The looming threat of chronic illness

For some reason, my blog doesn’t get too many troll comments. Maybe it’s because I don’t bang on about HAES that often or maybe I’m just a really likable person, but either way, troll comments are few and far between on Corpulent.

So I was a bit tickled this morning when I logged in and found one from ‘A Healthy Person’ (this may or may not be a pseudonym). After going on about tribal communities, genetics and science M/s A.H. Person gave me this pearl of wisdom:

[I]f you continue down the same path, chronic illness will befall you.

‘Chronic illness’ is thrown around a lot in an effort to scare people thin; so much so that I wonder whether people actually know what a chronic illness is.

‘Chronic’ describes the course of the illness. It does not hint at the cause and does not describe the severity. A chronic illness is a persistent and lasting medical condition (as opposed to an acute illness, which has a short course).

I’m aware of this because I already have a chronic illness; I’m asthmatic. In fact, I’m surrounded by people with chronic illnesses:

  • My brother, who has a PhD in Sports Science and works out multiple times a week, has asthma
  • The Boyfriend, who has a lean body, has asthma
  • My brother-in-law, who eats a better diet than anyone I know, has gout
  • My mother, who does weight training three times a week, has arthritis

The point of all this is not to diminish how challenging a chronic illness can be. I think I can speak for my family in saying that our conditions are a spectacular pain in the arse, but we’ve all learnt to manage them. What I am saying is that these chronic conditions affect many people for a variety of reasons. They can be the result of lifestyle, but they are also caused by our genes, our environment and sometimes just bad luck. Chronic illness is not something that solely “befalls” us fatties.

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19 Responses to “The looming threat of chronic illness”


  1. 1 papumorgado 16 April, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Hey! I really like your blog and tumblr and I really missed your posts!
    This thing about chronic illness is really a sensitive subject that people seem to enjoy relating with being fat.
    I’ve read something in a very interesting site that I recommend, More of me to love (very resourceful) and it seems that might be a correlation between fat and some diseases because probably the same genes that make the person fat are the ones that can trigger some kinds of illnesses.
    I’m not a doctor and I don’t really understand about it but I do know that some chronic diseases have nothing to do with weight, but even if they do, shaming people is the worst and least efficient way to deal with the matter.

  2. 2 lilacsigil 16 April, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Well said! And then, of course, there’s those of us whose fat and chronic illness are related, just as some people have lack of fat and chronic illness. None of this makes any difference to how we should be treated.

    Another frequent cause of chronic illness – which is certainly related to the way fat people are treated – is poverty and the concurrent lack of appropriate medical care. An acute condition can become a chronic condition, or a chronic condition can be badly managed and be far worse than it would otherwise have been.

  3. 4 winged 16 April, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Hmm. I guess I got epilepsy (my only current chronic illness) because I’m fat, then. OH WAIT THAT MAKES NO SENSE…

    Seriously, I can breathe better, walk further and do more now than when I was seriously concerned about losing weight, as I was in my teens.

  4. 5 wriggles 16 April, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    [I]f you continue down the same path, chronic illness will befall you.

    In places that are more in the know about this sort of thing; that’s called a curse.

    It’s occured for a while that this crisis is revealing a modern descent into occultism. It’s explaining it to me in a way that I never quite grasped before (like a lot of other things)

    I understand the thing to do is to return it to the person who sent it.

  5. 7 Bethamint 16 April, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Well said! So glad you’re back.

  6. 9 noceleryplease 16 April, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    I have a chronic illness too – it’s called “Being alive” – it takes us all out eventually!

  7. 12 Steph-honey 17 April, 2010 at 3:17 am

    My mother, who is rail thin, has hypertension and very high cholesterol. Proof that eating “thin” doesn’t mean eating healthy.

    My sister, who is also thin, has CFIDS-something that is attributed largely to “large” women. Funny, she’s NEVER been overweight.

    My daughter, who at 17 and 5’3″, weighs in at 130lbs, found out that she was technically “overweight” by the U.S. BMI charts. Funny, if you saw her picture you’d be shocked. She’s a size 6.

    At this point, I’m sick of it all. I lost weight, not because I was upset with how I looked, but because it WAS causing me to have more joint pain in the ankles and knees. Now, I’m STILL overweight, but I’m not in pain anymore, my husband and I both think I’m an attractive person, and I don’t much care what anyone else thinks. My doctor tried once to encourage me to lose that “last 30″ and I told him to bite it, and that’s been the end of the weight loss conversation.

    Trolls, begone!

  8. 14 Twistie 17 April, 2010 at 6:45 am

    Yeah, I know plenty of people with chronic conditions. My sister in law has asthma, my husband is inclined to gout and has typeII diabetes, I went to high school with a guy who had epilepsy, I’ve known dozens of people with arthritis over the years, one friend of mine has a heart condition, another fibromyalgia… the thing is these people came in all shapes and sizes, ate all sorts of ways, had every kind of exercise regimen or lack thereof I’ve ever heard of, and followed all sorts of philosophies of wellness. Didn’t change a thing. They still have to deal with those conditions.

    Funny, that.

  9. 15 Lydia 19 April, 2010 at 10:22 am

    ahh, I really missed this blog. please update frequently.

  10. 17 Sophie 23 April, 2010 at 1:19 am

    Hahaha “chronic illness will befall you”… DUN DUN DUN.
    I’ve had a “chronic illness” skin condition called psoriasis before I was fat and now.
    Funny, the skinny people in my life have all the acne, high blood pressure, colonitis, and depression.

  11. 18 Rose 1 May, 2010 at 9:05 am

    I have finally accepted that my big boobs, no hips and chicken legs are what make me the person I am. Someone said to me just the other day how is it that I am always bright and smiling. I did not even know that people saw me that way, I thought is was just my size.

  12. 19 Veronica 13 May, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Gotta love it, I have a chronic condition (genetic, degenerative) and I’m considered almost underweight by the BMI. Low weight does not equal health – they wouldn’t argue that a girl suffering from chronic anorexia was healthy would they?

    Also, well done for embracing your body and loving it no matter what. I’ve had 2 kids and I’m slowly working on loving myself for myself.


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