The Elderly and Chronic Diseases

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The Elderly and Chronic Diseases Introduction Chronic disease and conditions are usually defined as those diseases which last for more than six months and which have a severe effect on the life of the individuals (Chronic Conditions and Injury, para.1). While chronic diseases can affect people of all ages and demographics, these types of diseases are very often found in the elderly. Chronic disease are also characterized by "…multiple risk factors, long latency periods, a prolonged course of illness and functional impairment or disability" (Key indicators of progress for chronic disease and associated determinants, 2011, p. 1). Chronic disease is also found to be more prevalent in the ageing demographic of most countries. Australia is one of the developed countries that have a growing ageing population, and this has a decided impact on the Australian Health System and Services, which is in fact expected to increase in the future. "...the increase in certain risk factors and the prolonging of life due to improvements in medical interventions, the prevalence of chronic disease is expected to increase in the future (Key indicators of progress for chronic disease and associated determinants, 2011, p. 1). An alarming statistic that should be taken into account is that, "...it is estimated that chronic diseases currently account for 70% of the total burden of ill health in Australia, as measured by disability-adjusted life-years, and this is expected to increase to 80%
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