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Impacts of Chronic Illness Disease Discussion

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Chronic illness impacts the life of more than just the person who was diagnosed with the illness. Those who suffer from asthma often have disruptive lives due to the impaired breathing. Making it difficult to enjoy activities such as sports and outdoor living, especially during times of high pollen count and when inflicted by secondhand smoke. It is common for those who experience asthma to also experience anxiety disorders (Sarafino & Smith, 2017). When a child has asthma, a parent can be overwhelmed by stress, due to the fear of an asthma attack occurring.

The cost of medicine, treatments, and loss of work can become costly for those who suffer from chronic asthma. Another chronic illness is epilepsy. Those afflicted with this chronic illness can have difficulties maintain a job, because it is no uncommon for them to sustain motor and cognitive impairments (Sarafino & Smith, 2017). People with epilepsy are easily targeted with stigmas and discriminated against, which is not only morally wrong, but it can also cause a person to feel a sense of worthlessness, feeling ashamed and lonely. Many people are caught in the middle of having to be on disability or relying on a caretaker to provide extra care. This can be both costly and degrading, especially as an adult. The medical treatment of surgery and medication, both of which are very expensive can deliver the financial stress and burden on the entire support network. The emotional difficulties a patient bares often overcomes the desire to attend counseling or seek further support care (Sarafino & Smith, 2017). 

Spinal cord injuries can be mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually debilitating. Regardless of damage, there is a lot of time and financial obligation that goes into the care and treatment of someone who has a spinal cord injury. Patients have to learn a new normal of living, which some are not able to cope with. The same is for family members and caregivers to these patients. Coming to terms their loved one will never be the same is sometimes very difficult to handle. The rehabilitation process is long, difficult, expensive, and never guaranteed (Sarafino and Smith, 2017). Quadriplegics often face health problems such as kidney infections and often kidney failure due to constant infections of the bladder. Those who suffer from being a quadriplegic are often discriminated against and live with depression. Social support can often deteriorate, leaving their support network weak and challenging. They also have challenges with relationships, finding employment, chronic pain (which can lead to addiction to meds), financial burdens, and lack of resources to allow them to live independently (Sarafino & Smith, 2017).

Family, friends, and caregivers must learn to adapt to the new lifestyle of their loved one. The adjustments they endure can cause stress, emotional difficulties, financial burdens due to losing work to care for the injured, and the fact the injured can no longer bring in income. Stress within the relationship can become overwhelming while recovery happens. Sometimes the inability to have sex can cause tension and stress between partners. Making sure the house is accessible for a wheelchair can be both expensive, time consuming, and stressful. Not to mention making it possible to travel becomes difficult and demands proper planning, which can also be time consuming.

The list can go on and on, such as those who suffer from diabetesarthritisAlzheimer’s, and other chronic illnesses such as migraines. The entire support network endures level of stress, financial burdens, emotional difficulties, physically overwhelming, lifestyle changes that are hard to cope with, and sometimes death. When a loved one’s life chances, it affects the entire family.

Have a great week! This weeks reading material is full of informative material. (I took the weekend the read ahead. Ha!) 


Sarafino, E., & Smith, T. (2017). Health psychology: Biopsychosocial interactions (9thed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. ISBN-13: 9781119299486

The impact that a chronic illness can cause in the patient, caregiver, and their families can become physically and emotionally overwhelming. I’m going to speak from a very personal and close case. My husband’s granny who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I was able to witness how difficult it was not only for the diagnosed person (my husband grandmother), but for the caregiver and family members as well. It this case the caregiver was my mother-in-law who did a great job planning, organizing, supervising, coordinating, and attending for her own mother. This lasted a period of about ten years, from the first signs until she started to lose more and more of her cognitive function and show inability to do simple tasks and remember everyday things, up until her death when she was getting worse to the point of forgetting how to eat. In the early stages of the disease, I remember she had a lot of anger because she was brought from Guadalajara to the United States with lies and deceit, because she was already showing signs of dementia.

 The impact that this illness had in the beginning on the patient was bursts of verbal anger. She would often lash out for no reason. There wasn’t a trigger that could be pinned for the anger episodes. Afterwards in the ladder stages of the illness the impact was generally childlike behavior and attitude. She would act like a little girl and play with dolls and plush animals. There were also times when she old get sad and seem depressed.

 As far as for the caregiver, my mother-in-law, the impact of her mother’s illness was an overwhelming felling of responsibility. Even though she has 7 other siblings, no one was willing to take on such a difficult challenge. As time went by, the impact was also affecting her daily energy, as she was in her late 60s. It also affected her in her finances, for she wanted to make sure that her mother had all her needs met. It affected her emotionally as well, due to the fact that it was simply difficult to understand the illness as she witnessed her mother deteriorate as time went by. It was not an easy task not to take the insults personally and to forgo a social life.

 The family’s impact was similar to that of the caregivers, even though the time spent with the patient was not the same. When they would visit her there was a sense of frustration and sadness to see the deterioration in her health. There was also a notable preference of the patient towards the caregiver than with anyone else which impacted the family members with great sadness when they were either not recognized or simply ignored by the grandmother.

Chronic illnesses, diseases and cancer are all detrimental to the human body, mind and spirit. Most illnesses that are not acute, take on a toll to those suffering but also their loved ones. Longterm chronic illnesses can become “normal” and loved ones can develop a sense of homeostasis with their loved ones needs and care. Chronic illness can change the dynamic of a family unit and often times the family members become caretakers and take on more responsibilities to make up for their sick family member. This can lead to resentment and if a child is taking on this role, it can change the trajectory of their own life. The patient may undergo physical pain, depression, feelings of hopelessness, guilt and changes in the the physical sense that can alter their self-esteem. Family members may be put in difficult situations where they have to make life-changing decisions on behalf of their loved one and this can be extremely stressful. Communication is vital and everybody needs a support system in these matters. The patient and the caregivers. Things like therapy, groups, and relaxation techniques are great tools to distress and help care

Many cancers are associated with the same lifestyle choices such as, diet, exercise, alcohol consumption, and maintaining a proper body weight. Cancers such as esophageal, colon, breast, liver, ovarian, pancreas, and uterine all mention the importance of a healthy lifestyle to reduce your risk (Liebman, 2019). Maintaining a proper healthy weight has the ability to reduce the stress on your heart and give your body overall health. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and providing the body with oxygen-rich blood supply, and means of keeping your body active. Eating healthy foods gives your body all the nutrition to build healthy cells and repair the body when injured or sick. It also allows the body to build a strong immune system to fight bacteria and illnesses when you do get sick. Choosing not to smoke and staying away from secondhand smoke can reduce your chances of heart damage, as well as lung damage. The carcinogens found in cigarettes are known to be deadly to the body. Limiting alcohol can reduce your risk of cancers as well. The damage to kidneys and liver can occur causing cirrhosis, cancers and even death. We cannot stop from aging, which is a factor for many cancers such as prostate, breast, colon, and esophageal, but we can make better choices on how we live. Being proactive in our health can prevent cancers or perhaps get early diagnosis, so we have a better chance of survival after diagnosis. Our environment we live in also plays a factor in getting cancer. Working in a mining industry, rubber manufacturing building, Agriculture and forestry careers, or those who are exposed to carcinogens such as formaldehyde, arsenic, or carbon monoxide. People who have higher exposure to the suns UV light are also at higher risk, such as pilots and lifeguards. 

Having a family history of some cancers cause family members to be at higher risk of being diagnosed, such as colon cancer, breast cancer, pancreas, and prostate cancers (Sarafino & Smith, 2017). There are also some people who are born with mutations of the genes. It is possible that a mutation of the gene can make that gene stop working, and cause cancer. Again, living a healthy lifestyle and having a relationship with a primary doctor can reduce your chances of cancer, or could increase your risk of survival if you do get cancer (Karavasiloglou, Pestoni, Wanner, Faeh, & Rohrmann, (2019). Those who were diagnosed with cancer and maintained a healthy weight, maintained an exercise regiment, and ate a well-balanced diet had a less chance of mortality over those who did not life a healthy lifestyle with cancer (Karavasiloglou, Pestoni, Wanner, Faeh, & Rohrmann, (2019). Even if your family has a history of cancer, there are many ways to prevent it. Avoid risky behaviors, get regular care from a physician, eat a well-balanced diet (reduce red meat intake), stay away from tobaccos, be active and maintain a healthy weight.



Karavasiloglou, N., Pestoni, G., Wanner, M., Faeh, D., & Rohrmann, S. (2019). Healthy lifestyle is inversely associated with mortality in cancer survivors: Results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). PLoS ONE14(6), 1–11.

LIEBMAN, B. (2019). HOW TO LOWER YOUR RISK OF CANCER. (cover story). Nutrition Action Health Letter46(3), 3–7.

Sarafino, E., & Smith, T. (2017). Health psychology: Biopsychosocial interactions (9thed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. ISBN-13: 9781119299486

Lifestyle or behavior choices associated with cancer include smoking, diet, obesity, and physical activity (Sarafino & Smith, 2017). Some lifestyle choices can cause stress, which can also play a role in the development and course of cancer (Sarafino & Smith, 2017). People can prevent some cancers by having a balanced, nutritional diet, keep a healthy weight, and exercise at three to four times a week (Sarafino & Smith, 2017). If someone is smoking, completely stopping can begin to show improvement in the lungs. There are people that consider themselves sun worshippers, but too much sun can cause skin cancer. The way to prevent this type of cancer is to limit exposure to the sun’s UV rays, use a sun block with a high SPF, wear a wide-brim hat, and if possible, long sleeves and pants.


Sarafino, E., & Smith, T. (2017). Health psychology: Biopsychosocial interactions (9th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. ISBN-13: 9781119299486

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