ALMOST half of all Australians suffer from a chronic disease, with 20% suffering from two or more.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has said that this can purely be by chance, but there are often associations, such as shared risk factors.

With almost 40% of Australians aged 45 and over suffering from 2 or more chronic diseases it can be seen that age is a particularly strong factor in association.

The most common combination of chronic disease in older Australians is arthritis and cardiovascular disease. While for younger Australians aged 0 – 44 years the most frequent combination is mental health conditions and back problems.

The AIHW has stated that combinations of chronic disease are associated with poorer health outcomes. This in turn leads to a greater use of health services therefore higher healthcare costs.