Chronic diseases cannot be cured but have effects that may need rehabilitation and persistent efforts to control them. These diseases range from cardiovascular diseases (CVD) mainly heart disease and stroke; cancer; chronic respiratory diseases; diabetes and other diseases like mental illness, vision and hearing impairment, oral illness, bone and joint disorders and genetic disorders (Hooyman & Kiyak 2011). The risk factors among individuals can be classified as background risk factors such as age, sex, level o f education and genetic composition; behavioral such as alcohol use, tobacco, unhealthy diet or physical inactivity and intermediate risk factors like increased blood lipids, diabetes, high blood pressure and overweight/obesity (World Health Organization, 2009). This paper examines chronic cardiovascular(CVD) conditions as a condition that appears in older life.
Chronic cardiovascular conditions, which include hypertension, high cholesterol, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias, other heart conditions, and stroke, are chronic conditions that affect many persons over the age of 50 years. In the USA, the number of Medicare recipients over the age of 65 suffering from chronic cardiovascular conditions increased substantially from 1997-2006 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2009). These conditions are sometimes linked to each other for instance hypertension may result in heart disease, heart failure, and stroke. Cardiac arrhythmias can also result in stroke, heart failure and sudden death (World Health Organization, 2009).
The risk factors that are known to be involved in the development of chronic cardiovascular diseases such as arteriosclerosis, stroke or heart failure include genetic inheritance, high blood pressure unhealthy diets such as a diet high in saturated fats, lack of exercise, use of tobacco and poorly managed stress. These lifestyle aspects afore-listed normally contributes to slow plague build-up over a period as evidenced from researchers that have suggested that build up of plague may be related to swelling resulting from chronic bacterial infections (World Health Organization, 2005).
Estimation of the likelihood of getting the disease
Using the heart disease calculator based on my personal risk factors and disease prevalence, my 30-year risk of the cardiovascular condition is estimated at 5%. Although the tool directs me to take action to reduce the risk as the risk is not at or close to the acceptable levels, it is important to check with my doctor to ensure it is safe for me to continue. It is advised that I gradually increase my physical activity to at least 150 minutes a week of rapid aerobic activity, 300 minutes of a moderate or equal combination of both rigorous and moderate activities in a week (Heart Disease Risk Calculator, 2015).
Prevention of the disease on primary, secondary and tertiary levels
Primary prevention of chronic cardiovascular conditions involves preventing the disease or injury before it even happens and involves limiting the exposures to hazards that result in the condition. It includes health promotion activities that promote healthy living and reduce the onset of cardiovascular conditions. Primary prevention of the conditions also comprises early detection efforts like screening and strategies relevant for the management of the conditions. Examples of primary prevention include quitting lifestyles such as smoking and alcohol use; lifestyle changes like diet and exercise; monitoring healthy blood pressure and healthy cholesterol levels; healthy youth behaviors and practices; regular screening and early condition diagnosis (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2009).
Secondary prevention targets at reducing the effect of the chronic condition that as already happened. It comprises detecting and treating the chronic disease or condition that results in a chronic cardiovascular illness. This may include a daily low dose of aspirin or healthy diet and exercise programs to limit further cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension, heart attack or strokes (Hooyman & Kiyak 2011).
Tertiary prevention targets at neutralizing the effect of the continuing condition/illness that has long-term effects. It can be done by assisting the affected persons to manage permanent effects caused by chronic condition, for instance, disability caused by stroke. Examples may include cardiac or stroke rehabilitation programs; support initiatives that enable members to share strategies to living well and positively and vocational rehabilitation initiatives that retrain employees for new jobs once they make a full recovery (World Health Organization, 2005).
Age at which primary prevention for this disease should begin
The age at which primary prevention of cardiovascular condition for individuals with the risk factor depends on the primary prevention strategy. Lifestyle strategies to prevention such as avoiding drug abuse should begin as soon as the individual is exposed to such. Eating healthy diet should also be a continuous practice as the disease has also been on record to affect even people at a young age. Undertaking physical practice also has no age limit (World Health Organization, 2005). However, with respect to the rising CVD risk, screening for men should begin at the age of 40 and age 50 for women. Despite the fact that there is ongoing debate concerning the screening of all patients at the age of 40, it is suggested that most women would not be at risk of CVD at this age and the screening exercise would not follow the best available evidence. However, screening is recommended for patients who have known risk factors of CVD such as high blood pressure (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2009).
The paper has not only shed light on the awareness of CVD and effects on old age but has pointed out the best practice that has seen followed in dealing with cardiovascular disease. This sets the stage for promotion of healthy living.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Power of Prevention: Chronic Disease, the Public Health Challenge of the 21st Century, 2009.
Heart Disease Risk Calculator (2015) Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-disease-risk/itt-20084942Hooyman, N. R., & Kiyak A. H., (2011). Social Gerontology: A multidisciplinary perspective, (9th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon. ISBN 0205763138 and 978-0205763139
World Health Organization. (2005). Integrated chronic disease prevention and control. World Health Organization. Available online: http://www. who. int/chp/about/integrated_cd/en/(accessed on 2 February 2013).
World Health Organization (2009). Chronic diseases are the major cause of death and disability worldwide. Available from: http. http://www.who.int/chp/chronic_disease_report/media/Factsheet1.pdf
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