Chronic disease is the name given to a long-term health condition that requires ongoing treatment. A health problem is generally classed as a chronic condition if it lasts for longer than three months, requires ongoing management, or is affecting a person’s ability to go about their daily life. In many cases, chronic disease can be prevented through lifestyle changes. Nevertheless, there are several risk factors that make a person more likely to be affected. So, what are classed as chronic diseases and what increases your likelihood of developing one?
What are Classed as Chronic Diseases
Below are the most common conditions that affect people over a prolonged period of time and are therefore classed as chronic diseases:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Cardiovascular Disease such as Angina or Hypertension
- Multiple Sclerosis.
The above are just a few examples of conditions that require ongoing treatment or management and that can affect a person’s daily living.
What Makes You More Likely to Suffer with Chronic Disease
While some chronic conditions are hereditary, there are others that can be attributed to lifestyle. For example, those who use tobacco products are more likely to be affected by a chronic lung disease such as COPD. Their risk of cancer also increases dramatically.
A poor diet can also affect health. So those with a diet high in saturated fat and sodium and low in fibrous fruits and vegetables will have a higher risk of developing various health conditions. Being inactive and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can also cause long-term conditions.
While there is no way to change certain risk factors – such as age, gender, and genetics – lifestyle changes can have a massive impact on whether a person will be affected with some type of chronic disease, particularly type 2 diabetes.
How are Chronic Diseases Treated?
According to the CDC, 90% of the $4.1 trillion spent on healthcare in the U.S. each year is on those with chronic and mental health conditions. How is this treatment provided? And are there any alternatives?
Treatment for chronic health conditions include medication, physical therapy, radiotherapy, psychological therapy, and surgery. Medication is the most common treatment, but according to the experts at KIYA Longevity, there are alternatives to prescription meds. These include natural methods such as supplements, stress management, and changes to lifestyle and nutrition. KIYA’s naturopathic doctors believe that many chronic conditions respond better to treatments based on natural science, rather than prescription medication.
Can Chronic Conditions be Prevented?
There are some chronic diseases that can be prevented with changes to lifestyle. For example, those who quit smoking will dramatically reduce their risk of developing things like COPD or lung cancer.
Eating a healthy diet may also help to prevent or delay conditions such as type 2 diabetes or heart disease, which are commonly associated with obesity and an unhealthy diet.
Drinking too much alcohol is linked to a number of chronic conditions including heart disease, liver disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and various cancers. It has been recommended by the CDC that adults drink in moderation. The guidelines for women are no more than one alcoholic drink per day and no more than two for men.
In some cases, the risk for certain chronic conditions such as cancer is linked to family history. If you do have a history of chronic disease in your family, getting screened may not prevent the illness but it could help you to avail of early intervention, which could improve your chances of a speedy recovery.