SOC 280 Characteristics of a Chronic Illness

March 8, 2022
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SOC 280 Characteristics of a Chronic Illness

SOC 280 Characteristics of a Chronic Illness

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Possible Research Paper Topics

Alternative treatments

Narratives of health and recovery

Disability (mental and physical)

U.S. healthcare policy

Nationalized healthcare systems

Healthcare access and barriers

Additional at-risk populations

Additional illness experiences

Public health interventions

Metaphors and illness

Gender and the body

Race and the body

Social structure of medical education

Medicine and activism

Historical models of illness

Health education

Sexual and reproductive health

Health and social justice

Chronic illness

Bioethics and medical decision-making

Death and dying

End-of-life care

Genetic testing and diagnosis

Assisted reproductive technologies

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SOC 280 Characteristics of a Chronic Illness

SOC 280 Characteristics of a Chronic Illness

Illness branding

Illness in literature and film

Medical experimentation

Developmental illnesses


A chronic or long-term illness means having to adjust to the demands of the illness and the therapy used to treat the condition. There may be additional stresses, since chronic illness might change the way you live, see yourself and relate to others.
Characteristics of a chronic illness
Chronic illnesses are mostly characterised by:

complex causes
many risk factors
long latency periods (time between onset of the illness and feeling its effects)
a long illness
functional impairment or disability.
Most chronic illnesses do not fix themselves and are generally not cured completely. Some can be immediately life-threatening, such as heart disease and stroke. Others linger over time and need intensive management, such as diabetes. Most chronic illnesses persist throughout a person’s life, but are not always the cause of death, such as arthritis.

Common chronic illnesses
While many illnesses can be considered chronic, there are 12 major chronic conditions that are a significant burden in terms of morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs in Australia, including:

heart disease
lung cancer
colorectal cancer
type 2 diabetes
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
chronic kidney disease
oral disease.
Common stresses of chronic illness
Chronic or long-term illness and its treatment pose special problems. You need to learn how to:

live with the physical effects of the illness
deal with the treatments
make sure there is clear communication with doctors
maintain emotional balance to cope with negative feelings
maintain confidence and a positive self-image.
Additional demands of chronic illness
As well as needing to find ways to deal with the stress involved with chronic illness, you also need to:

understand the condition
know about the treatment and therapy
maintain trust and confidence in the doctors, especially when recovery isn’t possible
know how to control the symptoms
maintain social relationships and a strong support network when faced with an uncertain medical future or when symptoms arise
avoid social isolation.
Type of help available for chronic illness
Dealing with the stresses of chronic illness can be demanding and it puts extra pressure on you. It is important you speak to your doctor or healthcare provider about your feelings and how effectively you think you are coping with the illness and its treatment.

Ways to cope with chronic illness
There is a range of ways to deal with the stress of chronic illness. These include:

finding information – this can help if you feel helpless or out of control
emotional support from others – particularly family and friends, this can be a source of great help
joining a well facilitated support group
setting concrete, short-term goals – to restore certainty, power and control
thinking about possible outcomes – discussing them with the doctor can help you to face them before they become a reality.
The overall aim of these strategies is to help put your illness into context and give some meaning to what is happening.

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Posted in nursing by Clarissa