What is Chronic Disease? Can it be Prevented?

Written By Center for Vein Restoration
Blog What Is Chronic Disease

Chronic diseases are persistent health conditions that can reduce the quality of one's life. However, proactive prevention measures can potentially lessen the devastating impact on the individual—and the world.

Chronic disease is defined as a long-lasting health condition, often a year or more, that requires ongoing medical attention and limits activities of daily living. This sterile characterization doesn't adequately communicate how difficult and frustrating life can be for an individual whose body doesn't work like most other people's bodies.

Chronic disease by the numbers

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), six in ten adults in the United States have a chronic disease, and four in ten adults have two or more such conditions. Globally, it is estimated that one in three adults suffer from multiple chronic conditions (MCCs), according to the National Library of Medicine (NIH).

Chronic diseases are responsible for more than 70 percent of deaths in the United States and more than 87 percent worldwide.

Examples of chronic diseases

Here are a few examples of prevalent chronic diseases that significantly impact an individual's quality of life and require long-term management:

Chronic venous insufficiency

A condition where damaged or weakened vein valves in the legs struggle to pump blood back to the heart effectively, Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) can lead to symptoms such as leg pain, swelling, and skin changes.

CVI can be managed via medical interventions like compression therapy or minimally invasive surgical procedures such as sclerotherapy, laser or radiofrequency ablation, or injectable medicated foam called Varithena, which shuts down the affected vein allowing blood to be redirected to healthier nearby veins.

Heart disease

A range of disorders that affect the heart, heart disease includes conditions such as coronary artery disease, heart failure, and arrhythmias. It occurs when the heart's blood vessels are narrowed or blocked, reducing blood flow. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is a leading cause of death worldwide and requires medical intervention and lifestyle modifications for management.


A complex disease characterized by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells, cancer can originate in any part of the body and has the potential to invade nearby tissues and spread to other organs. Early detection and various treatment modalities are vital in managing cancer effectively.

Chronic lung disease

This blanket term refers to persistent respiratory conditions that obstruct airflow and cause breathing difficulties. Examples include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and pulmonary fibrosis. These diseases often result in reduced lung function and can significantly impact a person's daily life and overall well-being.


When blood flow to the brain is disrupted, sudden death of brain cells occurs, causing various neurological impairments, such as paralysis, speech difficulties, and cognitive issues. Rapid medical intervention is crucial to minimize the potential long-term consequences of a stroke.

Alzheimer's disease

A progressive neurological disorder characterized by memory loss, cognitive decline, and behavioral changes; Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia. It affects a person's ability to carry out daily activities, ultimately leading to severe impairment in memory and thinking skills.


This disorder affects how the body turns food into energy, interfering with the body's ability to make enough insulin. Diabetes is associated with illness and premature death, impacting an estimated 285 million people globally, which equates to 6.4% of the world's adult population.


Being overweight is both a chronic disease and a risk factor for other conditions, including heart disease, hypertension, and some cancers. Obesity is defined as having a BMI is 30.0 or higher.

HERE is a simple calculator to help you estimate your BMI.

The impact of unresolved chronic disease

The peer-reviewed general medical journal The Lancet makes a sobering assessment of the human toll of chronic disease worldwide, writing:

"The risk of dying prematurely from often preventable and largely treatable chronic diseases such as stroke, heart disease, and stomach cancer has declined steadily over the past decade. But death rates from other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, lung cancer, colon cancer, and liver cancer are declining too slowly or worsening in many countries, with the United States, China, and the United Kingdom among a number of nations falling behind on global targets to cut premature deaths."

Can chronic disease be prevented?

Preventing chronic diseases is a complex matter influenced by various factors, including genetics, lifestyle choices, and environmental exposures. However, the CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) is more hopeful. It boldly declares, "Most chronic diseases can be prevented by eating right, being physically active, avoiding tobacco and excessive drinking, and getting regular health screenings." The CDC is dedicated to spreading the word about the power of making healthy choices to improve quality of life.

Preventing chronic venous insufficiency

Like other chronic diseases, vein disease is not entirely unavoidable. However, with awareness, education, and proactive measures, individuals can take charge of their health and significantly reduce their risk of developing this unsightly and potentially debilitating vein condition.

Risk factors include:

Treating chronic venous insufficiency

Individuals at higher risk of vein disease and those experiencing symptoms such as leg pain, swelling, itchiness, feelings of heaviness or fatigue, restlessness, or changes in skin color or texture of the lower leg should consult a vein care specialist for personalized advice.

Center for Vein Restoration (CVR) vein doctors are experts in diagnosing and treating venous insufficiency using advanced, outpatient treatment options that take an hour or less to perform in a comfortable office setting. Even those who have suffered for years with the symptoms of this common chronic disease find relief almost immediately and can return to normal activities right away with few restrictions.

Don't suffer another day with vein disease. Book an appointment at one of CVR's 70+ vein clinic locations today and start your journey toward managing chronic venous insufficiency and living pain-free.

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