6 Evidence-Based Practices for 8 Common Chronic Conditions

According to the CDC 90% of healthcare dollars are for people with chronic and mental health conditions.  The eight most common chronic conditions linked to high employer spending are depression, increased blood glucose, high blood pressure, obesity, tobacco use, physical inactivity, anxiety, and chronic pain.

Self-care, practices individuals take to maintain or improve their health and well-being, when practiced consistent with the evidence, is a key strategy for chronic illness management.  Evidence-based self-care practices are an essential component of a Sustainable Self-Care Initiative (SSCI).  For health systems, structured self-care practices are inexpensive to implement, can decrease costs of care over time, and may increase patient engagement.

The table below highlights the eight most common chronic conditions along with self-care practices that can help manage each condition.  Of particular interest is that all 6 evidence-based practices (meditation, imagery, biofeedback, yoga, acupressure and qi gong) have been found to effectively help manage 5 of the 8 common chronic conditions (high blood pressure, obesity, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain).  Of even more interest, both imagery and yoga have been found to help manage all 8 of the chronic conditions.  You can read more details and see the research on all of these practices in the article published in the Journal of Community Medicine.



You can use the table to determine which self-care practices will be most effective for a particular individual or group of patients. For example, for all individuals, the combination of yoga and imagery, depending on preferences, will work for any of the 8 conditions.  However, for individuals with an inactivity issue, you will want to exclude meditation, biofeedback or acupressure.  Interestingly, imagery is a practice that can help individuals with inactivity because the brain does not know the difference between what you are imagining and what you are actually doing.  While imagery will not burn calories, it is likely to get individuals more prepared to embark on an active lifestyle.  Check out the following self-care skills trainings:

Or you can view more self-care skills trainings.



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