Chronic Diseases

Chronic diseases are diseases that persist for more than one year and require medical intervention. Chronic conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, are major causes of death. These conditions are progressive and get worse with time. It is important to manage these conditions to prevent or delay their progression, reduce symptoms, and improve quality of life.

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  • Diabetes: It is a chronic condition characterized by an increased level of sugar in the blood. The condition occurs when the body is unable to produce enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) or when insulin is not effectively used by the cells (type 2 diabetes). Uncontrolled diabetes for a prolonged period increases the risk of several complications, such as neuropathy (disease of nerves), retinopathy (disease of the retina), and nephropathy (disease of kidneys).
  • Hypertension: Hypertension is characterized by high blood pressure in the arteries. Patients with high blood pressure have a consistently high force pushing the blood against arteries. Uncontrolled hypertension elevates the risk of heart attack or stroke, heart failure, aneurysms, metabolic syndrome, eye problems, altered memory and understanding, dementia, and kidney problems.
  • Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome: Obesity, characterized by a high amount of body fat, is a risk factor for several other diseases. The risk factors for obesity include family inheritance, environmental factors, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, certain medications, underlying diseases, and socio-economic factors Obesity enhances the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart diseases and strokes, sleep apnea, digestive problems, osteoarthritis, and certain types of cancer.
  • Thyroid Disorders: The thyroid gland produces several hormones that play an important role in maintaining the overall health of the body. Thyroid disorders occur when there are alterations in the production of these hormones. types of thyroid disorders include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and thyroiditis. The management options for hyperthyroidism include antithyroid drugs, beta-blockers, radioactive iodine, and surgery. Hypothyroidism is managed with thyroid replacement drugs.
  • Anemia and Nutritional Disorders: The most common causes of anemia include iron, vitamin B12, folate, and vitamin A deficiencies. Nutritional disorders include disorders related to the absorption and digestion of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It also involves metal malabsorption and growth problems.
  • Arthritis and Autoimmune Disorders: Arthritis is characterized by swelling, inflammation, and tenderness in one or more joints. The two most common types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Autoimmune disorders are disorders in which the immune system attacks its own body cells and damages them. The autoimmune diseases are rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, systemic lupus erythematosus, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, Grave's disease, and myasthenia gravis.
  • COPD, Allergy, Asthma: Several pulmonary diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma, are chronic diseases that affect the quality of life. COPD is an inflammatory lung disease consisting of chronic bronchitis and emphysema. People with asthma have narrow air passages with excessive mucus, making breathing difficult. Some people suffer from chronic allergies and require continuous management.


Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, occurs when the force of blood against artery walls is consistently too high. Causes include genetic factors, unhealthy lifestyle habits, and certain medical conditions.

Obesity refers to excessive body weight due to an accumulation of fat, while metabolic syndrome encompasses a cluster of conditions including obesity, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar levels, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Lifestyle modifications such as a balanced diet and regular exercise play key roles in managing these conditions.

  • Thyroid disorders involve abnormalities in thyroid hormone production that affect metabolism regulation.
  • Hypothyroidism: Underactive thyroid leading to decreased hormone production.
  • Hyperthyroidism: Overactive thyroid resulting in excess hormone production.

Proper diagnosis and treatment are essential for maintaining hormonal balance.

  • Anemia refers to a deficiency of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the bloodstream, leading to reduced oxygen-carrying capacity.
  • Nutritional disorders arise from imbalances or deficiencies in essential nutrients required for proper bodily function.
  • A well-rounded diet with adequate iron intake helps prevent anemia while ensuring overall nutritional needs are met.

Some of the risk factors for developing chronic diseases are:

  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Excessive smoking
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Persistent high blood pressure
  • Overweight
  • High level of cholesterol

Chronic diseases are long-term conditions. These diseases are generally not permanently cured but effectively managed through appropriate treatment. Patients with uncontrolled chronic disease experience symptoms frequently that significantly affect their quality of life. Complications with poorly managed diseases shorten the life expectancy of patients.

Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high blood sugar levels due to the body's inability to produce or effectively use insulin. It can lead to various complications if not managed properly.