This includes 1 in 12 people who have a mental health condition, which came out as the one that affected most Australians.
In this article, we take a look at the findings and offer ways you can take care of yourself if you are living with health conditions.
What is a long-term condition?
A long-term health condition is one that cannot be cured but can be managed by medication, therapy or other treatments. This means that you are likely to live with it for the rest of your life.
The 2021 census gave examples of some of the most common long-term health conditions and asked people to state if they were living with them — we’ll find out more in the next section.
What does the census reveal?
Data collected from the 2021 census shows that one-third of Australians — around eight million — are living with a long-term health condition.
As part of the census, on 10 August last year, Australians were asked to reveal if they were affected by one of the conditions on the following list:
- Heart attack
- Lung or kidney disease
- Mental health issues
Mental illness was by far the most commonly reported long-term condition, affecting around 2.2 million Australians or 1 in 12 people.
The second most common long-term condition was arthritis, followed by asthma.
And 1 million Australians who responded to the census said they had a long-term condition that was not listed.
While 4.8 million Australians said they had one of the long-term conditions listed in the census, 1.5 million were living with two conditions, and over 750,000 had three or more of them.
The census also revealed that the older you get, the more likely you will have a long-term health condition. Just over 62% of Australians aged over 65 said they had at least one long-term condition, compared with around 20% of 15- to 34-year-olds.
What can I do to take care of myself?
If you are living with one of the examples of long-term health conditions listed — or indeed any others — it’s important to know what you can do to take care of yourself.
Let’s look at a few steps you can take that could make a big difference to your day-to-day life:
- Understand your condition. Ask your doctor or healthcare provider where you can find reliable information that explains your condition — having this knowledge will help you manage it better.
- Get support. You can do this by telling your trusted family members and friends what you are going through and how they can help. You can also wear a medical alert bracelet that details your condition. As well as raising awareness, this will ensure that you get the right treatment in an emergency if you are unable to communicate about your condition yourself.
- Practise self-care. It’s important to prioritise time looking after yourself. This will help you manage your feelings and stay in control of your condition. You can do this by spending time on healthy activities that you find relaxing or enjoyable. For some people, this could be listening to music, meditating or enjoying a long, hot bath. Others may prefer more physical activities like walking or other forms of exercise.
- Try to stay healthy. Staying healthy is easier said than done when you have a long-term condition. But you can still make healthier choices like reaching for a piece of fruit instead of a sugary treat, staying hydrated by drinking water frequently and attempting gentle exercise a few times a week.
- Protect yourself against illness. If you have a long-term health condition, you may be more vulnerable to infections. So, take care to wash your hands frequently and use sanitiser in between washing. Wear a face mask when you are out in crowded places. And make sure you keep up with any vaccinations advised by your doctor.
Here to support you every step of the way
If you are living with a long-term health condition, know that you are not alone. The census has shown us that it’s common to be living with a condition that affects your physical or mental health.
It’s important to know that even taking some very simple steps can help you manage your condition better and improve your quality of life.
At FeverMates, we’re here to help you do just that. Our range of wellness products is designed to help you be proactive about your health and live life to the full. Know that we’re here to support you every step of the way!