Chronic illness is understood to refer to a persistent and sustained process that is accompanied by degenerative physical, social and psychological impairments or handicaps, and as a rule requires extended and sustained medical monitoring, observation and care (M. Mischo-Kelling, 1992 in Pschyrembel).
Forms of chronic illness
An acute illness generally sets in suddenly and dynamically, is of limited duration and can usually be cured in full. A chronic illness, in contrast, afflicts patients throughout their entire lives or at least over an extended period. There are lots of different forms of chronic illness:
- Episodic, e.g. chronic polyarthritis
- Sudden onset, e.g. breast cancer that is discovered by chance during a preventative screening
- Chronic progredient, e.g. patient with congestive heart failure who over time requires care
- Persistent, e.g. diabetes mellitus
- Psychological or psychosomatic, e.g. burnout syndrome
Do you suffer from any of these? Then click on the accompanying links to find out what you can do next.