The word “chronic” is used in medicine to refer to any disease or condition that persists over time or is frequently recurring. The term “chronic” is often used in contrast to the word “acute,” which refers to a disease or condition that comes on rapidly.
In the United States, 25% of adults suffer from at least two chronic conditions. For example, consider an overweight person who has both diabetes and heart disease.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases and conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems.
Many of the most common chronic conditions in the U.S. are the result of bad habits such as poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. These contribute to years of chronic disease management and often also increased mortality as well as the dramatic rise in healthcare spending in the U.S. over the past few decades. This is why an increasing focus on disease prevention has developed in recent years through tobacco cessation, improved nutrition, and increased physical activity. Here’s a list of some other common chronic diseases and conditions:
- ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
- Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dementias
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Eating Disorders
- Heart Disease
- Oral Health
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) Syndrome