Chronic diseases are long lasting conditions with persistent effects. Their social and economic consequences can impact on peoples’ quality of life. Chronic conditions are becoming increasingly common and are a priority for action in the health sector.

Many people with chronic conditions do not have a single, predominant condition, but rather they experience multimorbidity—the presence of 2 or more chronic conditions in a person at the same time.

AIHW commonly reports on 10 major chronic condition groups: arthritis, asthma, back pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, mental health conditions and osteoporosis.

These chronic conditions were selected for reporting because they are common, pose significant health problems, have been the focus of ongoing AIHW surveillance efforts and, in many instances, action can be taken to prevent their occurrence.

More reports and statistics on chronic disease can be found under Burden of disease, Biomedical risk factors and Life expectancy & deaths.

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Latest findings

Multimorbidity is more common among females (23%) than males (18%)

Multimorbidity increases with age—it affects 12% of those aged 15–44 and half (51%) of those aged 65 and over

1 in 5 (20%) of Australians had multimorbidity—2 or more of 10 chronic conditions—in 2017–18, based on self-report

Self-reported heart, stroke and vascular disease rates ranged from 2.9% to 8.4% across Primary Health Networks

The highest chronic kidney disease hospitalisation rate by Population Health Area was 23 times the national average

By Primary Health Network, type 2 diabetes rates were generally higher in regional than in metropolitan areas