CHRONIC CARE IN AMERICA

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Introduction

A chronic disease is a disease or other human condition that is persistent or long-lasting in nature and generally slow progression. This term chronic is applicable whereby the course of the said disease lasts for more than three months. The most common chronic diseases in the world include asthma, diabetes, cancer, and HIV/AIDS. According to the Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States, 2010, at least one chronic disease or condition affects 45% of persons and account for seven of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States. Persons who suffer from chronic diseases and conditions e.g., obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and asthma, experience limitations in function, health, activity, and work, affecting the quality of their lives as well as the lives of their family. Preventable health-risk factors e.g., insufficient physical activity, poor nutrition, and tobacco use and exposure, contribute substantially to the development and severity of certain chronic diseases and conditions.

The burden of chronic disease worldwide is accompanied by a shift in health policies towards patient-centered care, and at the same time putting in mind that the population prospects are increasing. In the last 50 years, chronic disease has become the number one in terms of morbidity and mortality in the US accounting for three fourths of the total health care expenditure (The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2008).

 

 

Impacts of chronic diseases on the society

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in America points out that chronic disease affects more than just health care dollars; these illnesses have financial, personal, and occupational costs that go beyond healthcare expenditure. Chronic disease has major impacts that seriously affects the day-to-day lives of the society, it is onerous because it,

  • Has a major adverse effect on the quality of life of the affected individuals.
  • Causes premature deaths.
  • Creates large and underappreciated adverse economic effects on families, communities and society in general according to (WHO 2005).

 

How healthcare systems are addressing the chronic disease issue

  • Establishment of coordinated system of intervention and information sharing for patients with particular chronic condition or set of conditions and their providers
  • Encouraging all health providers to make use of the established practice guidelines when treating chronic diseases.
  • The process of educating patients to manage their conditions well and avoid disease complications.
  • Monitoring the quality of health care provided as well as patients outcomes overtime to ensure the program achieves its desired objectives.
  • Establishing more Medicare centers to conduct pilot studies on disease management, as well as establishing rules to encourage states to adopt such programs to help chronically ill patients better manage their diseases, improve health outcomes and lower medical costs.

 

Treatment of chronic disease and future improvements

For most chronic diseases, they require chronic care management for effective long term treatment. Effective chronic disease control requires attention to, social, behavioral, environmental and clinical aspects.

Obtaining recommended health screenings. This has been facilitated by the U.S Preventive Service Task Force which has established specific recommendations for cancer, blood pressure, diabetes, and other diseases as well as the risk factors.

State Wellness Programs (promoting health and avoiding costs). The state official’s guide to wellness discuss the wellness programs and initiatives (www.healthystate, c&g.org)

In future improvements can be made in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases through.

  • Access to healthcare-ensuring the establishment of health coverage as it is said united state is the only country with no health coverage especially for the African American population.
  • Ensuring medical advances including.
  • Discoveries in diagnosing and treating heart diseases and stroke.
  • Developing of effective medications for treatment of hypertensions.
  • A greater number of specialists and health care providers focusing in the various diseases.
  • Increasing the number of emergency-care units.
  • Adoption of good sex life.
  • Decline in cigarette smoking.
  • Decrease in mean blood pressure levels.
  • Change in the American diet.
  • Decrease in mean blood cholesterol levels.
  • Changing the individual controlled behaviors for the long term e.g.
  • Ensuring a nearer balance in socioeconomic status (SES). Individuals with higher SES tend to be better educated, have high incomes, and practice better individual behaviors(less smoking, controlled sex life, proper diets) and are most likely to have financial muscles or health insurance to help them access medical care with ease.
  • Having strong social policies. In the United States, some social policies such as, Medicare and Medicaid are an orientation to health improvement. They ease access to health care for vulnerable populations, the poor and the elderly.

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