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Management of chronic conditions

A chronic condition is an illness that lasts a long time - 6 months or more. Chronic conditions can be managed with a range of treatments and a healthy lifestyle. This page gives ideas on how you can manage a chronic condition.

Managing my chronic condition

There is plenty you can do to help yourself. It doesn't matter whether you have:

The more knowledge and control you have, the better your health will be.

What can I do?

Learn as much as you can about your illness. Read widely, although be careful – not everything you read is true. Learning about your condition will help you take control of your health, and will allow you to choose treatments that suit you. It will also help you ask the right questions of your doctor.

General practitioner

Make sure you have a good general practitioner, one who you can talk to and who understands you and the way you live your life. Having one person who is central to your health care will make it much easier for you. If you don’t have a GP who you feel can really help you, talk to friends or read about how to find a GP.

Healthcare providers

Try to work together with your team of healthcare providers, which might include specialists, counsellors or physiotherapists. And try to make sure they work together – you can help by encouraging them to share information about your health.

Management plan

Ask your doctor for a management plan. This lists what you both need to do to manage your illness. It is agreed on between you and your doctor.

Healthy lifestyle

Live a healthy lifestyle. Many people with chronic conditions feel better with a good diet, being as active as they can be, being a healthy weight and minimising alcohol.

Medication

Understand the medicines you take. If you are taking them for long periods, have your doctor review them each year to make sure they are still appropriate.

Where can I get support?

There is plenty of help and support available to help you manage your chronic condition. Sources of support can include support groups and services, self-management programs and support for carers.

Support groups

You can join a support group or online forum to chat with people who have the same chronic condition as you. Many organisations have these, including the Stroke Foundation, Cancer Council and Alzheimer's Australia.

Support services

Services such as Lifeline and beyondblue offer emotional support if you're stressed, anxious or depressed.

You may also consider contacting a social worker, who can provide short term counselling and information about government and community support services. Speak with your community health centre about how a social worker may be able to help you manage your chronic condition.

Self-management programs

Self-management programs give you information and skills to help manage your illness. Contact your local government office or community health organisation to find one that suits you.

Support for carers

Carers of people with chronic conditions can also join self-management programs and support groups. The Carer Gateway offers support and advice for all carers. Call toll free on 1800 422 737.

More information

If you need help finding support services, talk to your doctor or call Healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222.

Last reviewed: June 2016

Need more information?

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Found 25 results

Chronic Disease Management allied health individual services

Information on the individual allied health services available to patients with a chronic condition and/or complex care needs, on referral from a GP

Read more on Department of Health website

Chronic Disease Management Plan

People with a chronic medical condition may be able to get Medicare benefits to cover allied health services that help manage their condition.

Read more on Medicare website

Chronic illness

A chronic or long-term illness means having to adjust to the demands of the illness and the therapy used to treat the condition. There may be additional stresses, since chronic illness might change the way you live, see yourself and relate to others.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Chronic illness - coping at school

Beginning primary school, or moving to secondary school, can be a challenging time for any student and family. This can be even harder when the student has a chronic (ongoing) health condition. To get the most out of their schooling, students with a chronic illness need ongoing and coordinated support from their families, schools and medical carers.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Chronic illness | Better Health Channel

A chronic or long term illness means the person has to adjust to the demands of the illness and the therapy used to treat the condition.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Chronic Disease Management Patient Information

Planning your health care, Patient Information Sheet

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Chronic physical illness, anxiety and depression

Living with or experiencing a chronic illness can result in many adjustments and changes, such as loss of independence and not being able to do all the active things you used to do or usually enjoy. Anxiety and depression are common in people with chronic physical illness.

Read more on beyondblue website

Parenting and Child Health - Health Topics - Chronic childhood illness managing the emotional impact

Sometimes children have an illness that is not 'curable' but continues on into adulthood. Coping with chronic childhood illness can be very difficult at first, not only for the child, but for the whole family. In addition to the child's physical health and medical needs, you need to manage the feelings that come with all the changes and health issues.

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Parenting and Child Health - Health Topics - Chronic childhood illness managing the emotional impact

Sometimes children have an illness that is not 'curable' but continues on into adulthood. Coping with chronic childhood illness can be very difficult at first, not only for the child, but for the whole family. In addition to the child's physical health and medical needs, you need to manage the feelings that come with all the changes and health issues.

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Epilepsy, anxiety and depression

Anxiety and depression are very common in people with epilepsy. The altered brain activity that causes epileptic seizures can lead to depressive moods and the stress of living with a chronic condition can worsen feelings of anxiety and depression.

Read more on beyondblue website

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