What is a Chronic Disease?

Get the Best Insurance Plan that fits for your Need
health checkup
Get a Quote for Medical Insurance


Health is the most valuable possession for every human being. Poor health can severely affect the quality of our lives. Chronic diseases that persist for longer durations require ongoing medical care and special supervision. Some of these health conditions require lifelong care and may impose a heavy financial burden on patients and their families.

The future is always uncertain. Despite our best efforts, it may not be possible to prevent the onset of such diseases. But what you can do is buy a health insurance policy that covers all financial expenses of hospitalization and medical treatments. However, you must know everything about chronic diseases before signing up for a health insurance plan.

What is a a Chronic Disease?

A chronic illness is a health condition that typically lasts beyond a year. Such a disease often requires continuing medical treatment and may restrict a person’s regular activities. 

The list of chronic diseases includes diabetes, stroke, cancer, heart disease, kidney failure, etc. Without timely intervention and proper care, most of these diseases can be life-threatening for an individual.

Importance of Understanding Chronic Diseases

Chronic diseases are the major causes of disability and death worldwide. Proper understanding of chronic diseases is essential for several reasons:


Never forget the adage that prevention is always better than cure. A proper understanding of chronic diseases helps you adopt a healthy lifestyle and take preventive measures to ward them off.

Early Detection

The best medical treatment cannot save lives if it is not availed on time. Knowledge about chronic illnesses, their symptoms, and risk factors can help you detect them at an early stage. The medical intervention is effective, and future complications can be avoided with the early detection of chronic diseases.

Cost Savings

Most chronic diseases require advanced healthcare facilities for treatment. Complex surgeries, diagnostic procedures, and life-long medication entail huge financial expenses. The inability to work can affect the patient’s income and career prospects. However, prevention and early detection of chronic diseases can limit this ordeal and result in significant cost savings.

Better Quality of Life

Loss of physical health eventually affects your mental health, too. Patients suffering from certain chronic diseases find it extremely tough to carry out their daily activities. A sound knowledge of these medical conditions can help you deal with them effectively and improve the overall quality of life.

List of Chronic Diseases

Certain chronic health conditions are common in the UAE and across the world. The list of such chronic diseases is given below in alphabetical order.

Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia





Cardiovascular (Heart) Diseases

Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Diabetes (Type 2)


Genetic Disorders


Hyperlipidemia (High Cholesterol)

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)


Oral Diseases


Respiratory (Lung) Diseases


Does Health Insurance Cover Chronic Conditions?

Under the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) regulations, an insurance company cannot refuse to provide medical coverage for chronic health conditions. However, the insurer may impose a suitable waiting period to provide coverage to people suffering from chronic diseases.

The typical waiting period to cover chronic conditions or other pre-existing diseases is six months from the date of purchasing the policy. The policyholders cannot file any insurance claim in respect of such diseases during this period.


Policyholders who wish to avoid the waiting period clause in health insurance can approach private insurers. Many of these companies offer health insurance plans without any waiting period. The insurance coverage for chronic diseases begins from the date of purchasing the policy. However, the premium payable for such plans is relatively higher than a regular one with a waiting period.

What are the Common Symptoms of Chronic Diseases?

Chronic diseases cover a wide range of health conditions with specific symptoms. Though they vary across diseases, the general set of symptoms linked to chronic conditions are as follows:


Physical pain is common for orthopaedic conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis

Weakness & Fatigue

A general sense of weakness and persistent fatigue is usually found in patients suffering from chronic diseases

Difficulty in Breathing

Patients suffering from asthma, COPD, or heart disease generally experience shortness or difficulty in normal breathing.

Weight Loss or Gain

Sudden and unexplained weight changes are usually seen among diabetes, thyroid, and cancer patients.


Patients suffering from chronic diseases may face difficulty in sleeping. Their regular sleep pattern can also get disrupted due to pain, weakness, and medication.

Lower Immunity

Chronic conditions weaken the immune system and render the patients more vulnerable to infections


The other symptoms of chronic diseases include recurring cough, digestive disorders, and poor mental health. People affected by neurological diseases may experience memory loss and have difficulty concentrating.

What are the Common Causes of Chronic Diseases?

A host of factors can lead to chronic health conditions in individuals. The most common causes of chronic diseases are as follows:

Lifestyle choices such as bad diet, lack of physical activity, and poor sleeping habits

Excessive smoking, alcohol consumption, and substance abuse

Hereditary factors or certain genetic predispositions can enhance the risk factors for chronic diseases.

Heavy physical strain or mental stress

Severe environmental pollution or working under hazardous conditions with constant exposure to chemicals and toxins

Other factors, such as hormonal imbalance, congenital disorders, and advanced age, can increase the risk of chronic diseases.

How Can I Prevent Chronic Diseases?

You can prevent chronic diseases by addressing the causes and taking suitable remedial measures. The following suggestions may be helpful in this regard.

Make healthy diet choices. Eat healthy and nutritious food. Consult a nutritionist to chart a customized diet plan for your body type, age, and activity levels.

Keep yourself physically active. Exercise for at least an hour every day. Do not compromise on your sleep. Get sound sleep for about 7 hours every day.

Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Stay away from narcotic substances.

Meditation and deep breathing exercises can help you alleviate stress and anxiety.

Regular health screening is recommended, especially if you have a family history of chronic diseases.

Stay joyous and cheerful always. Take care to avoid negative emotions such as anger, hate, jealousy, regret, and resentment.

Frequently Asked Questions on Chronic Diseases

Chronic diseases are often long-lasting and require effective long-term care. Chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, etc., are life-threatening and may turn fatal. A proper understanding of these diseases helps in providing the right medical care on time and saving precious lives.

Nothing can be 100% certain in an uncertain world. However, healthy lifestyle choices, good habits, self-care, and a peaceful mind go a long way toward preventing chronic diseases.

Yes. Most insurance companies do provide coverage for chronic diseases. However, there may be a waiting period clause that requires you to wait for at least six months to claim the benefits of medical insurance. Another option is to pay a higher premium to get the waiting period waived. Please contact your insurance provider for more details.