Chronic Diseases: Impacts and Prevention

Chronic diseases are long lasting conditions with persistent effects. This is a major burden globally, a person with a chronic illness has their life changed in so many ways that a person who is healthy cannot relate to or understand. (Epping-Jordan, J.A. et al, 2004). Major impacts effect the social, psychological, financial, recreational and occupational functioning of the person effected by this illness. It can be so catastrophic to an individual’s personal life and wellbeing; it has an effect in many ways as mentioned above and can leave an individual suffering in all aspects of their lives, it can have an effect on their relationships as well.

Chronic conditions have an effect on developing countries and first world countries such as Australia and it is on the increase year by year.

The number one cause of death in Australia is due to Chronic illnesses. Australians of ages between 45 and 64 have one or more chronic diseases” (The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre, 2019). There are major challenges for the health care system, which include the costs for treatment funding, research in the area and preventative measures. By making the budgets stricter and increasing costs in the provision of healthcare services will allow major issues and challenges to be better maintained including also patient health care. This is a problem as chronic illness’ trends show an increase in the future. This will cause the ability to access services to treat such issues become more extreme due to the financial expense and in shortage under health care. The increase in cost will follow the global trend as “the global chronic disease management market was valued at approximately USD 3.92 billion in 2018” and estimated to generate “10.3 billion USD by 2024” (Zion Market Research) Global Chronic Disease Management Market will reach USD 10.3 billion by 2024. Chronic illness and disability can have damaging, even catastrophic, socioeconomic effects on individuals and their households. In Australia in 2003-4, 2.1 million people received government disability and sickness related payments, including over 400,000 recipients of carer allowances, carer payments and spouse pensions paid to those caring for a spouse with illness. Furthermore, the number of people receiving these payments has increased steadily in recent years–a pattern observed across all Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, with disability and sickness benefit payments now accounting for a significant proportion of national income.


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World Health Organisation is a branch of the United Nations which co-ordinate with governments and partners globally to “attain health objectives by supporting national health policies and strategies”. Governed by the World Health Assembly which “determines the policies of the Organisation.” (“About WHO”, n.d).

The Chronic Care Model (CCM) identifies the essential elements of a health care system that encourage high-quality chronic disease care. These elements are the community, the health system, self-management support, delivery system design, decision support and clinical information systems. Evidence-based change concepts under each element, in combination, foster productive interactions between informed patients who take an active part in their care and providers with resources and expertise. Strong patient relationships and care are very consistent which assists in the care being more thorough and to be the approach to be more holistic.  (Anderson, Judith, 2019, p.200) This model is used in Australia.

ICCC contains eight elements, these are: These contain of:

Support a Paradigm Shift- this is created around the acute, episodic model which assists in solving the problem and managing patients’ needs with the limited resources, Manage the Political Environment – Policy making, and service planning happen in a political context is done in collaboration with any healthcare leaders, family members, organisations that represent the patient. Build Integrated Health Care – Integration includes liaising with inpatient, outpatient and pharmacy services and the outcome for this service is to enhance the health of an individual by minimising the less inefficiency and less frustrating experience for patients. Align Sectoral Policies for Health – Policies are developed to maximise health outcomes in an individual with a chronic disease. Use Health Care Personnel More Effectively- The healthcare personnel need more education on chronic diseases so that their skills are upskilled and align with the requirements for the healthcare needs of the patient. Centre Care on the Patient and Family – Lifestyle changes need to be implemented on the patient and their immediate family making them realise that their role is vital to understanding the disease and also educating them on it to ensure that they can manage the chronic condition well. Support Patients in their Communities – making the community aware of chronic diseases as this should be talked about in the wider community to allow awareness to spread. Prevention Emphasise – Teaching all patients about the preventative measures as most chronic diseases can be prevented with strategies for reducing onset and complications of the disease. (Polit, F Denise, 2017). There are eight priority areas, these are Arthritis, cancer control, cardiovascular health, diabetes mellitus, injury prevention and control, mental health and obesity, musculoskeletal conditions.

The mental health model is being implemented with the new framework containing the four A’s which are: awareness, Alternatives, access and anticipation.  This will assist with understanding an individual’s needs, struggles, triggers and assist with prevention to any risks that the individual maybe of at having. Alternatives will encompass of the support system to provide service and education and guidance on how to live in the society. Access focuses on the open communication and interdisciplinary teams to ensure that the correct holistic care is delivered. Anticipation is about understanding what an individual goes through, knowing the risk factors. And understanding their triggers and disease process. (McNaughton S.A, Bates, 2012)

Chronic disease has become the number one cause of deaths in this country, 90% of Australians have died from chronic illnesses in 2011. One of the causes that is not the leading cause of these deaths is mental illnesses, but it does have a vast effect on an individual’s health. The commonality of chronic diseases along with increased life expectancy places a heavy financial stress on Medicare. Whilst the “expenditure on Medicare is estimated to be $24.1 billion in 2018-19” the trend indicates more money will need to be attributed to Medicare as development of chronic disease is only increasing. We have a major issue in regard to rural Australia having access to medical care. In rural Australia, the population of elders and Aboriginals are both populations which needs support as “they experience a 20% increase in disease when compared to those living in major cities.” (Collegian,2019, p 409). Due to the rise in chronic diseases, access to services to healthcare are taking a toll on the financial shortage.

Continuum of chronic disease prevention and care interventions is what an individual fall on, it is divided into early detection, delayed detection and prevention. This assists in identifying the how an individual is managing their care plan for the chronic issue they are suffering from. Once this is identified it allows the healthcare professional to be able to educate the individual in developing a management plan for their issue and educate them on the prevention factor that can assist them in not having their condition escalate any further. For example, if an individual suffers from type 2 diabetes, we can get a management plan tailored to their needs including exercise regime and diet plan.

These following factors have a magnificent effect on the individual health. These are, behavioural risk factors the most known risk factors for many chronic conditions which are often a major focus for prevention strategies and interventions, some examples include smoking, poor diet and nutrition, consuming alcohol without limit, physical inactivity and/or cognitive inactivity. Another factor is Biomedical risk factors, these are related to the condition, which state or function of the body that leads to the development of chronic conditions. These effects of a single biomedical risk factor can be increased rapidly when additional biomedical risk factors or behavioural risk factors are both present, examples of this include high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, overweight or obesity, impaired glucose tolerance, stress, mental illness, trauma, or illness (communicable disease). Other factors are non-modifiable risk factors which include individual physical and psychological components, examples include age, sex, genetics or intergenerational influences. More factors that affect an individual’s health are physical environment determinates, these contain both the natural and built environment, these can impact on health in a subtle or obvious state, these can be short term or long term, some examples include UV exposure, air pollution, urban environment, or geographical location. Social and economic determinants, very difficult to control for an individual but can influence the way in which people live their lives. Some examples of these include beliefs, customs and culture, education and employment status. (“Department of Health | National Strategic Framework for Chronic Conditions”, 2018)

When a person is affected by a chronic disease, they may have more than just one which can affect many areas of the body and the mind. Conditions such as obesity and depression can affect a person in a way that they can be isolated from the rest of the community as this is how an individual feel. These issues also target an individual emotionally as the individual realises that these chronic diseases have limited them in enjoying family time, going put in the public, doing their everyday simple tasks. They will become more aware of what other issues such as COPD, cancer etc can do to their health and limit them in many normal day to day routines, All this hinders one’s mindset and emotional health as they are identified internally and societally as an outsider.

Chronic illness is having a very large impact on an individual’s life and the burden of the illness leads to depression and a real struggle for the person suffering from it.  Chronic condition is on the increase at an alarming rate here in Australia. By 2020 it is believed that Chronic conditions including injuries and mental illnesses will be the cause of the 78% healthcare issues in the developed countries. All chronic conditions require some degree of care management, as these conditions will not be eliminated permanently. This is a major worldwide challenge this century, Australia requires its healthcare leaders to alter the course by making decisions that will be in favour of positive changes in the healthcare system to aid in this situation. There are effective strategies already in the healthcare line to decrease the negative effect that this condition is having on our country but requires more research into this topic.  Also, as a nation we can educate the patients in regard to their disease and give them strength to be able to stay positive and put this positivity back into their lives so that they can once again live a full-fledged life without the fear of the disease. We need to have a population-based approach to this issue involving the individuals, communities and the total population in order to develop strategies to make the whole community become more aware of the impacts it can have on an individual and to have a positive attitude so that individuals suffering from the chronic illnesses have a positive mood which will assist in decreasing the depression, mental disorders and anxiety.