How is Chronic Diseases Defined?
Chronic diseases are defined broadly as conditions that last 1 year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living or both. Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. They are also leading drivers of the nation’s $4.1 trillion in annual health care costs” (CDC)
Many chronic diseases are caused by a short list of risk behaviors:
- Tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Poor nutrition including diets low in fruits and vegetables and high in sodium and saturated fats.
- Physical inactivity.
- Excessive alcohol use.
Heart Disease: Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions. In the United States, the most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD), which affects the blood flow to the heart. Decreased blood flow can cause a heart attack. You can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease through lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medicine.
Learn more at https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/about.htm
Cancer: Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, but many kinds of cancer can be prevented or caught early. Leading risk factors for preventable cancers are smoking, getting too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds, being overweight or having obesity, and drinking too much alcohol.
Learn more at https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/index.htm
Stroke: A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, occurs when something blocks blood supply to part of the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. In either case, parts of the brain become damaged or die. A stroke can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability, or even death.
Learn more at https://www.cdc.gov/stroke/index.htm
Diabetes: Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant). More than 122 million Americans are living with diabetes (37.3 million) or prediabetes (96 million).
Learn more at https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/index.html
Alzheimer’s Disease: Alzheimer’s, the most common type of dementia, is a progressive disease affecting nearly 6 million people. Alzheimer’s disease involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language. It can seriously affect a person’s ability to carry out daily activities. It begins with mild memory loss and can lead loss of ability to carry a conversation and respond to the environment.
Learn more at https://www.cdc.gov/aging/index.html
Obesity: Weight that is higher than what is considered healthy for a given height is described as overweight or obesity. Body Mass Index (BMI) is a screening tool for overweight and obesity.
Learn more at https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/index.html
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. It includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Learn more at https://www.cdc.gov/copd/index.html