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Chronic diseases account for about 34 million deaths a year, worldwide. These diseases can and will affect anyone that isn’t taking care of their personal well-ness, specifically nutritional and physical well-being. Though none are curable, almost all can be prevented through living a healthy lifestyle. The most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle are eating well, being physically active, reducing alcohol, smoking cessation, and reducing environmental pollutants. If you think you may be suffering from a chronic disease, call your doctor today. You may be able to stop your disease and prevent further damage if you can get medical help early in the development of the disease.

The top chronic diseases are:
Heart Disease: includes many different circulatory conditions, including atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory heart disease, etc. It generally affects older adults who lead sedentary lifestyles, eat foods high in cholesterol, and don’t eat enough fiber, fruits, and vegetables. Signs and symptoms of this condition are arrythmia (abnormal beating), angina (chest pain), and hypertension (high blood pressure).

Cancer: a type of disease that involves uncontrolled cell growth that generally crowds out the healthy cells and spreads to damage different organs. The most common cancers are melanoma (which can be prevented by wearing sunscreen and protective clothing), breast cancer (which can be prevented by a healthy diet and regular screening), prostate cancer (which can also be prevented by a healthy diet and regular screening), and lung cancer (which can be prevented by not smoking and avoiding environmental pollutants). Signs and symptoms vary by case, but most affect individuals over 40 that aren’t leading a healthy lifestyle, or have a genetic pre-disposition to the disease.

Stroke: caused by lack of oxygen to the brain (due to a blood clot or hemorrhaging). It affects cognitive and physical abilities and is usually fatal if not treated immediately. Signs and symptoms include lack of feeling or movement on one side of the body, slurred speech, horrible headache, and blindness in one eye. Risk factors for getting a stroke are the same as for heart attack, as well as having a previous Transcient Ischemic Attack (TIA, or “mini-stroke”).

Chronic Respiratory Disease: includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It involves the breaking down of alveolar walls, as well as the formation of mucus and inflammation of bronchioles. All of these things decrease the ability to breathe and are progressively degenerative. The most common signs and symptoms of this disease are wheezing, chronic cough, bloody phlegm, and blue fingers/lips. This disease is most commonly caused by smoking and exposure to environmental and occupational pollutants.

Diabetes mellitus: when the body doesn’t produce or doesn’t respond to insulin. Without insulin’s effects, the cells can’t use sugar in the blood to make energy. Type I is mainly genetic, while type II is almost always attributable to obesity and lack of physical exercise. Signs and symptoms are fatigue, frequent urination, constant thirst, and high glucose levels presented in the blood and urine.

The best way to prevent the pain, helplessness, and expenses of a chronic disease is to simply make better eating choices, develop vigorous exercise habits, stop smoking and drinking, and avoid occupational and environmental pollution when possible. Go to your doctor when you notice the first signs and symptom rather than waiting for the disease to become an emergency and you can add years of ability and health to your life!

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