Chronic diseases are illnesses that are prolonged in duration, do not often resolve spontaneously, and are rarely cured completely1. Chronic diseases are complex and varied in terms of their nature, how they are caused and the extent of their impact on the community. While some chronic diseases make large contributions to premature death, others contribute more to disability. Some may last indefinitely, whereas others may resolve over time2.
Given the increasing prevalence of chronic disease and the enormous associated personal, social and economic cost to the community, a wide range of Australian Government programs and initiatives provide assistance in the area of chronic disease, including:
1Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2002). Chronic diseases and associated risk factors in Australia 2001, Canberra: AIHW, page 2.
2Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2006). Chronic diseases and associated risk factors in Australia 2006, Canberra: AIHW, page 2.
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