Almost half of Australians live with chronic disease



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Chronic health problems are the leading cause of ill health and death in Australia, but they also have a major impact on other aspects of people’s lives. A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) is gathering data on the well-being of working-age Australians with chronic illnesses.

The report, Life and Work Experiences of Australians with Chronic Diseases, examines how chronically ill people aged 15 to 64 fared before 2020, providing background information for further research. It also takes an in-depth look at the factors associated with poor health in mature working-age Australians (45-64) living with chronic illnesses.

“It is estimated that around 47% of Australians suffer from at least one chronic health problem, such as arthritis, asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease and mental and behavioral disorders,” the spokesperson said. from the IAHW, Katherine Faulks.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Survey show that in 2017-2018, Australians of working age (15-64 years) living with chronic illnesses compared to those without chronic illnesses were:

  • less likely to be employed full or part time, 71% vs. 80%
  • more likely to receive a government pension or allowance, 18% vs. 7%
  • more likely to live outside major urban centers, 29% vs. 23%.

“More than a quarter (26%) of 45 to 64 year olds with chronic conditions self rated their health as poor, compared to 16% of 15 to 44 year olds,” said Faulks.

“Among mature working-age Australians with chronic illnesses, individual measures of socio-economic position such as family household composition, home ownership and education have been shown to be important factors in their likelihood of report poor self-rated health.

“Mature working-age Australians with chronic diseases were more likely to report poor health if they had any of the following characteristics: three or more types of chronic disease; any activity limitation or disability; were men; were tenants; lived alone; had no higher education qualification. “

The pandemic has affected the lives of all Australians, but many people with chronic illnesses have faced special challenges. For example, people with chronic illnesses are at greater risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19 than those who do not.

As Australians with chronic illnesses are more likely to live alone, many may have been at greater risk of experiencing social isolation and loneliness when containment measures and other measures limiting social interactions were in place. More research is needed to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on labor market participation among mature working-age people with chronic diseases.

Future research into the experiences of working-age Australians with chronic illnesses may also focus on specific groups, such as Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders with chronic illnesses.

Seniors are reluctant to seek help with mental health issues

More information:
Life and Work Experiences of Australians with Chronic Diseases.… c-conditions / summary

Provided by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)

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