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A chronic condition is a human health condition or disease that is persistent or otherwise long-lasting in its effects or a disease that comes with time. The term chronic is often applied when the course of the disease lasts for more than three months. Common chronic diseases include arthritis, asthma, cancer, COPD, diabetes and viral diseases such as hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS.
The non-communicable diseases are also usually lasting medical conditions but are separated by their non-infectious causes. In contrast, some chronic diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, are caused by transmissible infections.
In the United States 25% of adults have at least two chronic conditions. Chronic diseases constitute a major cause of mortality, with the World Health Organization (WHO) attributing 38 million deaths a year to non-communicable diseases.
Chronic conditions have often been used to describe the various health related states of the human body such as syndromes, physical impairments, disabilities as well as diseases. Epidemiologists have found interest in chronic conditions due to the fact they contribute to disease, disability, and diminished physical and/or mental capacity.
For example, high blood pressure or hypertension is considered to be not only a chronic condition itself but also correlated to diseases such as heart attack or stroke. Additionally, some socioeconomic factors may be considered as a chronic condition as they lead to disability in daily life. An important one that public health officials in the social science setting have begun highlighting is chronic poverty and racism.
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