Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Young man and woman having conversation

Young man and woman having conversation
beginning of content

Management of chronic conditions

3-minute read

A chronic condition is an illness that lasts a long time and doesn’t go away, and often leads to your health gradually getting worse. If you have a chronic condition, you will need to have a range of treatments and follow 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, and difference types of therapists. 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, not smoking 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 and will give you information about the best way to manage your chronic disease:

Support services

You can find a list of resources to help manage chronic conditions on the Department of Health website.

Services such as Lifeline and Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 (24 hours a day) 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.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: May 2020


Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

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

Living with a chronic illness | Serious and chronic illness | ReachOut Australia

A diagnosis of a chronic illness can be difficult to cope with, and almost certainly means some major changes in your life.

Read more on ReachOut.com website

Disability and chronic illness

Children with disabilities are protected by law, have the same rights as children and may be also eligible for financial assistance and other support.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Managing Chronic Illness on Vimeo

Mary Macheras-Magias from the Health Issues Centre talks about how cancer relates to chronic illness, the importance of being an active participant in your own health

Read more on Counterpart - Women supporting women with cancer website

Serious and chronic illness | ReachOut Australia

Being diagnosed with a medical problem can be a shock, especially when it's something serious. It's perfectly normal to feel frustrated or upset.

Read more on ReachOut.com website

Carers NSW - Disability and chronic illness support organisations

Caring for someone with a disability or chronic illness can be both very challenging and rewarding

Read more on Carers NSW website

Chronic illness - coping at school - Better Health Channel

Supporting a student with a chronic illness requires a 'whole school' approach.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Chronic illness | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

Many children (10-20%) have a chronic illness, such as asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, eczema or arthritis

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Chronic illness TINO : Tune In Not Out

Living with a chronic illness is tough. Help and support is available, explore other young people's stories.

Read more on Tune In Not Out website

Preventing chronic illness in you and your baby

Chronic illness can complicate a pregnancy and while you may not be able to prevent a chronic illness, leading a healthy lifestyle will help reduce the risk, both to you and your baby.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo