HEALTH

How Chronic Disease Impacts Your Health and the Economy

In the United States, the CDC estimates that over 60% of adults suffer from a chronic illness, and around 40% suffer from two or more chronic illnesses. This is a staggering number. 

What constitutes chronic illness and how does it impact your health, the economy, and society at large? How can we fight this growing trend and move forward in pursuit of better health? 

What is Chronic Illness?

Chronic illness is described as any sickness persisting for more than a year. It can also be something that impacts your everyday life. The top five chronic diseases include heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, and arthritis. There are a number of other chronic conditions as well.

How Does Chronic Illness Impact Your Health?

Chronic illness can be life-changing and challenging. Depending on the severity of your disease, a chronic condition may have a limited impact on your day-to-day life. For some, this can be all the motivation they need to begin to treat and repair their body with proper lifestyle choices. For others, the out of sight out of mind approach simply leads to a worsening condition. 

If you want to take your health seriously, it is vital to sit down with a licensed practitioner and create a game plan to help mitigate and sometimes eliminate your symptoms. For most situations, this begins with diet and exercise. This can be difficult for many individuals, as new habits can be challenging to implement. 

It is important to note that when you struggle with a chronic illness, you are also more susceptible to all illnesses. We witnessed this during the pandemic, as those with pre-existing conditions were most at risk. 

Additionally, it is no surprise that if you have one chronic condition, you are also at greater risk of developing additional chronic conditions.

How Does Chronic Illness Impact Society?

Chronic illness is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States and costs the United States over $4 billion a year in medical expenses. This cost does not even begin to account for lost revenue and wages due to sick days that individuals must take for their health. In addition to lost revenue, health insurance prices are increased, life insurance premiums are raised, and disability insurance goes up.

Due to the prevalence of chronic illness, for the first time ever, it is being predicted that this next generation’s life span will be shorter than the current generation’s life expectancy. 

How Do We Move Forward?

  • Diagnoses. As dismal as these statistics are, we should not give up on pursuing and fighting for our health. If you find yourself struggling, the best thing you can do is diagnose the root of the problem. This can be done by getting lab work done with a reputable company who utilizes proper labeling.

The next step is sitting down with your general practitioner and discussing your lab findings. It is important to understand that when interpreting your results, there is a healthy range, but some ranges have a huge span. Although you may fall in what is considered the normal range, it may not be normal for you. 

A general practitioner is sometimes just the first step to better understanding your health. If you are not finding solutions, it can be beneficial to reach out to a more specialized doctor.

  • Treatment. Finding and understanding your health is the first step; for many, this can be a struggle by itself. Remember, there are many practitioners and doctors who can help you not only mitigate but reverse your symptoms. 

Remember, some of the best treatments for disease are your lifestyle choices. Diet and exercise are essential for any healthy outcomes to be expected. The ancient wisdom of Hippocrates still holds true. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Conclusion

Chronic illness is one of the biggest health problems of this generation. It can sometimes be difficult to diagnose, and even more difficult to treat. When we take a more direct and offensive approach, the negative and far-reaching impact of chronic illness can be mitigated.