Did you know that chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States?
In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), six in ten adults in the United States have at least one chronic disease.
And chronic diseases are responsible for seven of the ten leading causes of death.
What exactly are chronic diseases?
Chronic diseases are defined as physical or mental health conditions that last one year or more and require ongoing medical care.
They are also often progressive, meaning they get worse over time.
Chronic illnesses can hinder everyday activities and make it difficult to work or take care of yourself and your family.
The good news is that chronic diseases are often preventable.
Here are the ten most common chronic diseases
1. High blood pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common chronic disease.
It occurs when the force of blood against the walls of your arteries is too high.
Over time, this can damage your arteries and lead to health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.
There are many factors that can contribute to high blood pressure, including obesity, stress, smoking, and genetics.
And while there is no cure for hypertension, there are many things you can do to lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of health complications.
These include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and managing stress.
In some cases, medication may also be necessary to manage blood pressure.
With proper treatment, people with hypertension can live long and healthy lives.
If you have high blood pressure, it’s important to work with your healthcare team to develop a treatment plan
2. Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that affects the brain and nervous system.
It is the most common cause of dementia, and it can lead to memory loss, confusion, and difficulty with speaking and understanding.
Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging, although the risk increases with age.
Most people with Alzheimer’s are 65 or older.
It is estimated that more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s.
The disease progresses slowly, and it is currently incurable.
However, there are treatments available that can help to improve symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.
Researchers are also working to develop new treatments and to improve our understanding of the causes of Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Coronary heart disease
Coronary heart disease is a chronic illness that affects the heart muscle and arteries.
It is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 1 in every 4 deaths.
The cause of coronary heart disease is atherosclerosis, a condition that occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries.
Plaque is made up of cholesterol, fat, and other substances.
When plaque builds up, it narrows the arteries and reduces blood flow to the heart.
This can lead to a heart attack, angina (chest pain), or other problems.
There are several lifestyle choices that can help reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease.
These include eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and quitting smoking.
In addition, various medical treatments can also help prevent or manage the condition.
For example, medications such as statins can help to lower cholesterol levels, while blood pressure-lowering drugs can help to reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
According to the World Health Organization, depression is a common mental disorder that affects more than 280 million people around the world.
- Persistent sadness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
- Feelings of guilt or low self-worth
- Sleep disturbances.
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in appetite
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Depression can also lead to physical symptoms such as fatigue, body aches, and headaches.
While depression is often viewed as a purely mental health condition, it can also have physical causes.
Common chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer can all lead to depressive symptoms.
In addition, certain medications and hormonal changes can also trigger depression.
Although depression can be debilitating, it is treatable with proper diagnosis and treatment, including medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes.
Most people with depression can improve their symptoms and live productive lives.
If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, it is important to seek professional help.
Learn more: 6 Simple Things to Do to Fight Depression
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), arthritis is one of the most common chronic diseases in the United States, affecting more than 58 million adults.
Arthritis is a general term for a group of conditions that affect the joints and surrounding tissues.
The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of bones breaks down over time.
This can happen due to normal wear and tear or from an injury.
Other types of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and lupus.
Symptoms of arthritis include pain, stiffness, swelling, and reduced range of motion.
While there is no cure for arthritis, there are treatments that can help relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.
These include medication, exercise, and weight loss.
In addition, various medical procedures can also be used to treat arthritis.
For example, joint replacement surgery can be used to relieve pain and improve function in people with severe arthritis.
Learn more: How To Relieve Arthritis Pain
Diabetes is one of the most serious chronic diseases in the world.
As a matter of fact, diabetes was mentioned by the CDC as the seventh most common cause of death in the United States.
Diabetes occurs when there is an imbalance of sugar in the blood.
There are two main types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 diabetes is when the body does not produce insulin, and type 2 diabetes is when the body does not use insulin properly.
What’s more, type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood, while type 2 diabetes is more common in adults.
People with diabetes often experience symptoms such as fatigue, thirst, and frequent urination.
If left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious complications such as heart disease, kidney failure, amputation, and blindness.
In severe cases, it could lead to death.
The good news is that diabetes can be controlled through diet, exercise, and medication.
By making healthy lifestyle choices, people with diabetes can enjoy long and healthy lives.
7. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a common chronic illness that affects millions of people worldwide.
According to the CDC, about 16 million Americans have COPD.
COPD is a group of lung diseases that block airflow and make it difficult to breathe.
It includes both emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Emphysema is a disease in which the alveoli, or air sacs, in your lungs are damaged, and you have difficulty breathing air out of your lungs.
In chronic bronchitis, there is inflammation and irritation of the bronchial tubes, which carry air to your lungs.
Both diseases make it hard to breathe in and out.
COPD can be caused by smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke, or other airborne irritants.
People with COPD are at risk for serious health problems, including heart disease, lung cancer, and other respiratory diseases.
There is no cure for COPD, but treatments are available to help manage the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.
With proper treatment, people with COPD can live long, productive lives.
Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for people with COPD.
If you think you or someone you know may have COPD, talk to your doctor about getting tested.
8. Chronic Kidney Disease
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, chronic kidney disease (CKD) is defined as “a condition in which your kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood the way they should.”
There are many different causes of CKD, including diabetes, high blood pressure, genetically inherited disorders, and infections.
CKD can often be silent, meaning there may be no symptoms until the kidneys are significantly damaged.
When symptoms do occur, they can include chest pain, fatigue, weakness, weight loss, decreased urination, and difficulty breathing.
If left untreated, CKD can progress to end-stage renal disease (ESRD), which is when the kidneys can no longer function properly.
ESRD requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to sustain life.
CKD can be treated and often reversed if the underlying cause is identified and treated early.
However, once CKD progresses to ESRD, treatment options are limited to dialysis and transplant.
Cancer is one of the most common chronic diseases worldwide, with approximately 19 million new cases diagnosed each year.
While cancer can affect people of all ages, the disease is most prevalent among older adults.
The most common types of cancer include:
While there are many different causes of cancer, some of the most important risk factors include smoking, excessive sun exposure, and a family history of the disease.
Regardless of its cause, cancer can have a profound impact on patients and their families.
Treatment options vary depending on the type and stage of cancer.
But may include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
With early detection and proper treatment, many cancer patients are able to go on to lead long and healthy lives.
If you have any concerns, please consult with your doctor.
The CDC reports that strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, with approximately 795,000 people having strokes each year.
Believe it or not, every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a stroke.
And every 3.5 minutes, someone dies from a stroke.
According to the American Stroke Association, a stroke occurs when “a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts.”
This can cause the death of brain cells and lead to a range of symptoms, including paralysis, problems with speech and language, memory loss, and even death.
A stroke is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.
If you think someone may be having a stroke, call 911 right away.
With early diagnosis and treatment, many people who have had a stroke can recover fully or partially.
However, some people may never regain all of their functions.
Prevention is always the best medicine, so make sure to live a healthy lifestyle and see your doctor regularly to help reduce your risk of stroke.
Chronic diseases are a major health problem worldwide, with millions of people affected each year.
The most common chronic diseases include heart disease, COPD, arthritis, chronic kidney disease, cancer, and stroke.
While there is no cure for most chronic illnesses, early diagnosis and treatment can often improve the prognosis and quality of life for patients.
Therefore, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of these conditions and to see your doctor regularly for check-ups.