Primary Care: Chronic Diseases

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Chronic diseases are diseases that are long-lasting and can be treated but not cured. Chronic diseases are generally defined as conditions that last one or more years, require ongoing medical attention and/or limit activities. A chronic disease usually develops over time, often progressing in severity. While many illnesses can be considered chronic, here are some of the most common ones. Seeing your family physician is a good place to start with chronic disease and the information and treatment you will need. 

  • Alzheimer's disease and dementia: Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia, which causes memory loss and interferes with cognitive abilities. 
  • Arthritis: It’s not one disease – there are more than 100 types of arthritis, which refers to joint pain or joint disease. Common types include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.
  • Cancer: Diseases that involve abnormal cell growth that can spread to other parts of the body.
  • Cardiovascular disease: Refers to all diseases that involve the heart or blood vessels, including coronary artery diseases. 
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): Includes progressive lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, which causes increasing breathlessness.
  • Diabetes: The body can’t produce insulin or can’t properly use the insulin it produces, leading to abnormally high blood sugar levels.
  • Fibromyalgia: This chronic pain problem is often confused with arthritis. With fibromyalgia, there is nothing actually wrong with the joints or muscles, nor is there tissue damage. The cause of fibromyalgia is thought to be the nerves and brain amplifying pain signals. 
  • Hypertension: The body can’t produce insulin or can’t properly use the insulin it produces, leading to abnormally high blood sugar levels.
  • Obesity: If your bodyweight is at least 20% higher than it should be, you are considered obese and the amount of body fat you have could lead to negative health effects.
  • Multiple sclerosis: When the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged, it diminishes the nervous system’s ability to communicate.
  • Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” It occurs when the bone tissue deteriorates, leading to weak bones and potential fractures or breaks.
  • Parkinson’s disease: Nerve cells in the brain gradually break down or die, including the loss of neurons that produce dopamine.

In some cases, your physician may be able to screen for certain chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Seeing your family physician is a good place to start with chronic disease and the information and treatment you will need. 

Talk to your family physician if you'd like more information on the many different chronic health conditions.

Visit HealthChoicesFirst.com for more videos and resources on family health.

Chronic diseases usually develop slowly and are long-lasting. In many cases, they are incurable. Chronic diseases include osteoporosis, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, COPD, Parkinson's disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Get the answers you need to take control of your health from our up-to-date, complementary chronic diseases resources and seeing a family physcian is often a great pleace to start. Seeing your family physician is a good place to start with chronic disease and the information and treatment you will need. 

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