Chronic diseases have been referred to as chronic illnesses, noncommunicable diseases, and degenerative diseases. They are generally characterized by uncertain etiology, multiple risk factors, a long latency period, a prolonged course of illness, noncontagious origin, functional impairment or disability, and incurability. In more general terms, a chronic disease can be defined as a disease that has a prolonged course, that does not resolve spontaneously, and for which a complete cure is rarely achieved.
Chronic diseases account for the overwhelming majority of deaths and disability in Minnesota. The following are links to Minnesota Department of Health Web sites that address chronic diseases.