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What is a chronic condition?

The World Health Organization defines chronic conditions as any ongoing or recurring health issue that has a significant impact on the lives of a person and/or their family, or other carers. 'These will include conditions such as chronic pain, asthma, arthritis, coronary vascular disease, cancer, anxiety, depression, diabetes, alcohol and drug dependency. Characteristics of chronic conditions: Complex causes

Multiple Risk factors Undiagnosed for long periods Prolonged course of illness Impacts ability to function; level of disability

Most chronic diseases do not resolve spontaneously, and are generally not cured completely. Some can be immediately life-threatening, such as heart attack and stroke. Others can persist over time and can be intensive in terms of management (e.g. diabetes). Most chronic diseases persist in an individual through life, but are not always the cause of death (e.g. arthritis).

Chronic and acute conditions


The following table summarises the differences between acute conditions such as the flu or gastroenteritis and chronic conditions as defined above. Chronic Beginning Cause Duration Diagnosis Treatment Role of partnership HP and client Gradual Many Indefinite Often uncertain in early stages Cure rare, so CARE Partnership HP and client Acute Rapid Usually one Short Commonly accurate Common CURE Follow orders

Someone with a chronic condition may have an acute episode with their chronic condition - which differs from an acute condition.

Focus conditions
There are many conditions and illnesses that can be considered chronic. Recent focus in surveillance of chronic disease has been on 12 chronic conditions identified in the National Public Health Partnership's paper, Preventing Chronic Disease: a Strategic Framework. These conditions pose a significant burden in terms of morbidity, mortality and health care costs in Australia, and are amenable to preventive measures. The conditions are:

Ischaemic heart disease (also known as coronary heart disease) Stroke Lung cancer

Colorectal cancer Depression Type 2 diabetes Arthritis Osteoporosis Asthma Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) Chronic kidney disease Oral disease

SOURCE: Government of Western Australia; Department of Health

http://www.selfmanagement.health.wa.gov.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=42&It emid=45

Submitted by: Adella Kirsten Toledo, BSN IV-1 Submitted to: Mary Angelica P. Bagaoisan, RN, MAN, Elective Course II Instructor