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Rural Health Information Hub

Module 1: Introduction to Rural Chronic Disease Management

Chronic diseases are defined as conditions that last 1 year or more, can limit daily activities, and require ongoing medical attention. In the United States, chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke, and cancer are leading causes of death and disability. Chronic diseases can affect physical health, social well-being, and daily life. Chronic diseases can also have a significant economic impact on patients and the healthcare system, due to medical costs associated with hospitalizations, prescriptions, and healthcare visits.

This module provides an overview of chronic disease management and background on several leading chronic diseases common in rural areas such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, arthritis, chronic kidney disease, cancer, and obesity. It also presents information on the need for, and facilitators and barriers to, implementing chronic disease management programs in rural areas.

For general information on what to consider when starting a program, see Creating a Program: Where to Begin in the Rural Community Health Toolkit.

In this module: