Chronic Disabilities

Information about Chronic Disabilities


Many illnesses and health conditions can be classified under the broad heading of chronic disease. Chronic diseases are mostly characterised by:

  • complex causality
  • multiple risk factors
  • long latency periods
  • a prolonged course of illness
  • functional impairment or 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).

While some chronic diseases such as diabetes and arthritis have been known for centuries, infectious diseases dominated the health scene until the 19th century. For various reasons, including the fact that more people are living to older age and improvements in the treatment and management, chronic diseases have increased in prevalence over the past.

Focus conditions

There are many conditions and illness 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
  • Osteoperosis
  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Oral disease

At Sunshine Butterflies we aim to provide an inclusive environment for individuals and their families living with Chronic Disabilities. If you would like further information on how Sunshine Butterflies can support you, please do not hesitate to contact us.