5 Ways to Make a Difference on Chronic Disease Awareness Day

On July 10, 2017, states and cities across the country, including in Texas, Nevada, Washington, Florida, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York issued official proclamations to commemorate Chronic Disease Awareness Day.

Seven out of every 10 deaths in the U.S. are caused by chronic illness., according to the Centers for Disease Control. Not all chronic diseases result from lifestyle choices and behavior, but the ones that do cost us dearly. The most common chronic disease conditions, like cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes and obesity, are also the most avoidable. Even though many diseases are not preventable, people with chronic illness need to be accountable too.

As a nation, we need to decrease the rate of avoidable hospitalizations, spend more time being active, and adopt healthier eating habits.

Awareness, prevention and personal accountability can reduce the number of chronic disease related deaths. Anyone and everyone can pitch in. Here are five ways you can make a difference on Chronic Disease Awareness Day:

1. Offer support to a person with chronic illness you know. Everyday tasks can be difficult to manage with chronic illness. It is nearly a guarantee that one or more of your family or friends suffer from a chronic disease. One in four Americans have multiple chronic conditions that require ongoing medical attention or limit daily living. That number rises to three in four Americans aged 65 and up.

2. Commit to one simple lifestyle change, such as daily 30 minute walks, eating more vegetables and whole grains, or smoking and alcohol cessation. It can drastically reduce your risk of contracting a chronic disease.

3. Post messages of encouragement and love for chronic illness sufferers on social media using the hashtags: #CDAware or #CDADay.

4. Engage community leaders about access to community fitness opportunities, local farmers’ markets, and active routes to schools like bike and walking paths. Local townships and regional municipalities are often easy to contact online, and your request will remind local leaders that it’s important.

5. Even though not all diseases are preventable, chronic disease sufferers need to be accountable too. Stanford University has developed a Chronic Disease Self-Management Program that helps establish the skills necessary to manage self-health. Adults who feel confident handling a chronic illness often live longer, happier lives.

Join Good Days and states and cities throughout the country to recognize Chronic Disease Awareness Day on July 10, 2017!

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo by Rinky Dink Images

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Chronic Illness

woman's hand with an IV holding a man's hand

Dear Future Husband, From a Chronically Ill Girl Who's Learning to Love Herself

Dear future husband, It’s been a while since I’ve written you, and boy have I changed. I am no longer the girl who is tethered to an IV pole and slowly wasting away. I’m no longer the girl who is terrified to even think of the future, because for weeks, I had been praying that my [...]
Photo of a woman with mastectomy scars and another woman in a black bathing suit and sun glasses

This Is What a 'Beach Body' Looks Like if You Have a Chronic Illness

A few years ago, I had surgery that left me with five scars on my abdomen. Usually, I’m a bikini kind of gal, but with five visible scars, the first time I hit the pool I wasn’t feeling too confident. Unfortunately, the full piece I packed to wear that day rubbed uncomfortably against my still [...]
woman sitting in bed in her pajamas

Even If Being Ill Means You Only Did the Bare Minimum Today, You Are Strong

I do my best every day to hide my pain and exhaustion. Most days I’m successful, but on days like today I can’t even manage to make my smile look genuine. When you have a chronic illness, you don’t get to choose your good days, and there’s no telling how many hours of “good” you’ll [...]

32 Surprising Physical Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue

For the average healthy person, fatigue is something that happens from time to time, maybe after running a marathon or working long hours one week at work. This fatigue usually goes away after getting a good night’s sleep and resting for a day or two. But for someone who experiences chronic fatigue as the result of [...]