The term chronic disease is used to describe a medical condition that affects a patient for an extended period of time. In some cases, there may be no cure for the condition, but in almost every instance, these conditions and their symptoms can be controlled.
Seeking the help of a health care provider when dealing with a chronic condition will allow you to continue living a healthy, enjoyable life.
Types of Chronic Diseases
There are numerous types of chronic conditions. Some can be specific ailments such as glaucoma or Alzheimer’s disease, and others can affect bodily functions such as those of the respiratory or gastrointestinal system.
Here are some of the most common types of chronic conditions:
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Anxiety and Depression
- Asthma and COPD
- Erectile Dysfunction
Chronic Disease Symptoms
A problem with one of your bodily systems can lead to a number of chronic symptoms. Some of these include:
- Central nervous system: Headaches, confusion, memory loss, dizziness
- Gastrointestinal: Bloating, nausea, constipation, diarrhea
- Skin: Eczema, rashes, hives
- Musculoskeletal: Muscles spasms, joint pain, backaches
- Respiratory: Frequent colds, bronchitis, asthma, shortness of breath
- Cardiovascular: Rapid heartbeat, irregular heartbeat, hypertension, migraines
Chronic Disease Treatment
To properly treat a chronic condition, it is important that you know exactly what the condition is. After a thorough diagnosis, your doctor can provide ways to ease your discomfort and improve your overall health. Some of the techniques used to accomplish this include:
- Educating you on your condition and ways to keep it in check.
- Developing an exercise program
- Physiotherapy such as massage, ultrasound, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and moist heat therapy
- Nutrition plans
Chronic Disease Management
The treatments mentioned above are effective in controlling the physical components of a chronic disease. However, coping with a chronic disease takes a mental and emotional toll as well, which is why your doctor will also add the following to any treatment plan:
- Encouraging self-management of your treatment
- Teaching you techniques to deal with pain and depression
- Encouraging family involvement in your therapy
- Encouraging support at work or school
Teaching you methods for communicating with friends and family.