Are You At Risk For Chronic Disease?

A visit to the doctor for strange symptoms can reveal a chronic disease. Chronic disease is a long-lasting medical condition that worsens over time, especially without treatment. The diagnosis may come as a surprise, but chronic diseases are highly commonplace. About 60% of Americans live with a chronic disease. Some include osteoporosis, heart disease, autoimmune disease, depression, and breast cancer. Everyone is not at risk of developing these diseases, but genetic and lifestyle factors play important parts.

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Osteoporosis and risk factors

Osteoporosis is a common chronic disease that makes bones weak and brittle. The disease develops over several years and is often undetected until an injury causes a broken bone. In some cases, bone loss can lead to poor posture and irregular bone shapes. Men and women can get osteoporosis, but other risk factors exist. These risks include advanced age, family history, smoking, and alcohol use. Women with low bodyweights are also at risk.

Worried about heart disease?

Heart disease is an umbrella term for conditions affecting and potentially damaging the heart. Over time, heart disease may lead to heart attacks, strokes, and angina. These conditions are all life-threatening. The risk factors of heart disease are closely linked to lifestyle reasons. Smoking, inactivity, stress, poor diets, and high cholesterol increases the risk. Men are also at greater risk with family history, diabetes, and obesity playing significant roles.

Is autoimmune disease a concern?

Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s immune system attacks normal, healthy cells. There are over 100 known autoimmune conditions, and many go undetected or have mild symptoms. However, some have more painful, debilitating symptoms like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and bowel disease. The risk factors for autoimmune disease are hard to detect since all are genetically related. Smoking, infections, obesity, and poor diets can affect genes, triggering autoimmune conditions.

The risk of depression

Most people would not define depression as a chronic disease. However, the feelings of mental pain, sadness, and hopelessness can last for years. What is ironic is depression can be caused by the overwhelming sense of having another chronic condition. Genetics also plays a key role. Parents who suffered from depression can pass this down in some way. Visceral external factors like a death in the family, sudden loss, or abuse increase the chances. Other risk factors include obesity, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, drug use, medications, and more.

Beating breast cancer

Breast cancer is the uncontrollable growth of cells in the breast. These cells form tumors that may or may not be harmful. If the cancer is malignant, the patient’s health is at risk. Without treatment, these cells can spread to vital organs, leading to death. Every year, over 275,000 women will receive a diagnosis. Most risk factors of breast cancer are genetic. Genetic mutations, family history, and dense breast tissue are risks. Weight, alcohol, smoking, and hormone medication are other potential factors.

How do you lower your risk?

Chronic diseases can be challenging to treat. Some risk factors, like genetic mutations, sex, and family history, are unavoidable. However, there are avoidable risk factors. Exercise, healthy diets, avoiding smoking, and alcohol consumption can help. Yearly visits to the doctor can detect any issues that can lead to disease. Being proactive and consistent with health and wellness is the route to a disease-free life.

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