5 Common Chronic Diseases (And How to Prevent Them)

If you’re living with a chronic illness, you may feel isolated and unwilling to connect with others who could help you cope with adverse symptoms. Chronic diseases are incredibly common, affecting 6 in 10 people in the United States alone. Factors like age, genetics, and gender may contribute to an increased likelihood of developing a chronic illness. 

Despite being a widespread issue, dealing with a chronic disease does not have to be an insurmountable challenge. Diseases like diabetes, asthma, and heart disease require expert care and a thorough treatment plan that can help you regain a full and healthy life. 

At Sulkowski Family Medicine in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Thomas Sulkowski, MD, specializes in family medicine and offers a wide range of options for managing symptoms associated with chronic illnesses.  

What is a chronic illness?  

Chronic illness affects your body persistently and frequently recurs over time. If you suffer from a chronic disease, you may have difficulty adjusting to the demands of the illness. Therapy is often used to treat these types of conditions and manage adverse symptoms. 

Chronic illness can hinder your ability to be independent, adding additional stress to daily activities. People who deal with chronic ailments often believe that the absence of symptoms means they are no longer suffering from their condition. But this may not mean that the disease has disappeared altogether. 

At Sulkowski Family Medicine, we help you prevent the onset of symptoms and manage your condition through a comprehensive treatment plan.

Some examples of common chronic diseases 

Here’s a rundown of some of the most common chronic illnesses that we treat. 

Diabetes 

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how your body processes blood sugar. When your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or doesn’t use it effectively, it results in this chronic ailment. There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2, the latter of which is the most common. 

If you have high blood sugar, you are at greater risk for:

High blood sugar associated with diabetes damages the blood vessels in the heart and blocks the vessels leading to your brain. Preventing or delaying complications associated with the disease begins with simple lifestyle changes. Regularly exercising and eating a healthy diet can lower blood glucose levels.  

Heart disease  

Although there are other conditions that fall under the category of heart disease, but it generally involves narrowed or blocked blood vessels. Atherosclerosis may develop as a result, which causes plaque to build up in the walls of your arteries. Plaque buildup and blood clots make it difficult for blood to flow through your arteries. 

This condition comes in many forms, often leading to:

Asthma 

When the airways in your lungs becomes narrow and inflamed, your body doesn’t receive the necessary amount of oxygen, making it hard to breathe. Symptoms of asthma often include:

But in some cases, asthma sufferers may suffer a severe attack, which can be life-threatening. While the condition is not curable, Dr. Sulkowski can help mitigate symptoms by prescribing a treatment plan and tracking signs of worsening symptoms. 

Hypertension  

When your body stores an excess of fat or lipids, your arteries can become clogged, contributing to heart disease. A heart that pumps too much blood but has narrow arteries that restrict the flow of blood through them results in high blood pressure, or hypertension. 

This condition commonly occurs in 58% of older adults, but it can lead to more severe problems, including a heart attack or a stroke. Regulating your stress levels, checking your blood pressure regularly, and limiting your sodium intake can help you manage or prevent hypertension.  

Stroke 

A stroke typically occurs as a result of other ailments like high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Two of the common types of strokes you could suffer are ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke. 

Ischemic strokes obstruct the necessary flow of blood from entering the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke happens when a blood vessel ruptures, which also prevents blood flow to the brain. Once we determine the type of stroke you’ve had, Dr. Sulkowski prescribes a treatment plan best suited to your condition.  

If you’re concerned about symptoms of a chronic disease, contact our office or book an appointment today. 

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