Thursday, August 6, 2015

What Does “Chronic” Mean to You?

Throughout the course of my work, I have discovered that many people misunderstand the meaning of the word “chronic". Chronic is defined by Meridian-Webster as:

        a :  marked by long duration or frequent recurrence

Over the years, the medical community has adopted the word “chronic” to measure the level of a health condition such as diagnosing a person as chronically ill. This has changed our perception of the word.

When we look at the true definition of the word, it is possible to use it to define a positive condition such as “chronically happy.” But rarely do we define a person as chronically happy, chronically well, chronically successful. We’ve become conditioned to associate the word chronic with something negative and unwanted, usually a physical condition.

Even then I find that many people still misunderstand the word associating “chronic” to a very serious or life-threatening illness. But again, when we look at the true definition of the word, “chronic” means any condition that is frequent or lasting for a long duration. Therefore, it can include conditions that do not require constant medical attention and those that are not categorized as life-threatening.

Chronic illness includes conditions such as ongoing heartburn or other digestive issues, joint pain, headaches, acne or psoriasis, etc. A chronic illness is defined as a condition that lasts for months or even years. Sometimes that condition can limit physical activity and quality of life, but not always.
It is estimated that more than 120 million Americans have at least one chronic health condition and many deal with more than one condition at a time.
I challenge you to reexamine your definition of “chronic” and I welcome your feedback.