Chronic diseases or conditions occur over a long time. For most people, developing a chronic disease means they will have the disease or condition for the rest of their lives or they will live with the long term impact of that disease or condition. Chronic disease is often preventable. Some chronic conditions can be delayed until much later in life. Living well with chronic conditions is achievable. Preventing the onset of a secondary chronic disease is desirable.

Chronic diseases include, but are not limited to: asthma, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, overweight and obesity.

These conditions also cause major limitations in daily living for almost 1 out of 10 Americans or about 25 million people. Adopting healthy behaviors such as eating nutritious foods, being physically active and avoiding tobacco use can prevent or control the devastating effects of these diseases. (CDC, 2008)

Chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, chronic diseases account for 70% of all deaths in the U.S. or 1.7 million people will die each year from a chronic disease.

The medical care costs of people with chronic diseases account for more than 75% of the nation's $2 trillion medical care costs. (CDC, 2008)

The costs of chronic disease and the impact of chronic disease prevention in the United States can be found here on the Centers for Disease Control web site. The burden of chronic disease in Massachusetts can also be found on the Centers for Disease Control web site.

This information is provided by the Division of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention within the Department of Public Health.