What Is Chronic Illness?

Over the past several months, I’ve had people ask me about chronic illness.  I think the reason the question is coming up more and more is because there has been such an increase in chronic illnesses over the last decade.  We’ve seen more and more celebrities come out about their struggle living with chronic illness which has been good from an awareness standpoint. For instance, Lady Gaga with Fibromyalgia, Alec Baldwin with Lyme Disease, Shania Twain with Lyme Disease and Selma Blair with MS to name a few.  I must admit, prior to becoming ill myself, I had no idea how many chronic illnesses there were nor did I realize how many people and families were impacted.  Over the years I’ve had time to do a lot of research and I am amazed at what I’ve learned so far.  Our country has a lot of people that are struggling in silence and need our support.

So what makes an illness “chronic” anyway?  Great question!  The CDC (Center for Disease Control) defines chronic illness (disease) this way: Chronic diseases are defined broadly as conditions that last 1 year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living or both.  Some suggest that an illness becomes chronic after 3 months of treatment and the illness is not in remission or cured. The CDC further suggests that 6 in 10 Americans live with at least 1 chronic illness, some with multiple.  Some examples of chronic illness include:

  • Chronic Lyme Disease*
  • Fibromyalgia*
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome*
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Lupus
  • MS
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Arthritis
  • Kidney Disease

With an estimated 133 million Americans to be diagnosed with a chronic illness by 2020, it is important ,now more than ever, for us to advocate for those who are impacted. Millions of Americans are struggling to pay for much needed prescriptions due to high drug costs, some having to chose between food and the medicine they so desperately need.  No one should ever have to choose between the two. My goal in life and the goal of my family is to help create awareness about chronic illness and advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves.  Be the voice, provide support and resources to those who need it most.

XO,

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*Denotes Chronic Illness Windy has been diagnosed with

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