Chronic Illness


Definition - What does Chronic Illness mean?

A chronic illness is a debilitating health condition including, but not limited to, the following: arthritis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), depression, heart disease, lung cancer, osteoporosis, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, spanning a range of diverse symptoms. The etiological implications of many chronic illnesses can impose functional impairments or lead to disabilities involving therapeutic interventions to help moderate the progression of the condition, hinging on the prognosis.

WorkplaceTesting explains Chronic Illness

Some chronic illnesses progress slowly, with a gradual development of symptoms, often requiring medical treatment to alleviate the severity, such as diabetes. However, other illnesses pose immediate health dangers such as heart disease or stroke. For many individuals, the diagnosis of a chronic illness can have comorbid repercussions incurred by stress due to the long-term adaptation of lifestyle changes necessary to cope with their condition against statistics for a full recovery. Consequently, individuals that struggle with chronic illnesses should build a rapport with doctors, join a support group, and rely on family and friends to bolster morale.

In the workplace, individuals might contend with notifying their employers of a chronic illness based on perceived stigmas where their capacity to meet essential job demands is otherwise compromised by their health condition. Depending on the circumstances, individuals must use discretion before relaying information to a supervisor and human resources (HR) personnel, leading to inadvertent blowback from existential biases and discrimination, especially from mental health issues that fall under chronic illnesses. Direct communication helps establish solidarity between the employer and employee about the gravity of chronic illnesses, independent of reasonable accommodations in a climate of health and safety to maintain efficiency and productivity among the workforce.

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