What is Chronic Disease?

Chronic diseases are defined as conditions that last 1 year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily life or both (CDC). Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading cause of death in the United States. Many chronic diseases are caused by risk behaviors such as:

  • Tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke,
  • Poor nutrition,
  • Physical inactivity,
  • Excessive alcohol use,
  • And more


Chronic Disease Prevention

Don’t Smoke

If you don’t smoke or vape, don’t start! By not smoking or vaping you are lowering your risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and lung disease. If you smoke or vape, take the first step and call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for FREE support.

How to Quit Tobacco: There are many ways to quit tobacco. This site can help you find free and trusted resources for your unique situation.

Quit Vaping (Teens): Quitting can be tough! This site provides resources to quit vaping and stay vape-free.

Prevent Kids from Using Tobacco: Youth use of tobacco products in any form is unsafe, regardless of whether it is smoked, smokeless, or electronic. This site can give you more information and tips to prevent youth tobacco use.

Eat Healthy 

Eating healthy helps prevent, delay, and manage heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Add color to your plate! A balanced, healthy diet includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy products and limits added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.

My Plate: This plan can help you choose healthy foods and amounts that are right for you. My Plate Tracker provides an assessment of your food intake and physical activity level.

CDC Healthy Weight: This site has tips for healthy eating, preventing weight gain, physical activity for all ages, tips for parents, recipes, and more.

Prescription for Health: A fruit and vegetable prescription program offered in Livingston County to support health behaviors and increase fruit and vegetable intake. This site will provide program requirements and information.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program: A federal health and nutrition program that helps pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children eat well and stay healthy. WIC provides nutrition education and counseling, breastfeeding support, and resources. Enrollment is based upon income and nutritional needs.

Be Active

Regular physical activity can help you prevent, delay, or manage chronic diseases. Balance a variety of physical activities throughout the week and try to get at least 150 minutes in each week.

If getting the recommended physical activity is hard due to current chronic disease conditions or disabilities, talk to your healthcare provider about different ways to engage in physical activity.

Adding Physical Activity to Your Life: Consistency can be difficult. The CDC has laid out multiple ways to balance a working and active lifestyle.

The Basics: Physical activity can make you feel better, function better, and sleep better! Learn more about physical activity benefits and what activities are best for different groups.


Avoid Drinking Too Much Alcohol

Over time, excessive drinking can lead to high blood pressure, various cancers, heart disease, stroke, and liver disease. Avoiding or reducing alcohol intake can reduce these health risks.

Alcohol Use and Your Health: Understanding how much alcohol is in your drinks can help you make smarter choices for your health. Use this site to understand what excessive drinking is and what the Dietary Guideline for Americans recommends.

Why Drinking Less Matters: Binge drinking puts you at risk of short- and long-term health problems. These problems include hangovers, injuries, overdoses, alcohol use disorder, heart and liver disease, and cancer. Use the Alcohol Screening Tool on this page to make a plan to drink less.

Need help? Click here to access the Livingston County Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Resource Guide.

Complete Health Screenings and Gather Family Health History

Routine preventative healthcare can help you stay well and catch problems early, helping you live a longer and healthier life!

Prediabetes and Diabetes Testing: Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in the United States. This website shows the signs and testing process for diabetes.

Get Enough Sleep

Not getting enough sleep has been linked to the development and poor management of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. Adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep daily.

Sleep and Chronic Disease: This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpage breaks down how sleep can impact and cause specific chronic diseases.

How Much Sleep Do I Need: How much sleep you need changes as you age. Use this easy-to-read chart to make the best sleep schedule for you.

Take Care of Your Teeth 

Oral diseases—which range from cavities and gum disease to oral cancer—cause pain and disability for millions of Americans. To help prevent these problems, visit your dentist at least once a year, and practice good oral hygiene.

Oral Health: This link will take you to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services oral health resource page.

Oral Health Directory of Michigan: This Michigan county directory identifies dental safety-net resources. The resources may be low-cost clinics or free clinics.

Make Healthy Choices in School and at Work

By making healthy behaviors part of your daily life, you can prevent conditions such as high blood pressure or obesity, which raise your risk of developing the most common and serious chronic diseases. Learn more about healthy actions you or your loved ones can take.

Promoting Health Behaviors: Educating your children on the importance of making health choices is impertinent. This webpage can help guide you through health education with a school age kid.

Workplace Safety: When you go out to earn a living you want to know you can do so safely. Click the links to learn more about hazards you might encounter in the workplace, and how to reduce your risk.

Common Chronic Diseases

Six in ten adults in the United States have a chronic disease and four in ten have two or more chronic diseases. Learn more about common chronic diseases below.


Arthritis is a leading cause of disability in the United States, and it limits the movement of more than one million adults in Michigan.

Common Types of Arthritis: There are over 100 different types of arthritis diseases.

Risk Factors: Some behaviors and characteristics, called risk factors, increase an adult’s likelihood of getting some types of arthritis or making it worse. Learn about known risk factors and what you can do to lower your risk of developing arthritis at this link.

Blood Pressure

High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke. Which is two leading causes of death for Americans. High blood pressure is also very common. Tens of millions of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, and many do not have it under control.

Prevent High Blood Pressure: By following these healthy lifestyle tips, you can help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range. Preventing high blood pressure, can lower your risk of developing further chronic diseases.


There are many types of cancer. Some cancers can be prevented, reduce risk by making healthy choices like keeping a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco, limiting the amount of alcohol you drink, and protecting your skin.

The Cancer Prevention and Control: This link through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has multiple great resources for different types of cancer.

How to Prevent Cancer or Find It Early: You can lower your risk of getting cancer by understanding screenings, vaccinations, family history, and making health choices. Learn more about how to lower your risk of getting cancer, and the next steps.


Almost 2 in 5 adults in the United States have high cholesterol. Too much cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death in the United States.

Prevent and Manage High Cholesterol: No matter your age, you can take steps each day to keep your cholesterol levels in a healthy range. You can help prevent and manage high cholesterol by learning the health choices on this webpage.

Know Your Risk for High Cholesterol: Certain health conditions, your lifestyle, and your family history can raise your risk for high cholesterol. These are called “risk factors.” You can’t control some of these risk factors, such as your age or your family history. But you can take steps to lower your risk for high cholesterol by changing things you can control


Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. You can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes with proven lifestyle changes.

Prevent Type 2 Diabetes: You can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes with proven, achievable lifestyle changes—such as losing a small amount of weight and getting more physically active—even if you’re at high risk. Visit this webpage to find out about CDC’s lifestyle change program and how you can join.

Diabetes-Friendly Recipes: Take out the guess work of what to eat and cook! Try approved American Diabetes Association recipes from nutrition experts.

Heart Disease

Cardiovascular disease is a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels, such as heart disease, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism.

Heart Disease: This site provides information about heart disease, risk factors, and how to prevent heart disease.

Save lives: Learn how to perform CPR to help someone experiencing cardiac arrest and increase their chance of survival.

Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease is a condition in which the kidneys are damaged and cannot filter blood as well as they should.

Chronic Kidney Disease Prevention and Risk Management: To keep healthy kidneys, it is important to control those risk factors for CKD that can be modified. This page can help manage and assess risk factors you may have.

Chronic Kidney Disease Treatment and Support: Learn more about treatments for kidney failure and how to find additional support.


Obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. A healthy diet and routine physical activity help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight starting at an early age and continuing throughout life.

Divisions of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity: CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO) leads our nation’s efforts to prevent chronic diseases by promoting good nutrition, regular physical activity, and a healthy weight.

Overweight and Obesity Basics: Many factors can contribute to excess weight gain including eating patterns, physical activity levels, and sleep routines. Review this page to better understand causes of obesity.



Stroke is a leading cause of death in the United States and is a major cause of serious disability for adults. It is also preventable and treatable.

Warning Signs of a Stroke: Learn how to act FAST and recognize the signs of a stroke.

Know your Risks for Stroke: Anyone can have a stroke at any age. But certain things can increase your chances of having a stroke. The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from a stroke is to understand your risk and this webpage can help you do so.

Last Modified June 7, 2024

Livingston County Health Department Logo
Matt Bolang

Matt Bolang
Health Officer


(517) 546-9850


Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Closed County Holidays


2300 E Grand River Ave
Suite 102
Howell, MI 48843


(517) 546-6995