Chronic diseases - such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, and arthritis - are the leading causes of disability and death. More than 40% of people suffer from a chronic disease, and chronic diseases are responsible for 23% of all hospitalizations. Six out of every 10 deaths are caused by chronic diseases. Heart disease and cancer account for over half of all these deaths.
By definition, a chronic disease is one lasting 3 months or more. Chronic diseases don't just disappear and generally cannot be prevented by vaccines or cured by medication. Over 88% of all people over 65 years of age have at least one chronic health condition. The sad part is that many of these diseases are preventable. Health damaging behaviors - particularly tobacco use, lack of physical activity, and poor eating habits - are major contributors to the leading chronic diseases. Obesity is one of the greatest contributors. During 2009–2010, more than one-third of adults, or about 78 million people, were obese.
Here are some of the poor health choices that cause chronic Diseases:
Aerobic exercise or physical activity is lacking. In 2011, more than half (52%) of adults aged 18 years or older did not meet recommended levels. In addition, 76% did not meet recommendations for muscle-strengthening physical activity.
Too many people have uncontrolled high blood pressure, uncontrolled high LDL cholesterol, or are current smokers.
Ninety percent of Americans consume too much sodium, increasing their risk of high blood pressure.
Not eating a healthy enough diet, particularly not enough fruits and vegetable.
Smoking! Cigarette smoking accounts for more than 480,000 deaths each year.
Alcohol is responsible for 88,000 deaths each year, more than half of which are due to binge drinking.
Here is a list of the most common Chronic Health Diseases
Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease
Although common and costly, many chronic diseases are also preventable. Many chronic diseases are linked to lifestyle choices that are within your own hands to change. Eating nutritious foods, becoming more physically active and avoiding tobacco can help keep you from developing many of these diseases and conditions. And, even if you already have diabetes, heart disease, arthritis or another chronic condition, eating more healthful food and getting more exercise, whether it's a brisk walk, a bike ride, a jog or a swim, can help you better manage your illness, avoid complications and prolong your life.
In future articles we will be discussing all of these conditions in depth.