Chronic Illnesses

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Chronic Illnesses and Their Consequences

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic illnesses – such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis – are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems in the United States (CDC, Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion, The Power of Prevention). These illnesses affect the patient’s ability to perform their activities of daily living on their own.

For example, diabetes is the leading cause for kidney failure, amputations and blindness; while arthritis, leads the major cause for disabilities (CDC, Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion, The Power of Prevention). To begin with, statistics show that seven out of ten deaths among Americans each year are from chronic illnesses, and the most affected groups seem to be the African American population and those over the age of 65 (CDC, Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion, The Power of Prevention).

In addition, families are also affected by a loved one’s disease; they have to learn how to cope with the care and treatments just as the sick person does. While these treatments can reach thousands of dollars - which is probably the reason patients lacking health insurance die being unable to afford them - some are even permanent, changing their lives radically.

Let’s take for instance, the changes that a family experiences when a member suffers from Parkinson’s disease. This disease has different levels and it’s management depends greatly on medication and diet. The patient must avoid anything that over stimulates neurological activity, such as, caffeine, some spices like cinnamon, foods with preservatives, and also avoid processed foods as much as possible. Per neurologists, over stimulation creates more excitability on the nerves, and may increase the tremors.

If the illness is in the beginning stages, the patient may not need much help to perform his or her activities of...
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