Health Care School Is in Session: What Is a Chronic Disease?

Health Care School Is in Session: What Is a Chronic Disease?

At one point or another, you’ll probably need to go see a doctor for something. That visit could be for a sore throat, broken arm or for a kid with a high fever. No matter what you’re going to the doctor for, understanding common medical terms is important.

Ideally, you’ll only have to go to the doctor for preventive care - which is meant to keep you healthy and detect health issues. With the Affordable Care Act , most preventive services are provided at no out of pocket costs – like certain screenings to check for possible chronic conditions such as diabetes or asthma.

Another reason you may go to the doctor is to manage a chronic disease.

What is a chronic disease?
A chronic disease, also known as a chronic illness, is a long-lasting condition than can be controlled but not cured. You may know someone who has a chronic disease. Chronic diseases tend to become more common with age. Younger people may also be diagnosed with a chronic disease. 

Examples of chronic disease are:

Call your doctor right away if you think you may have a chronic condition. It is very important that you share your health issues with your doctor.

Chronic diseases may be discovered with a series of diagnostic tests. A diagnostic test is any kind of medical test performed to help detect or diagnose a disease. Diagnostic tests can also be used to confirm that a person doesn’t have a disease.

Your doctor can help you determine next steps and if necessary, can provide you a referral for a diagnostic test or screening or to a specialist.

Sources: The Center for Managing Chronic Disease;  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Originally published October 6, 2016; Revised 2019

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