A chronic condition is a human health condition or disease that is persistent or long-lasting in its effects. The term chronic is usually applied when the course of a disease lasts for more than three months. Chronic diseases can cause you to be tired and in pain, often affecting your appearance or your physical abilities and independence. A chronic disease can also put a strain on your finances, if it causes you to miss work.
Most Common Chronic Diseases & Conditions
- Heart Disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
Facts About Chronic Disease
- 45% of all adults have one or more chronic health conditions. One out of four adults have two or more chronic health conditions.
- In 2010, seven of the top 10 causes of death were chronic diseases. Two of these chronic diseases, heart disease and cancer, accounted for nearly 48% of all deaths.
- In 2009 – 2010, more than 1/3 of adults were obese and nearly one out of five youths aged 2-19 years old were percentile obese.
- Arthritis is the most common cause of disability. Of the 53 million adults with a doctor’s diagnosis of arthritis, more than 22 million say it effects their usual activities.
- Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations (other than those caused by injury) and new cases of blindness among adults.
Health Risk Behaviors & Chronic Disease
Health risk behaviors are unhealthy behaviors that you have the ability to change. Behaviors that are considered to cause health risks include lack of exercise, poor nutrition, tobacco use and excessive alcohol intake.
Facts About Health Risk Behavior
- In 2011, 52% of adults 18 years & older did not meet recommendations for aerobic exercise or physical activity.
- 47% of adults have at least one of the following major risk factors for heart disease or stroke: high blood pressure, high cholesterol or are current smokers.
- 90% of Americans consume too much sodium, which increases their risk of high blood pressure.
- 36% of adolescents & 38% of adults said they ate fruit less than once a day
- 38% of adolescents & 23% of adults said they ate vegetables less than once a day
- In 2011, almost 1 out of 5 adults smoked cigarettes
- Excessive alcohol intake is responsible for 88,000 deaths per year
Preventing & Controlling Diseases
Obesity and heart attacks are major public-health problems in the United States and many other countries. Therefore, most dietary recommendations are aimed at preventing these two diseases. Obesity comes over time by eating more calories than the body burns. Obesity, in turn, can contribute to the development of many diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, liver disease, arthritis, high blood pressure, gout, gallstones and certain cancers.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published in 2010 by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), contains guidelines for healthy diets based upon review of scientific studies for people above 2 years of age.
These guidelines recommend that a healthy diet should:
- Balance calories with physical activity to manage weight.
- Consume more of certain foods & nutrients such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood.
- Consume fewer foods with sodium (salt), saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, and refined grains.
The key objective in your diet is get the most nutrition (proteins, vitamins, and minerals) out of the recommended number of daily calories and to achieve a balance between food intake and physical activity to maintain a healthy weight.
Here are some tips!
- Make half your grains whole
- Vary your veggies
- Focus on fruit
- Get your calcium-rich foods
- Go lean with protein
- Find your balance between food & physical activity