Chronic diseases are defined as conditions that last longer than a year, require ongoing medical treatment, and interfere with activities of daily living. Arthritis, lupus, cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, hypertension, heart disease, and stroke are a few of the most common, and many patients at Palmetto Infusion and AccuRX Infusion battle chronic conditions daily.
The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion states that six in 10 adults in the U.S. have at least one chronic disease. Even more alarming is that, according to the CDC, four in 10 adults have two or more chronic medical conditions, and treatment of these chronic conditions is responsible for 90% of $4.1 trillion in annual health care expenditures in the US.
Outside of disease-specific symptoms, many chronically-ill patients also experience symptoms such as pain and fatigue that can be mitigated through exercise and medicine. Additionally, learning to manage stress will help in all facets of your life, including the mental and physical aspects. However, it is important to seek help as soon as you feel you aren’t able to cope on your own.
Some ways to help improve your life with chronic illness can include:
- Eating a healthy diet.
- Getting as much physical activity as you can.
- Avoiding negative coping mechanisms like alcohol and substance abuse.
- Exploring stress-relief activities like meditation.
- Asking for help when you need it.
- Staying in touch with family and friends.
For those who don’t have a chronic disease, prevention is essential. You can help decrease your risk by:
- Don’t smoke/stop smoking. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. According to the CDC, quitting smoking lowers your risk of heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and other smoking-related illnesses.
- Eat a balanced diet. Good nutrition is essential to staying healthy at any age. People with healthy eating habits live longer and have less risk of chronic disease.
- Be active. This is one of the best ways to improve your health. Adults need two kinds of physical activity. Some examples are walking, biking, resistance bands, and lifting weights.
- Limit alcohol intake. Excessive intake of alcohol can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver diseases, and various cancers. Heavy drinking is defined as eight or more drinks per week for a woman or 15 or more drinks per week for a man.
Always check with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. Additional resources can be found below.
Smoking – 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
Nutrition – www.heart.org “5 Easy Ways to Find Healthier Options While Grocery Shopping”
Be active – www.cdc.gov “Overcoming Barriers to Physical Activity”
Limit alcohol intake – SAMHSA’s National Helpline 1-800-662-4357