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What is Chronic Disease?

By Sherry Holetzky
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A chronic disease persistent or recurring disease, usually affecting a person for three months or longer. It is generally one that is hereditary or one that is the result of factors such as poor diet and living conditions, using tobacco or other harmful substances, or a sedentary lifestyle. Such a disease is not typically contracted from another person by contagion, because most chronic illnesses are not caused by infection.

There are different types of chronic disease from A to Z. From Alzheimer's, arthritis and asthma to zoonoses, these diseases are many and varied. Zoonoses are diseases that are passed to humans by animals, such as avian flu. Endometriosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, tetanus, different types of cancers, lyme disease, chronic ear infection and even obesity are considered chronic conditions.

A chronic disease often requires extensive care by a healthcare provider with the cooperation of the patient in learning and practicing methods of rehabilitation. While healthcare providers offer different courses of treatment to lessen the effects of symptoms caused by chronic conditions, most chronic illnesses cannot be cured completely. Frequently the result is a lifetime of discomfort, doctor's visits, medical tests, medications, therapies and sometimes surgeries.

Some patients may become disabled or depressed due to enduring lengthy or recurring bouts of illness. Because of these factors, patients suffering from chronic disease may require physical therapies as well as counseling to improve overall well being.

With ongoing care, a patient may well learn to manage chronic disease without disrupting other areas of his or her life. Management of symptoms simply becomes part of the daily routine. While many chronic conditions may never be healed completely, the patient, with the help of new and creative treatment options, can enjoy a full and rewarding life.

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Discussion Comments

By anon124372 — On Nov 05, 2010

My mom is going through a chronic disease and I don't know what to do! I would just like to ask if you would die from a chronic disease. She is always tired and she takes care of the whole house by herself. Please reply to this message, it is an emergency. Thanks for reading!

By mutsy — On Jul 14, 2010

Fluffy4- I feel for you. While I don’t have migraines, I do suffer from osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis which is a chronic condition in which there is a break down of the joint’s cartilage.

This causes stiffness in the bones because the bones begin to rub against each other. Many athletes that run frequently develop this condition in their knees.

That is what happened to me. I feel pain in my knee when I sit too long. I often have to stretch my legs.

By fluffy4 — On Jul 09, 2010

After a while of traditional treatments for chronic diseases, patients may try alternative methods. Taking prescriptions for prolonged periods of time isn't necessarily healthy so other treatments might be a good idea.

As a chronic migraine sufferer, I do have prescriptions for pain relief. But I've also looked into alternative treatment options and will try these other methods to stop the pain before I take another pill. I will drink something with caffeine, stretch out my body or take a nap to try to get rid of my headache. I take yoga classes to manage my stress and have gotten massages to help ease my pain as well.

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