A long-term illness or chronic health condition is any condition lasting six months or longer, such as asthma, arthritis, cancer, obesity, diabetes, chronic pain or heart disease. The incidence of many long-term illnesses and chronic conditions is increasing in Australia and the rest of the world due to a range of factors, including an ageing population and lifestyle issues such as smoking and poor diet.
Modern-day treatments also mean that people are living longer with diseases that previously caused premature death.
Many long-term illnesses and chronic conditions: are caused by a number of different health factors occurring at the same time
take some time to develop
last for a long time, often leading to other health problems.