Like people, chronic conditions come in all shapes and sizes. From a minor inconvenience to in-your-face, life changing ailments, chronic conditions account for significant spending in the United States. It is fortunate that for many disorders, an individual may choose to make better life style choices resulting in improvement of the severity of the condition, or in some cases, eradication of the illness. Furthermore, chronic conditions and its consequences may be immediate or deferred, depending on the individual. In addition to lifestyle choices, technology offers opportunities to improve quality of life. A review of deferred and immediate consequences of chronic conditions, and well as the role of technology in seizure disorders, schizophrenia, and congestive heart failure will be explored.
I remember as a little girl hearing about how my Maw Maw (Grandmother) suffered from arthritis and diabetes before she died. Although it sounded very sad, I had a sense that was something that happened to other, unfortunate people. Now, here I am today, facing the reality that due to a strong family history, I stand a very real chance of developing diabetes, arthritis, and hypertension. This same scenario plays out hundreds of times per day, in hundreds of different ways, year after year. According to Christensen, Grossman, and Hwang (2009), “ninety million Americans currently have chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, and dementia” and demand a significant portion of healthcare dollars (p. 149). Furthermore, adding to the complexity of chronic conditions is the element of immediate and deferred consequences. Just as it sounds, immediate consequences of chronic conditions cause immediate discomfort to the patient, thus compliance to treatment regimens and lifestyle interventions are often high. Conversely, delayed consequences start small, mostly unnoticed, and then avalanche upon the patient and healthcare systems. Fortunately, thanks to research efforts and modern day science, technology is playing a role in helping healthcare consumer manage their conditions.
Of all the chronic conditions, I consider the seizure disorder, epilepsy, one of the cruelest. Its consequences are immediate, unpredictable, and a life alerting hindrance with great potential of jeopardizing the safety of the individual and the public. According to Lauder (2013), there are approximately “60 million people around the world living with epilepsy” and the impact on the person’s ability to function in society is substantial (para 3). Although there are oral medications that a person may take, they do not always eradicate the seizures and the side effects of the medications are difficult for many to tolerate. Fortunately, technology is...