A chronic disease refers to a medical condition which lasts for more than a year. These diseases can be identified as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, dementia, Alzheimer, kidney ailment, asthma, depression, arthritis, and several others. These diseases lead to frequent hospitalization, long-term disability and most importantly prevents a person to live a quality life and in extreme cases, it may even lead to death.
A chronic health condition requires constant monitoring and care and therefore the concept comes to exist, which is called chronic disease management. It refers to a consistent care and support to individuals of all ages who are affected by these illnesses. Agencies that provide such services guide the patients with the right medical care, knowledge, skills, and resources to better deal with their conditions on a regular basis.
This is a fact that as individuals gets old, they suffer from multiple health conditions and therefore the government, non-government, the health care providers, and the society as a whole should make a concerted effort to prevent the risks and costs of chronic diseases.
Not all chronic diseases require a hospital stay. The concept of chronic disease management helps people to recognize this fact that some of these diseases are lifestyle related and they can be prevented by eating the right food, doing daily exercise, being refrained from excessive drinking and smoking.
The ideal chronic disease management refers to a treatment plan which should be dedicated, team-based, well integrated with the primary care of the patients, easily accessible and focused on an overall well being. The concept emphasizes as it goes a long way in preventing chronic diseases. It encourages the reciprocal behavior of the patient in the treatment process and emphasizes regular health screening to better deal with chronic diseases.
According to a report released by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP), 6 out of 10 Americans are suffered from chronic diseases. They are accounted for many death and disability among Americans every year. According to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2018, the leading national public health institute of the United States, there is a great diversity noticed in the prevalence of chronic diseases in the country. This diversity is reflected in various things including the number of hospitalization, the diagnosis, and the mortality rate.Chronic diseases have been identified as the most expensive health conditions in the United States. Reports suggest that almost 45 percent of the population suffers from chronic diseases and the number is growing. It says the healthcare sector in the country spends an aggregate of 75 percent on chronic diseases.
The leading chronic diseases, including cancer, diabetes heart disease, stroke, and obstructive pulmonary disease cause more than two-thirds of all the deaths. Statistics from other sources suggest more than 1.7 million deaths every year.
According to the source of N.C. Division of Public Health’s Chronic Disease and Injury Section, chronic diseases and injuries are causing over 50,000 deaths annually in North Carolina alone. Further, it suggests that most of the diseases in this region are caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, tobacco use, and frequent alcohol consumption, drug abuse and could have been avoided with a proper chronic disease management program. It is working in association with the local health care bodies to minimize the deaths and disabilities coming from chronic diseases.
According to CDS research conducted in the states territories, and a few of the metro cities and the district of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, it is evident that Puerto Rico has the maximum number of adults (aged 18 years) who are found in poor health conditions with arthritis in the year 2013 to 2014. Tennessee and Mississippi come second and third respectively in this regard.
This study finds that West Virginia has the highest number of adults suffering from asthma in the period 2012 to 2014. This study also says that West Virginia and Kentucky have recorded a maximum number of hospitalizations in the states.
The study indicates that some chronic diseases like arthritis, diabetes, and obstructive pulmonary diseases are found in the highest numbers in the Eastern states. But, asthma is found frequently in Northeastern states.
The cases of death from diabetes are reportedly higher in the states of West Virginia and Oklahoma in the year 2010 to 2014.
The incident of co-morbidity is making treatment difficult
The difficulty arises in the treatment of chronic conditions because they are often accompanied by some other diseases. This is called co-morbidity which increases as a person grows old. It is found that in 2018, 1 in 4 American adults is affected by two or more chronic conditions.
Gender-related distribution of chronic diseases
Men and women show a diverse trend of chronic diseases. Women reportedly have a higher number of hospitalization cases for asthma. The mortality rate from chronic diseases is also higher among women. This CDS research shows that on an average, the state of West Virginia recorded the highest number of chronic conditions from the year 2000 to 2014.
The study indicates that women are more susceptible to developing asthma in the states. As far as men are concerned, they have registered higher mortality rates causing from chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, diabetes, kidney, and other ailments.
2018 Top 8 Chronic Diseases in the USA
Chronic lower respiratory disease
Influenza and pneumonia
The current trend shows an increase in the level of chronic diseases in the USA. Many populations are aging, and the risk has also doubled because of obesity, frequent tobacco use, lack of physical exercise and improper nutrition. Chances are that these problems will augment if not addressed on time with proper medical care and attention.
Future predictions (costs, number of centers, increase/decrease in demand)
The existing demographics say that almost 10,000 Americans will touch the age of 65 every day from now onwards, and it will continue till the end of 2029. This suggests that many populations will be found with co-morbidities and this really a matter of concern.
Research hints that by 2034, the incidents of diabetes will be as high as 100 percent and the related cost will likely to be increased by 53 percent.
Naturally, the demand for professionals who can educate the population about how to deal with the chronic diseases and provide the subsequent support will increase as there will be an increase in the number of older population.
The numbers of chronic disease management centers are on the rise. These include the nursing community comprising both researchers and clinicians, who are playing an important role in providing unique self-management practices to counter with chronic diseases.
Chronic disease management care as a profession
It is extremely rewarding to have a career in chronic disease management. There are immense job opportunities available in the country to start a career as a chronic disease coordinator. A lot of universities offer a program in chronic disease management which is categorized under the nursing discipline.
Job opportunities are higher in the public health sector. An average salary of a chronic disease professional is over $45,000. It goes higher in the larger municipalities if the applicant is experienced.
Economic and social impact
A reputed research institute Milken analysis suggests that the cost incurred in the treatment of chronic diseases put an overwhelming impact on the country’s economy. This is because it is linked to productivity losses. This cost is expected to reach more than $1 trillion dollars annually.
Moreover, the USA is ranked low in cost and outcomes. This is contributed by the fact that the country has not been able to create an environment for the effective management of chronic diseases. If self-management is promoted to manage chronic disease, it will reduce the incidents of hospitalization and other complications. Together, this will improve the overall quality of life for people and at the same time will reduce the burden on the economy. So, chronic disease management is necessary for the prevention of disease and this will reduce the costs on the economy.
Heart disease and stroke are widespread in America. An estimated number of 810,000 deaths reported from heart ailments and stroke every year which is a big loss for the country. This causes the loss of productivity on the job and an increased cost in the health care system.
Above 1.7 million people are found with cancer every year in the country and nearly 600,000 deaths are reported from it. This is identified as the second leading cause of death. The cost for cancer care is expected to touch about $174 billion by 2020.
The number of diabetic patients in America is as high as 29 million and a large number of populations are identified as pre-diabetic, a condition which contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes. The total cost of health care spending on diabetes is $245 billion every year.
Obesity is another big risk factor for diabetes and it affects the Americans largely. A large part of the population aged between 17 to 24 years is obese to join the military. It puts a burden on the US health care system $147 billion a year.
Arthritis is another condition greatly affected the Americans. This creates a working disability in the country. This is an underlying reason for chronic pain among older. The total cost incurred on arthritis and its related conditions were around $304 billion in 2013.
Alzheimer is another chronic disease that affects about 5.7 million Americans. It is cited as the six leading cause of death in the country. The cost of Alzheimer disease put on the health care sector is between $159 billion and $215 billion.
Cavity and epilepsy are two of the other conditions that affect young Americans, mostly children and teenaged groups and adults of the population. The cost of epilepsy in the country is reported as $15.5 billion yearly.
Smoking is another chronic condition affects the Americans which lead to preventable disease and death in the country. A total number of $170 billion is spent on the treatment caused by smoking. This money could have been saved if youths would have stayed away from smoking.
A lack of physical exercise results in high medical and financial cost. Because, it leads to heart disease, obesity and cancer, and the treatment touch $117 billion annually.
Alcohol use is another problem which causes chronic diseases in Americans. Overindulgence in drinking lead to more than half of the deaths in the country.
Chronic disease self-management
Self-management is identified as a promising strategy to deal with and prevent chronic diseases in the country. It refers to the responsibility of the patient and how he reacts to the service providers. This can be done only through a proper education to create awareness about the various challenges put by chronic diseases.
Self-management is a potential weapon to develop a healthy lifestyle pattern and teach people about various strategies to deal with diseases in later life. This enables patients to become less dependent on others and to live life with dignity.
There is a tremendous focus on chronic disease management in the country because of the presence of a large number of older adults in the population and the continuous rise of medical cost. The benefits of this program and its potential to reduce the burden on the economy have attracted the attention of the government, insurance companies, health care providers, physicians etc.
The measures adopted by YMCA of Northwest NC, a community based nonprofit organization is making a serious effort to promote chronic disease self-management. Their diabetes prevention program is noteworthy which focuses more on lifestyle change than on weight loss.
Such chronic disease self-management programs are conducted under lifestyle coaches who guide the individuals to make necessary changes in their lives. Blood pressure self-monitoring, arthritis exercise, and falls prevention program are some of the measures targeted by this organization to bring the change.
So, there is a combined effort going on in the country towards formulating a strategy on how to minimize the incidence of readmissions in the hospital arising from chronic diseases.
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