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Chronic Disease

A chronic disease, such as cancer,  heart disease, and diabetes,  is a disease that is long-lasting or recurrent.  Chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. They account for 70% of all deaths in the U.S., which is 1.7 million each year. These diseases also cause major limitations in daily living for almost 1 out of 10 Americans or about 25 million people. 

Although common and costly, many chronic diseases are also preventable. Many chronic diseases are linked to lifestyle choices that are within your own hands to change. Eating nutritious foods, becoming more physically active and avoiding tobacco can help keep you from developing many of these diseases and conditions. Even if you already have diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, or another chronic condition, eating more healthful food and getting more exercise, whether it's a brisk walk, a bike ride, a jog or a swim, can help you better manage your illness, avoid complications and prolong your life.


Cancer is a group of more than 100 different diseases that are due to abnormal growth of body cells. The human body is made up of billions of tiny cells that reproduce themselves by dividing. Through this normal process of cell division, the growth and repair of body tissue takes place.

When a cell begins dividing irregularly, masses known as tumors can form.

Tumors may be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). A malignant tumor, or cancer, can invade nearby tissues and organs. It can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body forming other tumors. The rate of growth varies. Some cancers grow rapidly; others may grow slowly over a period of many years.

Some cancers are easily curable. However, others are more difficult to cure by the time they are first diagnosed, particularly if the tumor has grown substantially.

A person's cancer risk can be reduced by receiving regular medical care, avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol use, avoiding excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun and tanning beds, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, and being physically active.

Vaccines also help reduce cancer risk. The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine helps prevent most cervical cancers and some vaginal and vulvar cancers, and the hepatitis B vaccine can help reduce liver cancer risk. Making cancer screening, information, and referral services available and accessible to all Americans can reduce cancer incidence and deaths.

To be connected to free breast, cervical, colorectal cancer screening, diagnostic, treatment and support services for eligible Hamilton County residents contact:

Glens Falls Hospital Cancer Services Program of Warren, Hamilton and Washington Counties

Phone: (800) 882-0121 - Toll Free

Breast, Cervical, and Colorectal Cancer Screening: Eligible clients are able to receive clinical breast exams, mammograms, Pap tests, and Colorectal cancer screening through fecal tests. Clients receiving positive screening tests also receive diagnostic testing and are referred to treatment if needed. Eligible clients are also enrolled in the Medicaid Cancer Treatment Program for Medicaid coverage for the duration of their breast, cervical, colorectal or prostate cancer treatment.

Heart Disease or Cardiovascular Disease

The term "heart disease" refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type of heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease, which affects the blood flow to the heart. Decreased blood flow can cause a heart attack. You can greatly reduce your risk for CAD through lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication

CAD is caused by plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart (called coronary arteries) and other parts of the body. Plaque is made up of deposits of cholesterol and other substances in the artery. Plaque buildup causes the inside of the arteries to narrow over time, which could partially or totally block the blood flow. This process is called atherosclerosis.

Too much plaque buildup and narrowed artery walls can make it harder for blood to flow through your body. When your heart muscle doesn’t get enough blood, you may have chest pain or discomfort, called angina. Angina is the most common symptom of CAD.

Over time, CAD can weaken the heart muscle. This may lead to heart failure, a serious condition where the heart can’t pump blood the way that it should. An irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, also can develop.

For additional Information on CAD and other related heart conditions:

CDC Resources

New York State Department of Health


Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not make any insulin or can't use the insulin it does make as well as it should. Insulin is a hormone made in the body. It helps glucose (sugar) from food enter the cells where it can be used to give the body energy. Without insulin, glucose remains in the blood stream and cannot be used for energy by the cells. Over time, having too much glucose in the blood can cause many health problems.

Causes of Type 1 Diabetes

In type 1 diabetes, the body no longer makes insulin because the body's own immune system has attacked and destroyed the cells where insulin is made. The cause of this isn't entirely clear but it may include genetic risk factors and environmental factors. One theory is that type 1 diabetes may occur after having a specific virus.

People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day to live. There is no known way to prevent or cure type 1 diabetes, but it can be controlled by keeping blood glucose (sugar) levels within a normal range.

Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn't make enough insulin or can't use its own insulin as well as it should. The risk of having type 2 diabetes increases as a person gets older. 

Go to to learn more and to take the diabetes risk test. 

More Information:

For more information on other chronic diesease such as Arthritis, Alzheimers Disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Obesity, Osteoperorsis and more please visit the New York State Department of Health Chronic Disease Page.