A chronic illness is a human health condition or disease that is persistent or otherwise long-lasting in its effects or a disease that comes with time. The term chronic is usually applied when the course of the disease lasts for more than three months. Common chronic illnesses include arthritis, asthma, cancer, COPD, diabetes and viral diseases such as hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS. In medicine, the opposite of chronic is acute. A chronic course is further distinguished from a recurrent course; recurrent diseases relapse repeatedly, with periods of remission in between.
Heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, lung disease, obesity, and arthritis—are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems. One in four Americans has multiple chronic illness, those that last a year or more and require ongoing medical attention or that limit activities of daily living. That number rises to three in four Americans aged 65 and older. Seven of the top 10 causes of death in 2010 were chronic diseases. Two of these chronic diseases—heart disease and cancer—together accounted for nearly 48% of all deaths.
This high prevalence has several underlying causes:
◦ the rapidly growing population of older adults
◦ the increasing life expectancy associated with advances in public health and clinical medicine
◦ the high prevalence of some risk factors, such as tobacco use and physical inactivity.
As a person’s number of chronic conditions increases, his or her risk for dying prematurely, being hospitalized, and even receiving conflicting advice from health care providers increases. People with multiple chronic conditions also are at greater risk of poor day-to-day functioning.
Unhealthy behaviors you can change. Four of these health risk behaviors—lack of exercise or physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and drinking too much alcohol—cause much of the illness, suffering, and early death related to chronic diseases and conditions. In 2011, more than half (52%) of adults aged 18 years or older did not meet recommendations for aerobic exercise or physical activity. In addition, 76% did not meet recommendations for muscle-strengthening physical activity. About half of US adults (47%) have at least one of the following major risk factors for heart disease or stroke: uncontrolled high blood pressure, uncontrolled high LDL cholesterol, or are current smokers. Ninety percent (90%) of Americans consume too much sodium, increasing their risk of high blood pressure.
CompassionCare Hospice help our patients better understand their illness and care plan (provide education). We also watch for changes in their conditions and communicate any changes to their MD.