July is Chronic Disease Month! Chronic diseases are defined as conditions that last one year or more, require medical attention, and limit daily life activities. Did you know that roughly 50% of American adults deal with chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, AIDS, arthritis, and kidney disease?
Chronic Disease Fact:
- Six out of 10 adults in the US have been diagnosed with a chronic disease
- Four out of 10 adults in the US are living with two or more chronic diseases
- In the US, chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability
- Chronic diseases contribute to over 90% of the annual healthcare spending in the US
- Individuals can lower their risk for chronic disease by improving their diet*, engaging in regular physical activity/exercise, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol use.
*Choose a diet that is low in sodium and fat and high in fruits and vegetables.
NWICA serves thousands of people each year who are living with chronic disease. We proudly offer free, engaging self-management workshops where participants learn together how to better manage day-to-day life with a chronic condition. Our classes include Living Healthy with Chronic Conditions, Living Healthy with Diabetes, A Matter of Balance (AMOB), EnhanceFitness, and Building Better Caregivers(BBC). Each class lasts a few weeks and the benefits last for a lifetime!
Mr. & Mrs. Sand*, both alumna of AMOB and BBC, shared, “Weeks before the workshop began, I had to call the ambulance three times in one day to help me get up from a fall. The workshop taught us some strategies that have helped. We manage our bodies and our living space better. Now we know that even EMS needs a clear pathway to get through. We can’t just make a walkway we can squeak through- a stretcher and its bearers need more space. We discovered some hazards in our home, and we have learned how to use our walker and cane!”
Caregivers report that stress is their greatest challenge. The Building Better Caregivers class addresses that along with self-care; dealing with difficult emotions; managing difficult care partner behaviors; planning for the future; finding resources; family meetings and more. The Sands* called Building Better Caregivers “an enjoyable success! Being a caregiver is rough duty: with both of our conditions, we care for each other. BBC helps the caregiver and care partner. One day during class, a lightbulb went off. I never realized that I was making things harder than they needed to be. We also learned to always have a partner at the doctor- two sets of ears, two minds to help remember the instructions. Now we are both better caregivers!”
Here are some things you can do about chronic disease this month.
- Attend NWICA’s Chronic Disease Education and Health Fair on July 19 from 2-4pm at Bonner Senior Center, 5800 Lexington Avenue, Portage.
- Become a volunteer facilitator for our classes. Training is free! Contact us at .
- Schedule your annual wellness visit and preventative health screenings.
- Eat a well-balance diet including foods that are low in salt, fat, and cholesterol.
- Quit smoking.
- Get enough sleep
Chronic diseases are common, but even if you have a chronic condition, you can take steps to reduce stress, feel well, have more energy, and avoid complications. NWICA encourages you to take one step during Chronic Disease Month to manage your condition or reduce your risk!