In medical terms, a chronic disease is one that lasts for more than 3 months and can be lifelong. If you have been diagnosed with a chronic condition, what does this mean for you?
PROGRESSES OVER TIME
Most chronic diseases have a long development period, during which there may be no symptoms at all. Over time, the condition is likely to worsen if not managed well. Symptoms may only become evident during later stages of disease, but treatment is required as soon as it is diagnosed to prevent progression and complications.
CAUSED BY VARIOUS DIFFERENT FACTORS
While it is relatively easy to trace an infection back to a certain type of bacteria or virus, chronic conditions tend to be more complex. Various factors, such as genetics, diet, stress and toxins can lead to the development of chronic disease. As a result, a treatment plan usually includes medication as well as lifestyle modification.
TYPICALLY, CANNOT BE CURED
Chronic conditions are long-lasting and usually do not have a cure. Although they can’t be eliminated completely, they can be controlled through effective management strategies. It is possible to live a long and healthy life with most conditions, provided that you stick to your treatment plan.
REQURIES ONGOING TREATMENT
The purpose of treatment is to maintain health and prevent complications of the disease. It is important to continue your treatment even if you feel well. Do not stop or change your treatment without discussing it with your doctor.
Visit your doctor regularly for check-ups to evaluate your progress and to assist you with making appropriate treatment changes when needed. Learn how to interpret the indicators of disease control so that you can take responsibility for your health.
Written by Dr Jessica Hamuy Blanco | Health Window
Reference: Bernell S, Howard SW. Use Your Words Carefully: What Is a Chronic Disease? Front Public Health. 2016 Aug 2;4:159. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2016.00159.