Chronic disease is a major problem in U.S. health care. More than
one-third of Americans have one or more chronic diseases, including
heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The personal costs to patients and
families are often severe, daily, and ongoing. The economic costs to
society are almost $1 trillion annually.1
disease includes high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, coronary artery
obstruction, angina, and heart attacks. Most of these conditions
represent a chain of events. Left untreated, of course, high blood
pressure is a leading cause of heart attack and stroke.
cases of diabetes develop from a pre-diabetic state which is also known
as insulin resistance. Insulin - a hormone produced by the pancreas -
is necessary for cells to be able to absorb glucose from the
bloodstream and use the glucose for energy. If cells become insulin
resistant, glucose stays in the bloodstream, leading to a pre-diabetic
Left untreated, pre-diabetes likely advances to
diabetes, in which insulin resistance is combined with insulin
depletion, as the pancreas loses its ability to produce this important
hormone. Diabetes may lead to many severe problems, including kidney
failure, and is a leading cause of death from heart failure.2
Cancer is now being recognized as a chronic disease.3
Rather than being a mysterious disorder that occurs randomly, many
cancers are now understood to have many elements in common with other
chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Pain is a
common element to chronic disease. Affected persons often take daily
pain medications. Most people become tolerant to their medication and
require increasingly stronger doses. The pain of chronic disease is
notoriously difficult to treat.
In recent years a holistic
approach has been successfully applied in the treatment of heart
disease, cancer, and diabetes. Chiropractic care is an important
component of the holistic approach.
Chiropractic care helps
restore more normal biomechanical function to the spine, which in turn
improves the ability of the nerve system to effectively communicate
with the rest of the body. Important benefits of this restored function
may be an improvement in the body's ability to repair damaged tissues,
a strengthened immune system, and reduced levels of musculoskeletal
pain. Such improvements may help lead to improved daily functioning. As
levels of pain decrease, a person may be able to engage in more
physical activity. Multiple benefits follow.
is a key part of an integrative approach to the management of the pain
of chronic disease. Your local chiropractor will be glad to help you
determine whether chiropractic care is right for you.
1"An Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease". Santa Monica, CA, Milken Institute, 2007
DM, et al: The metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular risk: implications
for clinical practice. Int J Obes 32(Suppl 2):S5-S10, 2008
3"Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer". Washington, DC, American Institute for Cancer Research, 2007
| Physical Activity and Chronic Disease
In recent years, study after study has shown that physical activity is
one of the top factors in lowering the risk of developing chronic
disease. Risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer are
lowered by consistent, moderate exercise.
findings have profound implications. Exercise now becomes much more
than a quick fix to get yourself ready for the summer and summer
clothes. Exercise is now known to be a critically important
If you're concerned about diabetes -
exercise. If you're concerned about heart disease - exercise. If you're
concerned about cancer - exercise. Exercise is not all there is to do,
of course, but if you're not exercising, you're missing a key factor in
maintaining good health.
Of course, no one is going to start
exercising because they think they "should". Exercise is always a
choice. Federal guidelines recommend 30 minutes of exercise five times
a week. These 30 minutes may be spread out over the course of the day,
if needed. If we choose to be healthy, we can do this.