A chronic or long-term illness means having to adjust to the demands of the illness and the therapy used to treat the condition. There may be additional stresses, since chronic illness might change the way you live, see yourself and relate to others.

Chronic illnesses are mostly characterised by:

  • Complex causes
  • Many risk factors
  • Long latency periods (time between onset of the illness and feeling its effects)
    a long illness
  • Functional impairment or disability.

Most chronic illnesses do not fix themselves and are generally not cured completely. Some can be immediately life-threatening, such as heart disease and stroke. Others linger over time and need intensive management, such as diabetes. Most chronic illnesses persist throughout a person’s life, but are not always the cause of death, such as arthritis.

 

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