Chronic disease – causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 by

Chronic diseases (also known as noncommunicable diseases) are conditions that persist for an extended period. Examples of chronic conditions include cardiovascular disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis.

A condition is defined as chronic if it lasts for three months or more.  Moreover, a chronic disease is known to progress slowly over a period of time. These tend to be more common with age: in the U.S., at least 88 percent of people beyond 65 years of age have at least one chronic condition.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified chronic diseases as a leading cause of death and disability, occupying seven of the 10 leading causes of death in the country in 2014.

Known risk factors for chronic disease

While chronic diseases are debilitating, risk factors leading to the condition are preventable.

  • Lack of physical activity – In a study conducted in 2015, experts found out that nearly half of people over the age of 18 did not meet the recommended amount of physical activity. In addition, at least 79 percent reported that they were not able to meet the recommended amount of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity.
  • Poor diet – Nearly half of adults in the U.S. do not regularly eat fruits and vegetables.
  • Cigarette smoking – Nearly 500,000 deaths a year are due to cigarette smoking. However, 3,200 people, mostly teenagers below 18 years, smoke their first cigarette each day.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption – Drinking too much alcohol accounts for 88,000 deaths each year. The average adult reports to binge drink at least four times a month.

List of chronic diseases

This is by all means not a comprehensive list, but here are some of the leading chronic diseases.

  • Asthma – A major noncommunicable disease, asthma is the chronic inflammation of the lungs which narrows breathing. At least 235 million people around the world suffer from the condition.
  • Cancer – One of the leading causes of death worldwide, cancer is the collective term for a group of diseases that result in the rapid creation of abnormal cells which invade other parts of the body.
  • Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) – The condition refers to illnesses that affect the heart and blood vessels. Collectively, CVDs account for more deaths around the world than any other cause.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – This refers to the progressive lung disease that is characterized by breathlessness. COPD is usually caused by cigarette smoke.
  • Dementia – The condition is defined as the rapid decline in cognitive function in a person. Its most notable form, Alzheimer’s disease, accounts for 70 percent of all dementia cases.
  • Diabetes – A person has diabetes when either his pancreas does not make enough insulin or when his body cannot properly use it. This condition is steadily on the rise, with at least 422 million cases recorded in 2014.
  • Obesity – The condition refers to the presence of excess fat which can prove harmful to human health. According to the latest data from the World Health Organization, cases of obesity around the world have tripled since 1975.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent or relieve chronic disease

A poor diet is a major factor in the onset of chronic disease. Aside from adjustments in lifestyle, such as increasing physical activity and quitting smoking, reduced consumption of processed foods and meeting the required amount of fruits and vegetables help keep chronic diseases at bay.

One way to achieve that is through the DASH diet, which serves as a guide for healthy eating. At its core, the DASH calls for increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts, legumes, and whole grains.

Treatment and management options for chronic disease

Managing a chronic disease involves proper detection, screening, and treatment of the condition, as well as palliative care. Through these methods, premature death and permanent disability can be avoided.

Where to learn more

Summary

Chronic diseases are conditions that persist for an extended period of time, usually lasting for three months or more. These tend to be more common with age: in the U.S., at least 88 percent of people beyond 65 years of age have at least one chronic condition.

While chronic diseases are debilitating, risk factors leading to the condition are. Managing a chronic disease involves proper detection, screening, and treatment of the condition, as well as palliative care. Through these methods, premature death and permanent disability can be avoided.

Sources include:

MedicineNet.com

CDC.gov

WHO.int 1

WHO.int 2

WHO.int 3

WHO.int 4

WHO.int 5

WHO.int 6

WHO.int 7

Medscape.com



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