Library of Resources for Chronic Diseases and Related Conditions

Effective Health Care Program

The AHRQ Library of Resources for Chronic Diseases and Related Conditions offers important research updates and educational information to help with the management of diseases and conditions.

Chronic diseases are the most prevalent health care problems in the United States, with nearly half (45 percent) of all Americans reporting at least one chronic illness.1 Many chronic diseases are lifelong, and their impact lessens the quality of life not only of those living with the diseases, but also of family members, caregivers, and others. More than two-thirds of all deaths are caused by one or more of the most common chronic diseases,2 including:

Picture of female clinician speaking with a male patient

Breathing Conditions

This category includes diseases such as sleep apnea, cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other common chronic lung diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma, and bronchiectasis. In all cases, damage or blockage of the airways interferes with the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs.

Resources for Clinicians

Comparative Effectiveness Reviews:


Clinician Research Summaries:

Cover of the clinician summary “Noninvasive Positive-Pressure Ventilation (NPPV) for Acute Respiratory Failure”

CME/CE Activities:

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Resources for Patients

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Cancer

Cancer is a term for a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. Cancers are described based on the origin of the tumor, including:

  • Carcinoma: Cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs, for example, breast, prostate, lung, pancreas, and colon
  • Sarcoma: Cancer that begins in the muscle, fat, fibrous tissue, blood vessels, or other supporting tissue of the body 
  • Lymphoma and leukemia: Cancers that begin in blood cells
  • Germ cell tumor: A type of tumor that begins in the cells that give rise to sperm or eggs, most often present in the testicle or the ovary
  • Blastoma: A type of tumor that originates from precursor cells or blasts (immature or embryonic tissue)3

Resources for Clinicians

Comparative Effectiveness Reviews:

Other Research Reports:

Clinician Research Summaries:

CME/CE Activities:

Slide Library:

Resources for Patients

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Patient Decision Aids:

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Developmental Delays, ADHD, and Autism

Developmental delays may be caused by conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness, and autism, characterized by difficulty with social interactions and communication.

Resources for Clinicians

Comparative Effectiveness Reviews:

Other Research Reports:

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Resources for Consumers

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Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus, often referred to simply as diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which there are high levels of sugar in the blood, either because the body does not produce enough insulin or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. There are three main types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.

Resources for Clinicians

Comparative Effectiveness Reviews:

Other Research Reports:

Clinician Research Summaries:

CME/CE Activities:

Slide Library:

Webcasts:

Resources for Patients

Patient Treatment Summaries:

Podcasts:

English

Spanish

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Digestive System Conditions

Chronic disorders and diseases of the digestive system such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD, also known as acid reflux disease), ulcers, Crohn's disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Resources for Clinicians

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Heart and Blood Vessel Conditions

A variety of diseases can affect the heart and blood vessels, such as:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Heart failure
  • Hypertensive heart disease
  • Inflammatory heart disease

Resources for Clinicians

Comparative Effectiveness Reviews:

Clinician Research Summaries:

CME/CE Activities:

Slide Library:

Webcasts:

Resources for Patients

Patient Treatment Summaries:

 Cover of the consumer summary “Measuring Your Blood Pressure at Home” with a picture of a woman taking her own blood pressure


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Mental Health

Chronic mental health issues, such as depression and schizophrenia, can be debilitating for those who experience them and distressing for family members and caregivers. While the exact cause of these diseases remains unclear, it is thought that a combination of neurotransmitter imbalances plus genetic predisposition may contribute.

Resources for Clinicians

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Muscle, Bone, and Joint Conditions

Rheumatic or musculoskeletal conditions are painful conditions usually caused by inflammation, swelling, and pain in the joints or muscles and comprise more than 150 diseases and syndromes.4 Conditions with the greatest impact on society include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis.

Resources for Clinicians

Comparative Effectiveness Reviews:

Other Research Reports:

Clinician Research Summaries:

CME/CE Activities:

Slide Library:

Resources for Patients

Patient Treatment Summaries:

 Cover of the consumer summary “Reducing the Risk of Bone Fracture” with a picture of a woman exercising

Patient Decision Aids:

Podcasts:

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Obesity (a related condition)

During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States and rates remain high. More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7 percent) and approximately 17 percent (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese.5

Resources for Clinicians

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Resources for Patients

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Renal Disease

The main function of the kidneys is to remove wastes and excess water from the body. Chronic kidney disease is the slow loss of kidney function over time and leads to a buildup of fluid and waste products in the body. 6 Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two most common causes of kidney disease.

Kidney stone disease is among the most painful and prevalent urological disorders.  More than a million kidney stone cases are diagnosed each year with an estimated 10 percent of Americans destined to suffer from kidney stones at some point in their lives. 7

 

Resources for Clinicians

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AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program is a leading resource for evidence-based, comparative effectiveness research on heart disease. AHRQ is providing this library of resources for health professionals and patients to help them compare and discuss treatment options in order to make more informed decisions and improve the quality of their health care. These resources are the latest in a series of AHRQ's growing library of free English- and Spanish-language publications that review the scientific evidence on various health conditions so patients and clinicians can work together to learn more about the benefits and risks of different treatment options.

These free AHRQ resources can be downloaded from this site or they can be ordered by contacting the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse at AHRQPubs@ahrq.hhs.gov or at 1-800-358-9295. When ordering, use the publication number and the code AHRQ C-01, which will expedite the ordering process.

  1. Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion. August 2012. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/overview/index.htm
  2. ibid.
  3. NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms. February 2011. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. www.cancer.gov/dictionary 
  4. Rheumatoid Arthritis Health Center. 2013. WebMD. www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/an-overview-of-rheumatic-diseases
  5. Overweight and Obesity. April 2012. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/facts.html
  6. Chronic Kidney Disease. February 2013. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD.www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000471.htm
  7. Kidney and Uretal Stones. April 13. Urology Care Foundation. www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=148

 

Current as of August 2014
Internet Citation: Library of Resources for Chronic Diseases and Related Conditions: Effective Health Care Program. August 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/clinicians-providers/ehclibrary/chronic/index.html