If Chris Can Overcome Chronic Disease, So Can You

April 09, 2019

Chris Garner, Prevention Program Participant

Chris Garner, a Long Island resident, was overweight and taking a fistful of prescription medications every day. He had both high blood pressure and pre-diabetes.

A young man with a loving family and a lot to live for, Chris decided to be proactive about his health. He enrolled in a chronic disease management program through his local health department. There, he learned how to incorporate and sustain lifestyle changes – how healthier eating and exercise could change his life in both the long and short term.

The Stats about Chronic Diseases

Across America, six in ten adults live with at least one chronic disease. A chronic disease is a condition that lasts one year or more, and requires ongoing medical attention, or limit activities of daily living. Or both.

The leading causes of death and disability in the United States, chronic diseases are things like cancer, heart disease, asthma, stroke and diabetes. Four in ten adults live with multiple chronic conditions.

Most chronic diseases are caused by a short list of risk behaviors, including lack of physical activity and poor nutrition. But by making healthy choices, you can reduce your likelihood of getting a chronic disease and improve your quality of life.

What changed for Chris?

Chris Garner was one of those Americans with multiple chronic diseases. When he decided to make a change, he chose changes he could stick with. With the help of the chronic disease management program, he learned how to read food labels, began cooking more and eating out less, and he started going for daily walks. With these simple changes, Chris lost weight and started to feel better. Most importantly, he reduced his reliance on medication. Today, he feels better and his health has dramatically improved. 

Get help with your first small change

The truth is that most chronic diseases can be prevented through simple lifestyle changes like the ones Chris made. The Long Island Health Collaborative wants to help you Live Better. On Long Island, there are a number of resources to help you and your family make those healthy choices.

To help you access self-management programs that can give you the tools to improve your health, check out our Live Better page for the resources you need.

Here you can read about a variety of self-management programs across Long Island, and search multiple databases to find a program that will work for you. You can also learn more about Chris Garner’s story and about chronic diseases from our videos, which you can share.

Self-management programs are offered by many hospitals, health departments, and community-based organizations. These programs are taught by healthcare professionals, and they focus on building and maintaining healthy habits. Habits like quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting more exercise, and receiving recommended health screenings, are all easy ways to improve your health.

By learning the skills to hard-wire these healthy habits, participants often see a reduction in their symptoms and enjoy improved health.

Want to learn more? Watch Chris's story below, share it with your friends, and visit www.lihealthcollab.org/livebetter.