Chronic diseases are long-lasting medical conditions that inhibit one’s ability or activity either daily or over a longer period of time, explains the CDC. In the U.S a significant number of adults have at least one chronic condition.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that at least one in every four adults has at least one chronic disease. Chronic diseases can be debilitating but are manageable with routine and consistent medical care. Additionally, individuals with chronic diseases need to adjust their lifestyle factors including fitness activity, diet, and cessation of drugs and alcohol. However, many people are unsure of what conditions or diseases constitute as chronic conditions.
Below are the six most prevalent chronic diseases in the U.S based on frequency, medical impact, and impact on overall activity:
- Diabetes: Nearly 30.3 million adults in the U.S has diabetes but 1 in 4 people with diabetes don’t know if they have it or not. Diabetes is when an adult doesn’t make enough insulin or is unable to use insulin to break down blood sugar. If blood sugar stays in the blood stream for too long, it can lead to serious health problems like heart and kidney disease. Diabetes comes in three distant forms including prediabetes, type I, and type II.
- Heart Disease: Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the U.S, while contributing to 1 in 4 deaths annually in the country. The largest risk factors for heart disease including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, physical inactivity, and poor diet.
- Stroke: Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in the U.S and can lead to serious health complications such as brain damage and disability. Risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, obesity, and high blood cholesterol.
- Cancer: Cancer is a unique chronic disease that is onset by a mix of hereditary factors as well as lifestyle factors including smoking, poor diet, inactivity, and other environmental issues. According to national statistics, nearly 1.7 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed each year.
- Obesity: Obesity affects nearly 93 million adults in the U.S and is a major risk factor for other chronic diseases. Obesity is easily manageable with a few lifestyle changes: predominantly exercise and diet changes.
High blood pressure: High blood pressure is another chronic disease that leads to the development of other conditions High blood pressure impacts millions of Americans and may require medication on top of other important lifestyle changes.