The discovery that you have a chronic disease can be an overwhelming, even terrifying experience. Chronic disease management is a long-term challenge, focusing on conditions that progress slowly over time. As Americans are living longer than ever before, the incidence of ongoing medical conditions has increased. It’s now estimated that by 2030, 50% of the U.S. population will have one or more chronic illnesses that require management.
Many of these illnesses require a combined treatment approach that includes a healthy way of life coupled with ongoing support, motivation and periodic medical care. By accessing caring healthcare providers who focus on a practical, therapeutic approach, you can lower your risk for chronic disease and improve the quality of your life.
Common Chronic Diseases
The most common chronic conditions facing Americans in the 21st century are almost all either caused or aggravated by unhealthy lifestyle practices. Some of these conditions include:
Asthma, Emphysema and COPD
Asthma, emphysema and COPD are all respiratory illnesses, with symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing and tightness in the chest. Factors such as obesity, poor nutrition habits and lack of exercise contribute to making these conditions worse, while a healthy lifestyle and comprehensive chronic disease management can help to improve your resistance and reduce the symptoms.
Diabetes is becoming increasingly more prevalent in the U.S., with 29.1 million believed to have the condition according to the 2014 National Diabetes Statistics report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s also the 7th leading cause of death in the nation, although this could be an under-estimate of the actual numbers.
“Diabetes milletus” is the medical term for all forms of diabetes. At its core, diabetes is characterized by an excess of sugar (glucose) in the blood, which can lead to serious health complications. The various types of diabetes require different treatment and management. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are irreversible, but they can be managed with lifestyle changes and medication. Prediabetes and gestational diabetes are also caused by elevated levels of glucose in the blood, but they are reversible.
Heart disease is currently the leading cause of deaths in the United States, and it claims more lives each year than all forms of cancer combined according to statistics provided by the Heart Foundation. It’s a particular threat for women, with 1 in every 3 women dying from heart disease while 90% of the female population displays risk factors for the disease.
The term “heart disease” includes strokes and other cardiovascular diseases, which cover a range of conditions:
- blood vessel diseases
- coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis)
- heart muscle or valve problems
- heart infections
- heart rhythm problems, called arrhythmias
Whether your heart disease is genetic or acquired, it can be helped with a practical chronic disease management program. This starts with making lifestyle changes such as adopting a heart-healthy diet, regular exercise and reduced stress.
A high level of cholesterol in your blood can lead to a buildup and potential blockage of your arteries, resulting in atherosclerosis. This is a primary cause of coronary heart disease, heart attacks, angina and strokes. Currently, 71 million Americans (33.5%) have high LDL or “bad” cholesterol, according to statistics from the CDC, and only 1 in 3 gets the treatment needed to keep it under control.
Lowering your cholesterol can reduce your risk for a range of heart conditions, and in many cases you can do so without medication by exercising, eating a healthy diet and avoiding smoking. With proper management of your lifestyle and nutrition, it’s possible to maintain healthy cholesterol levels throughout your life.
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition that can lead to multiple other chronic illnesses. One out of every three Americans suffers from hypertension, and it isn’t called the “silent killer” for nothing. Many patients affected by hypertension are undiagnosed. Thus, regular blood pressure screening by a medical professional is essential in order toe determine whether your levels are accurate.
Looking at the Big Picture
At LifeStyle Medical Center, we know that effective chronic disease management is possible when you consider and make choices from the belief that the way you live your life plays a crucial role in how your body reacts and responds.
Tackling a chronic illness head on can have a dramatic effect on your health and quality of life. However to tackle it effectively means setting realistic, attainable goals that enable you to reach your ideal weight and fitness in a reasonable time period.
Effective management of a chronic disease means smart eating, exercise and medication. And, it means getting the psychological and emotional support you need to embark on the journey, stay the course and reach the point where healthy living becomes second nature.
Get Help Now
Tackle the challenges of a healthier mind and body today. Your new life begins when you schedule a consultation with one of our providers. You’ll undergo a thorough physical examination and complete a screening questionnaire, and you’ll get the help you need to map out a chronic disease management program that is customized for your healthcare requirements.
Scheduled regular visits for encouragement and feedback
The support necessary to keep you motivated and on track
The benefit of medical expertise and experienced nutritional advice
Above all, you’ll have the satisfaction of finally taking control of your health and your life.