We all know at least one person with a chronic condition.
Why do we have a Chronic Disease Awareness month?
Don’t we already observe awareness months for certain illnesses already?
Yes, it’s true that we do observe some months for individual illnesses; however, chronic conditions have been increasing exponentially in all Americans for several years.
Chronic illness is defined as health conditions that last one year or more and requires ongoing medical attention and/or limit activities of daily living.
Currently, there are a total of 20 chronic conditions. The 10 chronic conditions that are considered as chronic illnesses include:
– Cancer (Breast, colorectal, lung and prostate)
– Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
– Coronary heart disease (Coronary artery disease)
– Hepatitis ( Viral B & C)
– Hypertension (High blood pressure)
– Kidney disease
Unfortunately, chronic conditions account for 7 of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States.
According to a 2018 peer-reviewed research study from Preventing Chronic Disease, 129 million adult Americans (51.8 %) had a chronic condition. Sixty-one million (24.6%) adults had one chronic condition.
Sixty-eight million adults (27.2 %) had two chronic or more conditions. The chances of being diagnosed with two or more chronic conditions were higher among women, non-Hispanic white adults, older adults, adults aged 18–64 on Medicaid, dual-eligible adults (Medicare and Medicaid), and adults in rural areas.
More likely, we know a family member, friend or coworker battling a chronic condition. Many who are diagnosed with chronic illnesses suffer from lack of attention, proper medical care and resources.
This is the reason why organizations like the Chronic Disease Coalition and Good Days are dedicating this month to raise awareness of the impact of chronic disease in this country and to encourage others to advocate for access to quality care, treatment and resources for those with chronic illnesses.
The Chronic Disease Coalition, where I serve as an ambassador, has always advocated and raised awareness on behalf of the chronic illness community. Therefore, every month is Chronic Disease Awareness! However, in July, we specifically amplify patient voices while continuing to advocate for patient rights. The organization has planned amazing opportunities to get people engaged in advocacy efforts, including access to their special Chronic Disease month toolkit, live interviews and a Chronic University event about policy advocacy.
The Good Days Organization has dedicated July 10th as Chronic Disease Awareness Day. There are opportunities for people to participate in social media campaigning, a healthy recipe contest, opportunities for your hometown to recognize Chronic Disease Day and a separate live-stream event on July 13th.
Chronic illness rates are steadily increasing, but remember, we have the power to change the narrative. Consider taking part in the movements mentioned or consider starting your own local effort. This chronic illness journey is not meant for us to fight alone. There is strength in unity.
Until Next Time,
The Genetic Diabetic
The Chronic Disease Coalition: https://chronicdiseasecoalition.org/news/july-is-chronic-disease-month
Good Day’s Chronic Disease Day: https://chronicdiseaseday.org/
Boersma P, Black LI, Ward BW. Prevalence of Multiple Chronic Conditions Among US Adults, 2018. Prev Chronic Dis 2020;17:200130. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd17.200130