Honoring Chronic Disease Day

July 10 is Chronic Disease Day, when we bring awareness to chronic illnesses. Chronic Disease Day highlights the experiences of those living with a chronic disease. It also sheds light on the healthcare needed to create healthier communities.1

In the United States, 6 in 10 adults suffer from chronic diseases. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases are the main cause of death and disability in the United States.2

Examples of chronic diseases include:2

Coping with chronic illness

Chronic illnesses can vary depending on the disease. Some last for only a year in certain cases, but others can continue for a lifetime. Living with a chronic disease forces people to adjust their lifestyle. Even daily routines can become a burden. And having a chronic disease likely means that they require recurring medical attention.3

When dealing with a chronic illness like CKD, it is important to take action early. Call your doctor at the first sign of symptoms or if you know you have risk factors. This allows you to treat the disease as effectively as possible. It also allows you to prepare for other health problems that may arise.3

To lessen your chances of getting a chronic illness, you can be aware of and try to avoid common risk factors. These include alcohol abuse and smoking. It is also important to maintain healthy habits such as getting regular physical activity and eating a healthy diet.1,3

Managing the stress that comes with chronic illness

Learning to manage stress can help you continue these healthy habits. If you are struggling, consider visiting a mental health provider. They can work with you to develop a treatment plan to manage your mental health needs. This can help you stay in control of your daily life. For example, in cases of depression, a psychiatrist may prescribe medicine to regulate your mood.3

Other general tips for managing your mental health include:3

  • Practice meditation or other activities focused on stress relief
  • Keep contact with your family and friends
  • Let go of extra obligations

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What are the possible effects of chronic illness?

Chronic illness symptoms vary depending on the disease you have. Living with a chronic illness like CKD can make it harder to take care of yourself. Invisible symptoms like pain, fatigue, and mental health problems are common. And stress stemming from your condition can affect all aspects of your life.3

Symptoms of a chronic illness can affect your daily activities. You may find it hard to focus on work, school, or family obligations. You may have trouble performing housework or daily chores.3

Chronic illnesses also bring financial challenges. You may have problems finding work. Or you may be unable to work because you need continuous care.3

When living with a disease like CKD, your symptoms may get worse over time. CKD can lead to loss of appetite, depression, and more frequent infections. If the disease is not treated, you may develop kidney failure or heart disease.4

What treatment is available?

Chronic illnesses affect many families in the United States. The majority of annual healthcare costs go toward treating chronic illnesses. But there is growing awareness of these conditions, so more treatment options are becoming available.2

Doctors are a powerful resource. Primary care doctors, specialists, and mental health professionals can all be great sources of information that can empower you to educate yourself and others about your condition. Counseling in a one-on-one setting may make you feel more comfortable to share your experiences.3

You may feel like you are alone when dealing with your CKD symptoms. But support groups are a useful resource. They allow you to learn from others' experiences and ways to cope. Sharing your experiences with others can help you learn and heal as well. This Chronic Disease Day, spread awareness by sharing your CKD story with others.3

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