Living strong with a chronic disease


The Mirror reporter

An approximated 133 million Americans live with chronic illnesses which represent more than 40 percent of the nation’s population.

According to the U.S National Center for Health Statistics, chronic illness is a disease that lasts three months or longer. Chronic illnesses include asthma, type 1 and 2 diabetes, cancer and sickle cell.

There is often no cure, but breakthroughs in medical treatment allow people with these diseases to live full, active lives.

Sickle cell disease is the most inherited blood disorder. People with sickle cell have red blood cells that are C-shaped, like the sickle farm tool.

Red blood cells contain hemoglobin which carries oxygen around the body. In a healthy person, hemoglobin is smooth and round which allows it to move easily across the bloodstreams.

In a sickler, hemoglobin is abnormal and clumps together. That causes red blood cells to be rigid and block blood flow.

About 100,000 people in the United States have sickle cell and most of them are African-Americans.

How do people with dangerous diseases like sickle cell, cancer, and asthma live a full, active life?

The answer can be found in their will to live and strength of friendship and family.

It is crucial to listen to doctors and follow their advice. However, doctors are not always present in your everyday life. Friends and family will be the bedrock of support.

As friends and family, there are multiple ways to help people with chronic disease.

Listen: This is probably the best support that can be given to people with chronic disease. Listening to their worries and anger can make them feel at ease.

Encourage: Remind them to take their medication. For sickler, they should take their supplements, diabetics should take their insulin and asthmatics should use their inhaler.

Support: No one asked to have the disease, be there for them and make them feel good by asking to help in whatever way possible.

More information can be found at WebMD