Chronic Disease

According to the CDC, 6 in 10 adults in the U.S have a chronic disease, with 4 in 10 have two or more chronic diseases. Across Tennessee, heart attacks and strokes, cancer and COPD were among the leading causes of death in 2021, ranking #1, #2 and #5 respectively. Chronic diseases pose a significant healthcare burden across Tennesse, and our health tracking program is working to track chronic disease data including COPD, cancer and heart attacks and strokes. 

What is a Chronic Disease? 

A chronic disease is any condition not passed from person to person and that persists for long periods of time. Examples of chronic diseases are hypertension, stroke, arthritis, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and asthma. 
Chronic diseases are an urgent problem for Americans in many ways. Chronic diseases and illnesses can cause financial stress, disability, and even death. According to the CDC, “Chronic diseases and conditions—such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis—are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems.”

Why Do Chronic Diseases Matter? 

  • About ½ of all adults have at least one chronic health condition.
  • Two chronic diseases (heart disease and cancer) cause nearly half of all deaths in the U.S.
  • Arthritis is the most common cause of disability.
  • Diabetes is the top cause of new cases of blindness.
  • Nationwide, the healthcare cost for chronic diseases is hundreds of billions of dollars per year.
  • Dealing with chronic illnesses can be difficult and overwhelming.

How Can Chronic Disease be Prevented? 

Many chronic diseases can be prevented through healthy habits and choices. Some healthy choices that prevent chronic diseases include:
  • Smoking cessation
  • Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  • Limiting alcohol intake to a moderate amount or none at all
  • Walking more often and frequent exercise
  • Adhering to the recommended health guidelines for tests such as mammographies, colonoscopies, and prostate exams 

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