Managing Your Chronic Disease and Your Job

Do you have a chronic disease? If so, you are not alone. Chronic diseases include conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. These conditions are not only prevalent but are the primary causes of disability and death. They also contribute significantly to the 3.8 trillion dollars that Americans spend on health care every year. Many chronic diseases are caused by lifestyle behaviors that could be changed or modified, including smoking and being exposed to secondhand smoke; following a diet that contains a lot of saturated fat and salt and few vegetables and fruits; excessive alcohol consumption; and a lack of physical activity.

These chronic conditions also affect the productivity of people at work; according to the CDC, the lost productivity resulting from the seven most prevalent conditions equals a staggering 3.7 trillion dollars. Those conditions include Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Employers can help employees with chronic diseases in several ways, such as by promoting healthy activities at work. These activities may include health assessments and screenings; newsletters and other educational information about healthy lifestyles; reduced-rate gym memberships or an on-site gym; smoking cessation programs; standing desks; healthy snacks in break rooms and vending machines; and healthy, catered meals to employees.

If you are an employee with a chronic health condition, recognize that your symptoms may affect you at work. Determine how you can address them, whether that means taking more frequent breaks, working from home some of the time, or managing your symptoms. The accompanying resource details more about this.