Lifestyle Diseases

Every day more Australians develop chronic disease due to lifestyle factors like poor nutrition, inadequate exercise, smoking and excessive alcohol. The good news is that you don't have to be one of them.

The State of the Nation

Did you know that in Australia:

  • 1 in 6 people have cardiovascular disease
  • Cardiovascular vascular disease causes 1 in every 3 deaths
  • 1 million people have been diagnosed diabetes and of these 3 in 5 also have cardiovascular disease
  • 1 in 7 hospitalisations were for dialysis due to kidney disease
  • Indigenous Australians are 3 times more likely to have diabetes and 6 times more likely to have end-stage kidney disease than non-Indigenous Australians

What Causes All This Disease?

Lifestyle factors play a heavy part in the development of many diseases. The table below from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows the association between different lifestyle factors and common chronic diseases. Ischaemic heart disease includes heart attack and angina. COPD refers to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which encompasses chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Determinants of Chronic Disease

Many Australians are at risk:

  • 3 in 5 adults are overweight or obese;
  • 1 in 2 people over the age of 25 have high blood cholesterol; and
  • 1 in 3 people over the age of 25 have high blood pressure.

Towards Better Health

It is evident from the table above that you can reduce your risk of developing lifestyle diseases by:

  • Stopping smoking;
  • Increasing your physical activity;
  • Limiting your alcohol intake;
  • Eating well; and
  • Controlling your weight, blood pressure and blood fats (including cholesterol).

In the Healthy Lifestyle section of this website is dedicated to explaining more about how to reduce your risk of chronic disease.

A Word On Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is not a trivial illness. It causes death and disability and is Australia’s fastest growing chronic condition. Some 280 Australians develop type 2 diabetes each day.

Diabetes can lead to heart disease, vision loss, kidney failure and limb amputation. It can make you more likely to get serious infections and it can cause a range of other problems such as numb hands and feet. The bottom line is that you definitely do not want diabetes. Don’t wait until it is too late – take steps to avoid diabetes right now.