June 15, 2024

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5 Common Chronic Conditions (And How To Avoid Them)

5 Common Chronic Diseases (And How to Prevent Them): Thomas E. Sulkowski,  MD: Family Medicine

Chronic illnesses are incredibly common, affecting millions of people in the United States. Factors like genetics, gender, and age may all contribute to a heightened likelihood of developing a chronic disease. Chronic diseases can affect your ability to be independent, adding additional stress to your everyday activities. Individuals who deal with chronic conditions San Antonio often believe that the absence of symptoms implies they are no longer suffering from their illness. However, this assumption is not accurate. Chronic conditions require continuous management of symptoms and the disease itself. Here are some common chronic conditions you should watch out for.

1. Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic concern that impacts how the body processes blood sugar. Once your pancreas fails to produce sufficient insulin or does not use it efficiently, it leads to this chronic condition. There are two types of diabetes, type I and type II, the latter which is most common.

If you have increased blood sugar, you are at higher risk for kidney disease, stroke, vision loss, and potential amputations. Besides, increased blood sugar levels damage your body’s blood vessels and block the vessels leading to the brain. Delaying or preventing complications associated with diabetes starts with simple lifestyle adjustments. Moreover, consuming a healthy diet and regular exercise can help reduce blood sugar levels.

2. Heart Disease

While numerous health concerns fall under heart disease, it typically entails blocked or narrowed blood vessels. These damaged blood vessels can lead to atherosclerosis, which causes plaque accumulation in the arterial walls. Plaque accumulation and blood clots make it hard for blood to flow through the arteries. This condition presents in numerous forms, often resulting in hypertension, heart attacks, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, and strokes.

3. Asthma

Once the airways in the lungs become swollen and narrow, your body does not receive the required oxygen amount, leading to breathing difficulties. Common warning signs of asthma include wheezing, chest tightness, persistent coughing, and extra mucus.

However, in some cases, asthma patients might suffer a serious attack, which could be life-threatening. Although asthma is not curable, your doctor can help you manage symptoms by recommending an individualized care plan, and motoring signs of worsening symptoms.

4. Hypertension

 Once your body stores excess lipids or fats, the arteries get clogged, resulting in heart disease. A well-functioning heart with narrow arteries that limit blood flow through them leads to hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure.

If not treated, hypertension can result in more serious concerns like a stroke or heart attack. Constantly checking your blood pressure, managing your stress levels, and reducing sodium intake can help you prevent or manage hypertension.

5. Stroke

A stroke generally happens because of other conditions like hypertension or high cholesterol levels. One might suffer from two common types of strokes, including a hemorrhagic or ischemic stroke.

Ischemic strokes affect the flow of blood to the brain. On the other hand, hemorrhagic stroke occurs once a ruptured blood vessel inhibits blood flow to your brain. Once your doctor establishes what stroke you have, they can suggest the most appropriate treatment.

Chronic conditions affect numerous individuals, especially the aging population. Unfortunately, most chronic conditions do not fix themselves and are typically not cured entirely. Besides, some conditions like stroke and heart disease can be instantly life-threatening. However, other conditions persist for a lifetime and require intensive management, such as diabetes. If you suspect that you have a chronic condition, it is important to see a specialist for effective care. While your doctor will suggest medications, surgery, and other forms of aggressive therapy, they will often recommend lifestyle adjustments for you to enjoy a more positive outcome.