Chronic Diseases

A chronic disease is an illness that is prolonged in duration, does not spontaneously resolve, and is usually not cured completely. Examples of chronic diseases are rheumatoid arthritis, lung cancer, and heart disease. Heart disease is an illness that involves the blockage or narrowing of the blood vessels. It is the leading cause of death in the US with approximately 81. 1 million people, or one in every three adults living with heart disease.

The illness causes swelling in feet and ankles, ineffective functioning of kidney and liver, wheezing and coughing persistently, fatigue, shortness of breath, and stroke and heart attack, which could lead to death. I am at optimal risk of getting the disease because I lack in major cardiovascular disease risk factors. However, my great uncle did die from heart disease, suffering from shortness of breath, dizziness, and eventual heart attack. Cancer, another chronic disease, is the growth of uncontrolled, abnormal cells in any part of the body.

It is a leading cause of death globally with 13% of the world’s population living with cancer. One of the most common forms of cancer is lung cancer that causes its victims to have fever, fatigue, short of breath, weight loss and persistent pain in the chest, unusual bleeding when coughing, and persistent cough. In this case, I am also at optimal risk of getting lung cancer because I do not use tobacco, am not exposed to chemical facilities, and there are no lung cancer cases in the immediate family.

However, my brother-in-law was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and presenting with persistent coughing and blood in his sputum. He was also a heavy smoker. Finally, rheumatoid arthritis is another chronic disease, which, in this case, is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of organs and tissues, particularly flexible joints. There are approximately 2% of Americans living with arthritis with two thirds being women. The illness causes the patient to lose mobility and functioning where they are not treated effectively.

I am also at low risk of getting the disease since I am male, below forty years, which is the age it starts to afflict people, although my grandmother did suffer from the illness. She presented with difficulty in movement of her arms and legs, losing almost total control of her limbs later in her life. While chronic diseases have very severe symptoms and consequences, they are preventable. Heart disease can be prevented in a number of ways.

First, one should avoid the use of tobacco in any form because it leads to the narrowing and damage of blood vessels and the heart, which could eventually lead to heart attack. Second, regular exercise aids in reducing body weight, which reduces strain on the heart. Thirdly, a healthy diet that is low in fat, salt, and cholesterol, while also taking whole grains, vegetables, and fruits reduce coronary disease risk by reducing deposits of fat and other compounds on the walls of blood vessels.

Fourth, maintenance of a healthy weight reduces chances of diabetes and high blood pressure, which are directly related to heart disease. Finally, getting regular health screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol level, and diabetes will help in catching the disease in its infancy. With regards to lung cancer, one should avoid smoking because tobacco smoke contains carcinogens that greatly enhance the risk of the illness. A good diet that contains high fiber and low fat, as well as, high proportions of vegetables and fruits reduce carcinogenicity and increase the anti-oxidant quality of the foods.

Thirdly, exercise improves overall health of the body and improves lung function, which reduces the risk of getting lung cancer. Taking preventative measures while working near mining facilities will also reduce chances of getting the disease because some emissions are carcinogenic. Finally, radiation therapy, which may lead to mutation of lung cells, should be avoided unless it is necessary. Finally, concerning rheumatoid arthritis, one should do several things to protect themselves. One should drink a lot of water since the flexible joints are made up of 70% water.

An individual should also increase their intake of calcium such as milk and vegetables since the joints rely on calcium for function. Thirdly, increased vitamin C and D intake support the healthy growth of joints. Finally, regular exercise strengthens joints and makes them more flexible. References: Harris, Randall. E. 2013. Epidemiology of chronic disease: global perspectives. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning. Nuovo, Jim. 2007. Chronic disease management. New York, NY: Springer.

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