What is Chronic Disease?
Chronic disease - illness that is
ongoing and long lasting - is the chief cause of death around the
world. It lessens quality of life, causes disability, and
requires costly health care. Many chronic diseases can be
managed, but they rarely can be cured.
Heart disease, cancer, diabetes,
and stroke are among the most widespread chronic diseases in
Texas. In fact, Texas has a higher rate of chronic disease than
most other states.
The most important thing to know about chronic
disease is that it can be prevented. The keys to prevention are
Eating healthy foods
Being physically active
Avoiding tobacco use
How Much Does Chronic Disease Cost Us?
The cost of chronic disease - in
human and economic terms - to individuals, families, and
communities is huge. It is the leading cause of death and
disability in Texas:
Chronic disease accounts for
three of every four Texas deaths.
More than one in four Texas
deaths are due to heart disease.
In 2012, it is estimated that
more than 110,000 Texans will be told, "You have cancer." It is
also estimated that in 2012 over 39,000 Texans will lose their
lives to cancer - more than 100 Texans lost each day to the
Approximately 1.8 million Texas
adults have been diagnosed with diabetes. More than 440,468
others are believed to have undiagnosed diabetes.
About 24 percent of Texans have
been diagnosed with arthritis.
Together, heart disease and
stroke accounted for 30.5 percent of all deaths in Texas in
How Can I Prevent Chronic Disease?
Everyone can do something to
prevent chronic disease. Likewise, if you already have a chronic
disease, you can help control it. It comes down to choosing to do
the three things that have the biggest impact on reducing your
For many people, making healthy
choices will mean changing some habits. Even making minor changes
helps. Doing something is better than doing nothing. And
remember, you're never too old to start. Discuss risk factors and
recommended screenings with your health care provider.
Am I at Risk for Chronic Disease?
Some risk factors (causes), such
as age and heredity, cannot be controlled. Yet, you can control
the most common risk factors of our top five chronic
Medical conditions that stem from
these are also risk factors. These include:
Overweight and obesity
High blood pressure
Raised blood glucose
Many chronic diseases share risk
factors. For instance, physical inactivity and unhealthy diet are
risk factors for diabetes, stroke, heart disease, cancer, and
arthritis. Obesity, a result of physical inactivity and unhealthy
diet, is also a risk factor for these same chronic diseases. One
in three Texans is obese and two in three are either overweight
Tobacco use raises your risk for
heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Secondhand smoke is also
dangerous to those around you. Avoiding tobacco use will reduce
their risk as well.
Having one chronic disease makes
you more likely to have another. People who have diabetes have an
increased risk of stroke. People with heart disease or diabetes
are likely to have arthritis, too. You can make simple changes in
daily habits to reduce your risk for several diseases at the same
Chronic Disease Self-Management Program is a workshop given 2
1/2 hours, once a week, for six weeks, in community settings such
as senior centers, churches, libraries and hospitals.
People with different chronic
health problems attend together. Workshops are facilitated by two
trained leaders, one or both of whom are non-health professionals
with chronic diseases themselves.
Subjects covered include:
Techniques to deal with problems
such as frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation
Appropriate exercise for
maintaining and improving strength, flexibility and
Appropriate use of
Communicating effectively with
family, friends and health professionals
How to evaluate new
Contact us for
more information or to register.
Patients without insurance
coverage may also visit the Healthy Education and Lifestyles
HELP is designed to assist
individuals with managing chronic disorders.
Classes will be offered monthly
and will include an office visit, education, and support group,
all within a one-hour session.
For more information, contact Gina
McCommas at 817-270-1366.