is to answer your questions and support you with your health issues. Health coaches are especially skilled at helping people with conditions such as:
* Chronic kidney disease: A condition in which the kidneys stop working properly.
* Depression: a medical condition that causes a person to feel sad or hopeless for a long time.
* Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): A condition with frequent heartburn. It occurs when stomach juices leak into the esophagus, the tube that connects the throat to the stomach.
* High blood pressure (also known as hypertension): a condition that can damage the heart and kidneys, and lead to heart attacks and strokes.
* Irritable bowel syndrome: A disorder that causes stomach pain or discomfort, cramping or bloating, and diarrhea or constipation.
* Obesity: when a person has so much extra body fat that his or her health is at risk.
* Osteoporosis: a bone-thinning disease that puts people at risk for fractures.
* Peptic ulcer disease: a disease in which sores develop in the lining of the stomach or upper portion of the small intestine.
How health coaches can help
If you have one of the conditions listed above, a health coach can help you understand your treatment options and answer questions. Health coaches can also tell you about lifestyle choices that may improve your condition. Making the right food choices, for example, can make a big difference in chronic kidney disease, GERD, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis. Exercise can improve depression, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis.
If you have trouble keeping track of your medications, a health coach can help you make sense of them. A health coach can also explain what your medications do and how they can help. If medications cause unpleasant side effects, a health coach can help you work with your doctor to minimize or avoid those side effects.
A health coach can even help you understand different types of tests. For example, if your doctor suspects you have osteoporosis, he or she may suggest one of several bone density tests. A health coach can help you decide which test (if any) is best for you.
Health coaches can help you manage your health in many ways. They do not take the place of your doctor. Instead, they support your relationship with your doctor and help you to have productive discussions with him or her. To talk to a health coach, call (800) 658-2750. You can also get information online at www.thedialogcenter.com/bcbsnd.
-- Amanda Eickhoff, Assistant Director for Work Well, Wellness Center, email@example.com, 701.777.0210