Although common and costly, many chronic diseases are also preventable. Many chronic diseases are linked to lifestyle choices that are within your own hands to change. Eating nutritious foods, becoming more physically active and avoiding tobacco can help keep you from developing many of these diseases and conditions. And, even if you already have diabetes, heart disease, arthritis or another chronic condition, eating more healthful food and getting more exercise, whether it’s a brisk walk, a bike ride, a jog or a swim, can help you better manage your illness, avoid complications and prolong your life. Source

Health damaging behaviors – particularly tobacco use, lack of physical activity, and poor eating habits – are major contributors to the leading chronic diseases. Source

In 2010, the 10 most common chronic conditions among persons living in residential care facilities were high blood pressure (57% of the residents), Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias(42%), heart disease (34%), depression (28%), arthritis (27%), osteoporosis (21%), diabetes (17%), COPD and allied conditions (15%), cancer (11%), and stroke (11%). The residents ranged in age from 18 to 106 years. Source

The causes (risk factors) of chronic diseases are well established and well known; a small set of common risk factors are responsible for most of the main chronic diseases. These risk factors are modifiable and the same in men and women: unhealthy diet; physical inactivity; tobacco use. Diabetes is characterized by raised blood glucose (sugar) levels. This results from a lack of the hormone insulin, which controls blood glucose levels, and/or an inability of the body’s tissues to respond properly to insulin. The most common type of diabetes is type 2, which accounts for about 90% of all diabetes and is largely the result of excessive weight and physical inactivity. The usual childhood form of diabetes (type 1 diabetes) is caused by an absolute lack of insulin. Without insulin, type 1 diabetes is rapidly fatal. Source

Early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of developing the complications of diabetes. The following symptoms of diabetes are typical. However, some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed. Source

Common symptoms of diabetes:

  • Urinating often
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Weight loss – even though you are eating more (type 1)
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)

Common Chronic Childhood Diseases: asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, obesity and overweight, malnutrition, developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy, consequences of low birth weight and prematurity, and mental illnesses. Source

  • Chronic Diseases are the Leading Causes of Death and Disability in the U.S.
    7 out of 10 deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases. Heart disease, cancer and stroke account for more than 50% of all deaths each year.
    In 2005, 133 million Americans – almost 1 out of every 2 adults – had at least one chronic illness.
  • Obesity has become a major health concern. 1 in every 3 adults is obese and almost 1 in 5 youth between the ages of 6 and 19 is obese (BMI ≥95thpercentile of the CDC growth chart).
  • About one-fourth of people with chronic conditions have one or more daily activity limitations.
  • Arthritis is the most common cause of disability, with nearly 19 million Americans reporting activity limitations.
  • Diabetes continues to be the leading cause of kidney failure, nontraumaticlower-extremity amputations, and blindness among adults, aged 20-74.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., behind diet and physical activity and tobacco.

Excessive alcohol consumption contributes to over 54 different diseases and injuries, including cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, and breast, liver diseases, and other cardiovascular, neurological, psychiatric, and gastrointestinal health problems. Source

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