Chronic disease in a nutshell
We talk a lot about chronic disease here at Core – our new Better Health Management initiative is based on it. So this blog is to help understand what chronic disease actually is, and how it develops.
What is chronic disease?
Besides being the leading cause of death and disability in Australia, and the most common and costly health problem, chronic diseases are among the most preventable diseases and most can be effectively controlled.
The official definition of chronic disease is “an illness that is prolonged in duration, does not often resolve spontaneously, and is rarely cured completely. Chronic diseases are complex and varied in terms of their nature, how they are caused and the extent of their impact on the community.” (The Department of Health – Australian Government)
There are 12 major chronic conditions that are a significant burden in terms of morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs in Australia, and these are:
- Coronary heart disease
- Lung cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Type 2 diabetes
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Chronic kidney disease
- Oral disease
There are others of course, but this is quite a list on its own.
How does chronic disease develop?
A broad range of risk factors have been identified – demographic, behavioural, biomedical, genetic, environmental, social and among others. (How to step over the sickness hump)
However the common modifiable risk factors include tobacco smoking, alcohol, excess weight, lack of physical activity and poor diet.
The difference between acute and chronic disease
An acute disease is a disease with a rapid onset &/or short course (often less than 1 month). This could be anything from a broken bone, to an infection, or asthma attack. It can also be used to distinguish a disease from the chronic form such as acute leukaemia and chronic leukaemia, or highlight the sudden onset of a disease such as acute myocardial infarction.
There’s quite a bit involved, so if you have any questions or concerns please contact us – we’re here to help for the long term.