It’s a fact of life that when we age, the more prone we become to developing chronic diseases. In fact, 4 in 5 people over the age of 65 in Australia are living with some form of chronic condition. Let’s take a look at some of the most common chronic diseases affecting older adults in Australia and how chronic disease management services can help.
#1 – Alzheimer’s Disease
This progressive neurological disorder can either present slowly or come on aggressively. The brain starts to shrink and the result is the death of brain cells over a period of time. The behaviour of the person living with Alzheimer’s Disease starts to change and one of the major symptoms of this chronic condition is forgetfulness, with sometimes the individual not even recognising their own family members.
#2 – Arthritis
Arthritis in elderly people can range from being an annoyance to debilitating, depending on the severity of the arthritis. Joints age and wear out and the protective layers of cartilage in the joints degrade over time, leaving the bone exposed and allowing arthritis growths to proliferate. The result is joint stiffness and joint pain and sometimes the inability to perform regular mundane tasks.
#3 – Cancer
Unfortunately, cancer is all too common and can affect anyone, but older or younger women are more likely to show signs of breast cancer. There are way too many different forms of cancer to list here. While not all forms of cancer are chronic or incurable, stage 4 cancer becomes a chronic ongoing condition and recurring cancers become chronic conditions as well.
#4 – Diabetes
Diabetes is one of the most common forms of chronic disease in Australia. Type 1 diabetes can be more debilitating than Type 2 but a lot of management goes into living with either type of diabetes. People with Type 1 diabetes are insulin-dependent and it commonly presents itself in children, whereas Type 2 diabetes is non-insulin dependent and often occurs in people over the age of 40.
#5 – Heart Disease
While heart disease is certainly considered a chronic condition, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be fatal. Heart disease, depending on the severity of the condition, is manageable with lifestyle changes and medication. Unfortunately, in Australia, heart disease is one of the most chronic and prevalent health concerns in the country.
#6 – Hypertension
Hypertension simply means high blood pressure. Everyone can experience episodes of hypertension but it’s only when it becomes an ongoing issue that it becomes a chronic condition. The danger of hypertension is that the impact of extra pressure on the heart and arteries can eventually lead to heart disease or a heart attack.
#7 – Asthma
There are many people in Australia who live with chronic asthma and it’s a condition that can worsen with age. Asthmatics have difficulty breathing at times and can launch into hacking coughing fits and wheezing. It can be a minor nuisance for some people and a major health concern for others. Asthma inhalers can work wonders for people living with chronic asthma.
#8 – Crohn Disease
Crohn Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Inflammation of the digestive tract can cause abdominal pain, weight loss, malnutrition, fatigue and diarrhea. While not usually considered a life-threatening disease, chronic Crohn Disease can lead to life-threatening complications if not managed.
Chronic Disease Management Services
Chronic diseases of all kinds need regular management to help maintain some quality of life. Chronic disease management services are designed to help Australians manage their chronic disease, including management of symptoms, pain management, discovering lifestyle changes that can improve the condition and more.
The best form of chronic disease management takes place in the home, with the professional care and support of trained staff. Your condition will be assessed and your needs will be discussed. A management plan will then be formulated and administered. It’s the best way to live with and manage a chronic health condition.
If you’re living with one of the chronic diseases mentioned in this article or any other form of chronic disease, you don’t have to go through it alone. Professional help is available to you, so you can better manage your condition and improve your quality of life.