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Does Chronic Illness Get Easier or Harder with Age?

Does Chronic Illness Get Easier or Harder with Age? | A Chronic Voice

Chronic illness is, unfortunately, a common issue that many people of all ages have to deal with. For an illness to be considered chronic, it must be a disease that is persistent and long-lasting. Most chronic illnesses last for prolonged periods of time or are irreversible and may get worse as time goes on. Some chronic illnesses are harder to deal with than others and some have more detrimental side effects than others. Some examples of chronic illnesses include:

  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s
  • COPD
  • Arthritis

Some of these illnesses can be treated and symptoms may ease up, however, most of the time there is not a treatment that will completely rid a person of all of their symptoms attributed to his or her chronic illness.

With that being said, chronic illness impacts people of all ages, so a common question that people usually have is, does chronic illness get easier or harder with age?

The Correlation Between Illness and Age

As people living with a chronic illness age, the symptoms have the potential to get worse, however, if treated properly, it’s possible that their illness can get under control and can remain the same or that he or she will have fewer symptoms. Whether or not chronic illness gets easier or harder with age solely depends on the person, the answer to this is different for everyone.

There are however a few correlations between illness and age, the most notable having to do with people’s social aspects and activity levels at the various points of their lives.

The Social Cost of Illness

Chronic illnesses can be aggravated by a number of different things such as alcohol and tobacco use, poor diet, and daily life stressors. Younger people are more susceptible to these aggravations because of their lifestyle. Though some of these chronic illness stressors can be managed, such as tobacco use and alcohol consumption, as a young person who is out and about; usually working and spending time with friends and family, paying attention to not aggravating his or her chronic illness is more challenging than it is for an older person.

Younger people that are dealing with chronic illnesses are in stressful environments more often than older people dealing with a chronic illness. Younger people have more daily life tasks, such as holding down a job, staying social and potentially raising a family. Older people that have a chronic illness don’t have as many social demands. Therefore some people may find that their chronic illness lessens in some ways as they age because they aren’t susceptible to as many stressors. This is largely because an older person’s caregiver assists them with everyday tasks that may have made their illness act up in years prior.

Physical Issues

On the other hand, physical issues impact older people dealing with a chronic illness more than younger people. A person’s level of physical activity can have positive impacts on his or her chronic illness. In many cases, staying active can aid in keeping a person’s chronic illness to a minimum or at least preventing it from getting worse. However, older people are limited in the levels of physical activity they can do so it’s common for their chronic illness to worsen and become harder to control.

An employee at a retirement community in New Jersey pointed out that many of the residents that suffer from a chronic illness struggle to stay active so their chronic illness often worsens; their bodies simply can’t move like they used to. Though this isn’t always the case, it’s more common for a person to struggle to deal with his or her chronic illness and find that it has worsened with age.

Dealing with Chronic Illness at All Ages

Overall, dealing with a chronic illness is difficult at any age and all ages have pros and cons when it comes to a chronic illness. If you or a loved one is suffering from a chronic illness, it’s important to do all that you can in order to stay as healthy as possible. Receiving the appropriate support and treatment is also crucial. Creating an overall lifestyle revolved around wellness is the best way to deal with and treat a chronic illness.

This list is just a rough guide, and nothing in this review should be taken as medical advice. Always be sure to check with your doctor before you start on any new treatment or protocol.

Read More: A Page From a Sick Girl’s Diary: Sometimes I Wish I was an Old Person

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Contributor Bio


Jennifer Bell profile

Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey.

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