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Discover the Truth About Chronic Disease.

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Paulinne

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The menace of chronic and degenerating disease is real. It imposes an enormous and growing burden on individuals, families, communities, and nations.

Coping with chronic illness is not Nigeria’s challenge alone. In September 2011, for the first time, the United Nations took up the topic of chronic diseases as a principal theme at a plenary gathering.

The rising burden of chronic disease affects all on the economic spectrum. Chronic illnesses have the potential to reduce population health by limiting individual capacity to live well.

At the end of this post you will gain clarity on the following:

The Different Views of chronic diseases.

  • What chronic disease is?
  • Examples of chronic disease.
  • The risk factors.
  • Basic symptoms of some chronic diseases.
  • And more……….

Different Views of Chronic Diseases.

  1. A chronic disease is a human health condition that is persistent or otherwise long-lasting in its effects or a disease that comes with time. The term chronic is often applied when the course of the disease lasts for more than three months.
  2. A disease that lasts for 3 months or longer and may get worse over time is called a Chronic disease. It tends to occur in older adults and can usually be controlled but not cured. The most common types of chronic disease are cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and arthritis.
  1. Chronic disease: A disease that persists for a long time. A chronic disease is one lasting 3 months or more, by the definition of the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics. Chronic diseases generally cannot be prevented by vaccines or cured by medication, nor do they disappear.
  1. Chronic diseases are defined as conditions that last 1 year or more and need 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 worldwide.
  1. The term chronic is often applied when the course of the disease lasts for more than three months. Common chronic diseases include arthritis, asthma, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and some viral diseases such as hepatitis C and Acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
  1. In medicine, a chronic condition can be distinguished from one that is acute. An acute condition typically affects one portion of the body and responds to treatment. A chronic condition on the other hand usually affects multiple areas of the body, is not fully responsive to treatment, and persists for an extended period. Degenerative conditions may have periods of remission where the disease goes away and subsequently reappears.
  1. A chronic disease is a condition you can control with treatment for months. Asthma, diabetes, and depression are common examples. Often, they don’t have a cure, but you can live with them and manage their symptoms. Sometimes, your doctor might use the words “controlled” or “stable” to describe your cancer if it’s unchanged over time. The disease can also go through cycles of growing, shrinking, and staying the same.
  1. Chronic disease is a disease that persists over a long time. It can hinder independence and the health of its victims and may create activity limitations.

A chronic or long-term illness, means having to adjust to the demands of the illness and the therapy used to treat the condition.

  1. A terminal sickness is one that is lifelong and ends in death. An illness can change in definition from terminal to chronic. For instances, Diabetes and HIV were once considered terminal ailments but now considered chronic due to the availability of insulin, and daily drug treatment for individuals with HIV which allow these individuals to live while managing the symptoms.

“From the views above we can infer that a  chronic disease or illness is generally a condition that is slow in progression, long in duration, and void of spontaneous resolution.  And it often limits the function, productivity, and quality of life of someone who lives with it.”

What chronic disease is not?

It is not a cold or flu that clears up within a few days. It’s a disease that persists—causing long-term stress, pain, and frustration, reducing the quality of your life, or shortens your life span.

Non-life-threatening conditions that are recurrent in nature like acne, headaches, migraines, and skin conditions can be considered a chronic disease, too.

In the past few centuries, extraordinary advances in developed countries in medicine have changed the chronic disease landscape dramatically. Hygienic and sanitaryadvances have prevented many previously common infectious diseases. Immunizations, clinical and community interventions have substantially controlled many past causes of chronic illness, such as tuberculosis and polio.

Pharmacotherapy has enabled many persons with chronic mental illness to live in their communities. Chronic cardiovascular diseases have become less disabling in many important ways.

Therapeutic approaches have improved the function and overall health for some persons with chronic illness through advances in corrective surgery, new approaches in analgesia, better rehabilitation and physical and occupational therapy, improved nutrition management, and adaptation of home and community environments for functionally impaired persons.

However, these advances have been compromised by parallel increases in physical inactivity, unhealthy eating, obesity, tobacco use, and other chronic disease risk factors.

Few Examples of Prevalent Chronic diseases.

  • Arthritis.
  • cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attack and stroke,).
  • Diabetes.
  • Disorders.
  • Epilepsy and seizures.
  • Obesity.
  • Cancer etc.

The Ways degenerative Diseases Cause Impairments.

1. Functional Disability.

Functional impairment can relate to restrictions in physical, mental, or social function.

Disability is a more severe impairment that limits the performance of functional tasks and fulfilment of socially defined roles (handicap).

For example, physical disability is the inability to complete specific physical functional tasks, called activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), that are important to daily life.

2. Medical complications that lead to impairment.

Chronic Illnesses Leading to Other Medical Conditions for example Diabetes can indirectly lead to impairment and disability, because of its effects on blood vessels.

For instance, visual impairment and end-stage renal disease are often microvascular  complications.

And coronary heart and cerebrovascular disease are frequently macrovascular complications.

3. Directly Causing Disability.

Osteoarthritis causes impairment or disability directly through reduced mortality or pain in such joints as the knee or hip.

Knee osteoarthritis results in 25 per cent of affected individuals having difficulty performing activities of daily living due to pain and limited mobility (Arthritis  Foundation, 2008.)

The Early Symptoms of Some Chronic Diseases.

People with chronic disease often think that they are free from the disease when they have no symptoms. Having no symptoms, does not mean that chronic disease has disappeared it means it has not reached the incapacitating stages.

Below are the early signs of the following degenerating diseases.

  ARTHRITIS.

Arthritis is the “wear and tear” on the joints such as the knees, hips, and wrists. Its early signs include:

  • Joint pain after sitting for a short time or when waking up.
  • Stiffness at joints.
  • Tenderness and redness at joints.
  • Swelling at joints.

 

 CANCER

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Cancer develops when the body’s normal control mechanism stops working. Old cells do not die and instead grow out of control, forming new, abnormal cells. These extra cells may form a mass of tissue, called a tumour.

Its risk factors include:

  • Excessive exposure to sunlight.
  • Lack of physical activity.
  • Family history.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals.
  • Poor diet.

SYMPTOMS

  • Change in bowel or bladder habits.
  • A sore throat that does not heal.
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge (for example, nipple secretions or a “sore” that will not heal that oozes material).
  • Thickening or lump in the breast, testicles, or elsewhere.
  • Indigestion (usually chronic) or difficulty swallowing.
  • Obvious change in the size, colour, shape, or thickness of a wart or mole.
  • Unexplained loss of weight or loss of appetite.
  • A new type of pain in the bones or other parts of the body that may be steadily worsening, or come and go, but is unlike previous pains one has had before.
  • Persistent fatigue, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Unexplained low-grade fevers with may be either persistent or come and go.
  • Recurring infections which will not clear with usual treatment.

 

  STROKE

 Stroke is a blockage of blood flow to the brain. The signs include:

Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially one side of the body.

Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.

  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

– If someone notices any of these signs, see your doctor immediately!

HEART ATTACK

A heart attack is a blockage of blood flow to the heart. Its warning signs may include:

  • Shortness of breath.
  • Irregular heartbeats.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea.
  • Uncomfortable pressure or pain in the chest.

– If you notice any of these signs, see your doctor immediately!

OBESITY

Obesity is a chronic health condition of being above normal body weight. It is a risk factor for other chronic diseases such as arthritis, stroke, heart attack, asthma, Type 2 diabetes, and other social and emotional issues. Obesity is often related to a person’s lifestyle such as:

Lack of physical activity.

High fat/calorie diet.

SYMPTOMS.

Obesity is diagnosed when your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher. To determine your body mass index, divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared and multiply by 703. Or divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared.

People with chronic disease often think that they are free from the disease when they have no symptoms. Having no symptoms, does not mean that chronic disease has disappeared it means it has not reached the incapacitating stages. Below are the early signs of the following degenerating diseases.

 

CANCER

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Cancer develops when the body’s normal control mechanism stops working. Old cells do not die and instead grow out of control, forming new, abnormal cells. These extra cells may form a mass of tissue, called a tumour. Its risk factors include:

  • Excessive exposure to sunlight.
  • Lack of physical activity.
  • Family history.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals.
  • Poor diet.

 SYMPTOMS

  • Change in bowel or bladder habits.
  • A sore throat that does not heal.
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge (for example, nipple secretions or a “sore” that will not heal that oozes material).
  • Thickening or lump in the breast, testicles, or elsewhere.
  • Indigestion (usually chronic) or difficulty swallowing.
  • Obvious change in the size, colour, shape, or thickness of a wart or mole.
  • Unexplained loss of weight or loss of appetite.
  • A new type of pain in the bones or other parts of the body that may be steadily worsening, or come and go, but is unlike previous pains one has had before.
  • Persistent fatigue, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Unexplained low-grade fevers with may be either persistent or come and go.
  • Recurring infections which will not clear with usual treatment.

CHRONIC KIDNEY FAILURE.

Chronic kidney disease describes the gradual loss of kidney function. Your kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from your blood, which are then excreted in your urine. When chronic kidney disease reaches an advanced stage, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes can build up in your body it leads to kidney failure.

SYMPTOMS

Signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease develop over time if kidney damage progresses slowly. Signs and symptoms of kidney disease may include:

  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Fatigue and weakness.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Changes in how much you urinate.
  • Decreased mental sharpness.
  • Muscle twitches and cramps.
  • Swelling of feet and ankles.
  • Persistent itching.
  • Chest pain if fluid builds up around the lining of the heart.
  • Shortness of breath if fluid builds up in the lungs.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) that’s difficult to control.

Please note that the sign and symptoms of kidney disease are often nonspecific, meaning they can also be caused by other illnesses. Because your kidneys are highly adaptable and able to compensate for lost function, signs and symptoms may not appear until irreversible damage has occurred.

  DIABETES

 Diabetes is a disease in which your body cannot produce enough insulin, cannot use insulin, or a mix of both.

In diabetes, sugar levels in the blood go up.  It is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high.

Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat.

Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. This can cause complications if left uncontrolled.

The potential health consequences are often serious.

Diabetes raises the risk of cardiovascular disease and can cause problems with your eyes, kidneys, and skin, among other things.

Diabetes can also lead to erectile dysfunction (ED) and other urological problems in men.

However, many of these complications are preventable or treatable with awareness and attention to your health.

SYMPTOMS OF DIABETES

Early symptoms of diabetes are often undetected because they may not seem that serious. Some of the mildest early diabetes symptoms include:

  • Frequent Urination.
  • Unusual Fatigue.
  • Blurred Vision.
  • Weight Loss, Even Without Dieting
  • Tingling or Numbness in the Hands and Feet.

If you allow diabetes to go untreated, complications can occur. These complications can include issues with these areas of your body

Skin.

Eyes.

Kidney.

Nerves, including nerve damage.

Amputation.

Pay attention to bacterial infections in your eyelids (styes), hair follicles (folliculitis), or fingernails or toenails. Additionally, make note of any stabbing or shooting pains in your hands and feet. All of these are signals that you may be experiencing complications from diabetes.

RISK FACTORS OF CHRONIC DISEASES.

The common source of many of chronic diseases related to daily life include:

  • wrong feeding habits
  • Excessive alcohol.
  • Excessive exposure to sunlight.
  • Depression.
  • Stress.
  • Smoking.

Early diagnosis is important and helpful in managing chronic diseases. Talk to your physician regarding more information about chronic diseases. As well as to learn effective disease prevention and disease management steps.

 

Why Do Chronic Diseases Happen?

It is nearly impossible to know exactly why a chronic disease develops because the causes can be “everything and anything.”

So, if you have got cancer, what caused it? We may never know. The best course of action is to stop worrying about what happened in the past, and instead, take charge of your present and future.

Let us focus on what you can you start doing—right now, to boost your immune system and start healing.

Even though you may never know exactly why you got sick, the good news is that you have a great deal of control over your eating habits and lifestyle—and therefore, a great deal of control over your body’s healing process.

Instead of obsessing about what caused your disease, let us focus on how to beat it.

Focus on what you are eating today.

What you are drinking today.

How you are taking care of your body today.

Today can be the first day of a healthier, stronger, and, eventually, pain-and disease-free life.

 

 

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