Chronic conditions are the leading cause of illness, disability and death in Australia. Common chronic conditions include cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Find out what we’re doing to prevent and manage chronic conditions in Australia.
This is our new health website
While we are updating our content, some of the links will take you back to our old website.
Chronic conditions in Australia
Chronic conditions range from minor conditions (e.g. short sightedness and minor hearing loss) to debilitating and restrictive complaints (e.g. musculoskeletal conditions) to potentially life‑threatening illnesses (e.g. cancer and coronary heart disease).
People with chronic conditions can die prematurely, have poorer quality of life and often have complex health needs.
Common chronic conditions include:
- cardiovascular disease
- lung and respiratory conditions (like asthma)
- musculoskeletal conditions (like arthritis and osteoporosis)
- mental health conditions
In 2017-18, the National Health Survey indicated that just under half (47.3%) of all Australians have one or more chronic conditions.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience much greater mortality and burden from chronic conditions than non-Indigenous Australians.
What we’re doing about chronic conditions
We develop programs and policies to support the prevention, management and care of chronic conditions. These include:
- the National Strategic Framework for Chronic Conditions
- the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS), which provides subsidies for patient care
- the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), which provides subsidies for a range of medicines used in the treatment of chronic conditions
- funding for research into chronic conditions through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Medical Research Future Fund
- the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme, which has a strong focus on the prevention, early detection and management of chronic conditions
- The Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023, which includes strategies and deliverables to address chronic conditions, including prevention, screening, early intervention and management