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Depression is a terrible condition that can trap people in a perpetual state of anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable). Over time, without treatment, its effects can be devastating.

Alzheimer’s disease, for example, steals the brain’s capabilities and leads a person down the saddest road of isolation and helplessness.

If you’ve ever seen these types of grinding maladies, you probably won’t forget the things you witnessed. If you suffer from a chronic disease, then you understand how thoroughly it can affect all areas of your life. Chronic diseases, even with treatment, can overwhelm people and become the salient feature of their lives.

What Is a Chronic Disease?

The CDC identifies chronic diseases as deleterious conditions that require consistent medical attention or interruptions to daily living, or both. It can affect everything from eating habits to self-perception to relationships.

Many types of chronic disease can develop when a person engages in risk behaviours, such as drinking to excess, tobacco use, poor eating habits and living a sedentary lifestyle. There is a risk of developing chronic diseases, such as osteoporosis or sickle cell disease, if you have a family history. Other hereditary diseases include muscular dystrophy, Huntington’s disease, hemophilia and Cystic Fibrosis.

Every year, more than 41 million people worldwide die from chronic diseases. Diabetes, heart disease and cancer are the most common that people endure, and die from, every year.

What Are Examples of Chronic Illness?

Looking over a list of chronic diseases really helps you to understand how many people have some form or other. Though some are rare, of course, many are quite common. Hundreds of millions of people in the world suffer from at least one chronic condition.

While on one end of the spectrum, some chronic diseases are highly manageable with treatment, such as asthma or diabetes, others, like Alzheimer’s disease or Crohn’s disease are debilitating and truly life-altering.

Multiple sclerosis is one of the many non-curable chronic diseases that people face. Like cancer, it can be kept under control with treatment but must be constantly evaluated to ensure the best possible diagnosis.

COPD, arthritis, epilepsy and hypertension are other examples of chronic illnesses.

How Can You Manage Chronic Disease?

There is a range of ways to manage chronic diseases that can mitigate the effects of particular diseases.

If you have a family history of skin cancer, for example, you can work with your doctor to invest in preventive techniques that can be as simple as reducing exposure to the sun’s UV rays or eating more leafy greens and carrots.

Engaging in an ongoing dialogue with your primary care physician is important. Don’t be afraid of bringing up anything to do with your health, though you might find it embarrassing or potentially off the mark. Communication is tantamount to an engine that makes your treatment options run as smoothly as possible.

Establishing a network can help with aspects of living with chronic disease. This can look like family and friends helping with daily maintenance responsibilities, and it can also be making connections with people who are going through similar experiences. The internet is a marvellous resource for this because you could engage in a sustainable dialogue without leaving home.

Managing your medications is a crucial piece of wellness. Nobody enjoys sucking down pills or self-administering shots, but these are essential elements to controlling the disease. Alternatively, losing track, or filling prescriptions late and running out could cause disruptions to your treatment that you don’t need.

Find joy where you can. Depression and anxiety so often accompany chronic diseases and they act as weights that can pull you down into an unhappy place. Life is imperfect, and this might feel more so when you’re struggling with a malady. The importance of willfully resisting these feelings cannot be overstated.

If you have trouble manufacturing the bright side on your own, find help, because it’s everywhere! If you, or your loved one with chronic disease, don’t want to talk to your loved ones, investing in a therapy could be a good option (which can be done from home on platforms like Zoom).

Alternatively pick up some books, such as Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. Known as the little yellow book, it speaks to the power of cognitive therapy and is filled with small activities geared toward helping you to think about life’s slings and arrows in a different way.