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What Is Chronic Disease?

 

Six in 10 adults in the United States have a chronic disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC also found that four in 10 adults have two or more chronic diseases. With so many adults affected by chronic illness, it’s no wonder that it costs the nation $3.3 trillion in annual healthcare costs for the management and treatment of these conditions.

But what is a chronic disease? The CDC defines a chronic condition as an illness that lasts a year or more and requires ongoing medical attention. It can also limit a person’s daily activities.

Chronic conditions include but are not limited to:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Arthritis
  • Being overweight
  • Cancer
  • Kidney disease
  • Lung disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke

Some people living with a chronic disease may not realize the seriousness of their condition. Someone with diabetes may say they have just “a touch of sugar” or a person at risk for high blood pressure may not go to the doctor because they “feel fine.” It is this misinformation that can lead to deadly consequences.

According to the World Health Organization, 60% of all deaths are due to chronic diseases. That’s why it’s important to be educated on how to prevent and control them.

The major risk factors for developing a chronic condition are excessive alcohol use, lack of physical activity, poor nutrition and tobacco use. Making healthy choices can help reduce your likelihood of getting a chronic disease and improve your quality of life.

If you’re living with an ongoing health problem, Tanner’s Get Healthy, Live Well is offering a free Living Well workshop that will provide some additional tools that will help you gain control of your symptoms and live a better, healthier life. To register, call 770-214-CARE or visit tanner.org/living well. If you have questions, email gethealthy@tanner.org.

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