Dr. Kathryn Fiddler: It’s time to manage your health

Thousands of years ago, Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, “The journey of one thousand miles begins with the first step.”

Today those words ring true in health care, as Peninsula Regional Health System’s teams work to improve the health of the communities we serve.

Just as Dr. George W. Todd, Peninsula General Hospital’s founder, was willing to take the first step by building Peninsula Regional Medical Center over 120 years ago, our health system is also beginning a new journey — a journey to improve our community’s health one step at a time.

The first step is recognizing the challenge before us.

Our area is aging, faster than most. With that aging comes a rise in rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart failure, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, high blood pressure and other illnesses.

The CDC reports that in 2012, 1 in 4 adults had two or more chronic diseases. As we age, and with increasing rates of chronic illnesses, we need to take the first step to make a change.

–Where do we plant our feet for that first step?

For many individuals with a new diagnosis of high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease, the future can seem frightening. They begin to read, to talk to friends, to ask their doctor about what this diagnosis means. At PRMC, we believe this journey starts with you getting the knowledge you need to take charge and manage your health.

–How do you do this?

You can sign up for classes in the community on Chronic Disease Self-management. You can even participate with a friend or family member who would like to learn more. These free classes in your community are six weekly sessions, taught by trained instructors who have or understand these complex health problems.

The classes provide the tools for you to speak with your doctor more easily and gain confidence in managing your health. People who take these workshops often say they feel less tired, less depressed, and have more energy and less pain.

To sign up here on the Lower Shore, call MAC Inc. in Salisbury at 410-742-0505.

We are all aging, and with aging often comes the increased risk of chronic diseases. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with a chronic disease, think about taking the first step in improving your health, and get signed up for a class to learn more about taking charge of your health.

Your personal health care journey begins here.

Dr. Kathryn Fiddler, DNP,MS, RN, NE-BC, is Executive Director for Population Health Management at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury.

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