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Chronic Illness – Things You Should Know

September 19, 2018

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You might have heard of chronic illnesses a lot of times and wondered what it is. A chronic illness is simply an illness that lasts for quite long and often cannot be cured, though can be treated and managed sometimes. This means that some chronic illnesses don’t limit the daily activities of you or your loved one, while some others make it difficult to carry on routine activities or the illness may progress and worsen with time. Today Earth’s Wisdom wants to make you aware of things associated to chronic illnesses.

Knowing why some chronically ill people face invisible hurdles is important though they look fine on the outside.

Definition of Chronically Ill

Legal definitions of some terms may differ from their everyday meaning. When it comes to chronic illnesses, the legal definition may determine the eligibility for specific services.

  • In the United States, a chronically ill person has the following criteria:
  • Unable to carry on at least two everyday activities (e.g. eating, bathing, dressing, toileting) at least for 90 days
  • Has a level of disability similar to the above criterion
  • Requires considerable assistance and supervision so as to save themselves from health and safety hazards due to cognitive or physical impairment

These criteria are useful to decide whether the person is eligible for disability insurance, long-term care insurance or any other care. Nevertheless, it should be noted that individual organizations and even countries may have definitions and eligibility criteria for long-term illnesses different than these.

Not everyone with a chronic illness is identified as disabled. Sometimes when the illness prevents you from performing daily activities, the disease can reach the level of disability. In others, physical impairments may not be severe enough to be eligible for disability.

Things Common in Chronically Ill Patients

Experience of each chronically ill person differs and can also change over time. But there are characteristics that are common among chronically ill patients.

Invisible Chronic Pain

Most individuals suffer from a chronic illness and chronic pain simultaneously. As this pain may not be seen by others, it’s considered as “masked” or “invisible”.

Chronic Fatigue

Each chronic disease may have its own unique symptoms but there are some symptoms that are common in most chronic illnesses, like fatigue and pain. Chronically ill patient may get easily tired and this may compel them to stick to their body’s own “schedule” and rest when it tells them to.

Requirement of Multiple Specialists

For the treatment of symptoms and the illness itself, you may have to visit various healthcare experts including pain care specialists, doctors specializing in the underlying disease and other specialists who can help you manage symptoms and side effects.

Common Chronic Illnesses

These are:

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Depression
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Lung cancer
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Cystic fibrosis

Chronic Illness Resources

If you or your loved one is having a chronic illness, you may find the following resources useful:

Mental Healthcare Provider

A mental health therapist can help you cope up with the emotional as well as physical effects of your chronic illness

Support Groups

Speaking and listening to a group of people having the same condition as of yours may be of a lot of help. You can share your concerns, learn from their experience and know that there are people who can help you overcome the hardships your chronic illness brings.


Your chronic illness may not affect only you but even your family. In such a condition, a one-on-one therapy may be helpful for you and your loved ones. Counseling can help you talk about and tackle with the hardships of the illness.

A chronic illness thus may look quite challenging to go through, but with the right assistance of your family and healthcare providers, you can live a comfortable life.

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