There is a wide array of chronic conditions. Their causes are many, and they affect men and women of all ages, races, and ethnicities. Some begin at birth, such as Down's Syndrome and spina bifida. Others, like arthritis, autism, and mental illness, emerge at later stages of a person's life. Conditions like spinal cord injuries and paralysis result from accidents and injuries. Some chronic illnesses are borne of infectious agents, including HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, and polio.
Although there are many different chronic conditions, they often affect people in very similar ways.