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Chronic Diseases

  • By: Marianne S. Matthias
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Chronic diseases have become more prevalent in the United States in recent decades, so much so that the majority of patients' health care needs are for chronic illness, as opposed to acute health care needs. Chronic conditions are numerous and diverse, but commonly include conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, asthma, chronic pain, and mental illnesses (ranging from depression and anxiety to more severe conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder), among many others. There are different ways that communication is involved in this management and the unique communication challenges associated with chronic diseases.

Caring for chronic diseases involves unique challenges that are not present with acute conditions. Chronic conditions, by definition, involve ongoing management, usually over a lifetime, rather than cure. With an acute ...

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