According to Merriam Webster, “chronic” is something that is “continuing or occurring again and again for a long time.” If you look online, you can find various lists of specific conditions that are considered “chronic”, but they vary quite a bit in what they include.
Even the Center for Disease Control (CDC) talks about the varying schemes used for identifying chronic conditions. Each system uses their own definitions in regards to characteristics such as duration, remission, medical care required, quality of life, risk factors, etc. The various systems also come up with vastly different numbers of conditions from as few as 26 to as many as 185. Eventually a set “chronic disease indicators” (97 of them) was developed that can be used to ‘uniformly define, collect, and report chronic disease data that are important to public health practice‘.” (1)
It is very hard to pin down an “official” list of conditions that are considered chronic, but there are many different organizations that provide resources for individuals suffering from an illness that chronically impacts their life. As I dug around, many different conditions came up. Some of them were:
- Asthma, COPD/Respiratory disease
- Arthritis, chronic pain
- Kidney disease
- Heart disease
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Stress, anxiety
…and the list goes on. It’s likely that if you’re reading this, you or someone you love suffers from a condition that chronically impacts their life.
When I first learned that half of all adults suffer from one or more chronic condition I was shocked. But when I looked at the definition of chronic and explored the list of physical, mental and emotional conditions that could fall under this definition, I actually started to wonder about the adults that don’t deal with this. The adults that are “normal”. The ones that that don’t wake up from day to day wondering how the illness will effect them that day.
When you have a chronic condition, you will have days that are pretty good and days that are pretty awful. As you walk through life it is critically important to remember that God is with you in all of them. We have a Savior that suffered and died for us. He experienced real and true pain, both physically and emotionally. He longs to be able to comfort us. When the pain or frustration is too much to bear we need to remember that Jesus promised to give us rest.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
(1) Defining and Measuring Chronic Conditions: Imperatives for Research, Policy, Program, and Practice, http://www.cdc.gov