Chronic Diseases & Teens
By Andrew Utesch
What is a Chronic Disease?Chronic diseases are diseases that last 3 months or more. They can not be prevented by vaccination or cured by medication. Chronic diseases tend to be more common with age, but that doesn't mean that teens and young children can't get them. In fact, there are many chronic diseases that affect teens and children like obesity, asthma, diabetes, and cancer.
Tips for Teens
It is important for teens to remember these five things in order to avoid chronic diseases:
1. Eat Healthy
2. Get Outside
3. Don't Smoke
4. Don't Drink Alcohol
5. Get Regular Physical Activity
- In 2012, more than one third of America's teens were overweight
- Around 10% of young people have asthma
- 1 in 4 high school students in the U.S. is a tobacco user
- Chronic diseases account for 3 out of 4 deaths
- 1 in 4 HIV infections occurs in ages 13 to 24
Q: At what age can I get a chronic disease?
A: Chronic diseases are not limited to age, and if you don't take care of yourself you can be diagnosed at any time.
Some people believe that chronic diseases can be spread from person to person. However, chronic diseases are not contagious, but some like HIV are spread through direct contact.
"The truth that many people never understand is that the more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt." - Thomas Merton
The NCCDPHP is a program run by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that supports activities to prevent chronic diseases in young people. Go to http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/about/programs.htm to check it out.
In Charlotte, teens can reach out to programs in Carolina's Medical Center for dealing with or preventing chronic diseases.