Chronic disease is Canada’s most pressing health care problem, costing our country an estimated $80 billion each year. Three out of five Canadians live with a chronic disease and four out of five are at risk of developing one.

The good news is 40 per cent of cancers and 80 per cent of heart disease, diabetes and respiratory diseases are preventable by eliminating four common risk factors: poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, smoking and overuse of alcohol.

The key to preventing these diseases and preserving your health once you have them is self-management. Increasingly, B.C. is putting self-management at the forefront of patient-centred care. Self Management BC, a free province-wide program, has trained more than 35,000 BC residents in self-management techniques since 2000.

In this Healthier You Magazine article, Take Charge of Your Own Health, I look at the power of self-management for health — and share some amazing patient stories of transformation and recovery.