There is any number of things that can contribute to chronic illness, such as genetics, age, environment, and pre-existing health conditions. However, your daily life, such as your everyday habits and behaviors, can also have a significant impact on your health. And the worse your habits are, the more likely you are to develop a chronic illness.
In this article, we will take a closer look at what chronic illness is and address the behaviors and habits that can increase your risk of developing a chronic illness.
What is Chronic Illness?
A chronic illness is essentially any condition that lasts for an extended period of time. Most often, a person is diagnosed with a chronic illness when they have been struggling with the condition for at least one year.
For some, chronic illnesses can last a lifetime, no matter what they do to try and improve their lives. Chronic diseases, for example, such as diabetes or lung disease, are not easy to get rid of. However, some chronic illnesses that are more a result of behavioral patterns can be overcome, and even if you can’t cure your chronic illness, improving your habits and behaviors can lessen your symptoms and improve your health in other ways.
Unfortunately, the longer you have a chronic illness, the more it will affect your overall health and wellness, making it harder to get better. Having a chronic illness can lead to daily fatigue, pain, and anxiety, all of which can start affecting both your physical and mental well-being even further.
People with chronic illness often struggle with depression and anxiety, they may have mood swings and irritability, and they may also struggle with sleep and have other cognitive issues. And these things can also start affecting the rest of your life, such as your job, your relationships, your interest in things you once enjoyed, and your overall feeling of stability.
What Habits and Behaviors Increase Your Chances of Developing a Chronic Illness?
While some chronic diseases are unavoidable, making certain lifestyle and behavior changes can prevent chronic illness. And if you already have a chronic illness, changing your habits can improve your condition, lessen your symptoms, and even potentially cure your chronic illness altogether.
Below, we’ll address some of the most common behaviors and habits that can lead to chronic disease or worsen your symptoms if you’ve already been diagnosed with a chronic illness.
While some drugs, such as marijuana, have been used to help relieve symptoms that can be caused by chronic illness, some can make the situation worse. Even marijuana can have negative side effects if abused.
Tobacco, one of the most commonly used drugs, can be incredibly harmful to those with a chronic illness, and it can also increase your chances of developing a chronic disease, such as lung disease and cancer.
Overall, drug use can affect your body in many ways, so it’s important to pay attention to your symptoms when you use drugs. If drug use makes you tired, anxious, weakens your immune system, or negatively affects your health in any other way, you should stop using. If you continue using, it will only make your chronic illness worse or increase your chances of developing a chronic illness if you don’t already have one.
Excessive alcohol consumption is another primary trigger, like drugs, for chronic illness. Drinking too much alcohol on a regular basis can severely damage your body and over health, which means you will be more likely to develop a chronic condition. High blood pressure, cancer, strokes, liver disease, and heart disease are all common conditions that can develop from excessive alcohol consumption.
Alcohol use can also become an addiction that people rely on when they are struggling with certain things or traumas in their life. However, the more you abuse alcohol, the more likely you are to also struggle with mental illness, which can further contribute to chronic illness.
It’s important to eat healthy in general to avoid health issues. Your diet can affect your body in numerous ways, as well as your mental health, but a poor diet can especially cause problems when you have a chronic disease.
Your gut and what you put into it play a significant role in your overall health. So the better you eat, the better you will feel. For people with chronic diseases, a healthy diet is essential, but eating right can also help you lower your chances of developing a chronic illness as well.
People with diabetes, for example, can greatly improve their symptoms and even cure their disease by being more mindful of what they eat. Nutritional support has also been shown to improve addiction recovery for those who struggle with substance abuse and health conditions related to their substance abuse.
Lack of Exercise
Moving your body on a regular basis is one of the best ways to stay healthy and prevent disease. The more sedentary you are, the more you will start to develop a number of issues that can lead to chronic illness or make your existing chronic illness worse.
The risk of developing vein diseases, for example, such as spider and varicose veins, increases in those who live a sedentary lifestyle. Heart disease is also more common in those who are overweight and not physically active.
But the more you exercise, the more you strengthen your body and its ability to manage symptoms and fight off disease.
Wrapping Up: How to Manage and Prevent Chronic Illness
Living a healthier lifestyle overall and prioritizing healthy habits can significantly reduce your chances of getting sick and developing a chronic illness. If you eat healthy, well-balanced meals, get regular exercise, avoid too much alcohol and drug use, and get enough sleep every night, you can better manage your overall health and improve symptoms if you have an existing condition.
Cognitive behavioral therapy has also been shown to help those who have been diagnosed with a chronic disease manage their symptoms. This form of therapy can improve the way you think about yourself and your life, which can lead to better choices and healthier habits that can reduce your risk of disease and improve existing symptoms.