Chronic Disease Management Tuggeranong – Greenway Medical Centre
Bulk Billing Doctors Kambah, Wanniassa, Isabella Plains, Gordon, Conder
Chronic Disease Management supports the management of clients with complex medical needs. As Chronic diseases are long-lasting with persistent effects there can be a great impact on people’s broader wellbeing.
The chronic disease management services provided by the doctors at Greenway Medical Centre aim to address these long term diseases and in doing create the potential for improved quality of life.
By managing co-ordinated, consistent and continuous care your GP can work with other health professionals to support your health and wellbeing goals.
Chronic Disease In Australia
Chronic disease is classified as a medical condition that is terminal or has been present for at least six months. They can appear at any stage of life, however, they are more common as people age. Although not always immediately life-threatening, chronic disease can have the potential to shorten life expectancy.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, these 8 common conditions have a big impact on Australians; arthritis, asthma, back pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and mental health conditions.
Of those chronic diseases, half of all Australians have at least one.
The thought of such chronic disease can be a worry for some, yet being aware of them is a step towards addressing their prevention and management.
Chronic Disease Types
There are many types of chronic disease and as such the causes are varied. A short explanation of some more common chronic diseases can be found below.
An inflammatory disease of the airways, asthma makes breathing difficult and can trigger wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. Australia has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world but its effects vary and in many cases, it is a manageable condition.
Affecting people of all ages and asthma can appear at any stage of life, and although the reasons why people develop it are unknown, there is some promising research being done. Family history and environmental factors play a factor as may obesity and exposure to tobacco smoke.
The fastest growing chronic condition in Australia, diabetes requires good management and treatment for it not to impact on our quality of life. Diabetes impairs the body’s ability to maintain healthy levels of glucose in the blood. So an unhealthy level of glucose can lead to both short and long term health issues.
There are three types, type one, type two and gestational diabetes, but all are serious conditions. Type two is increasing at the fastest rate and accounts for 85% of all diabetes. With our change in diet and more sedentary lifestyles, diabetes has become a major consequence of obesity.
The signs of diabetes can go unnoticed or are attributed to other reasons such as age, because they present as things like blurred vision, feeling tired, urinating more frequently or the slow healing of cuts. There are ways in which to calculate your risk of diabetes but to be certain your doctor can organise for you to have a blood test.
Coronary heart disease
Coronary heart disease is when the arteries that wrap around and supply blood to the heart are clogged or narrowed due to a build-up of plaque. This impairs the ability of the heart to function properly as blood flow is reduced and along with it the vital oxygen supply needed by the heart muscles.
Most people are not aware that they have coronary heart disease until they experience one of the two major forms, heart attack or angina. Angina is the result of narrowed coronary arteries. Unlike a heart attack, angina does not cause permanent heart damage. A heart attack is sudden and caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart muscle. Time is essential following a heart attack. The faster emergency treatment is given to restore blood flow, the less the heart muscle is damaged.
Knowing your risk of coronary heart disease is the first step in prevention. Talking to your doctor about your risk based on your medical history and identifying areas of lifestyle that can be improved will provide a good start.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Long-term breathing problems and poor airflow are the characteristics of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a collective term for a group of progressive lung conditions. These conditions relate to the narrowing of the bronchial tubes in the lungs which makes it difficult to breathe. Emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic asthma are all types of COPD.
Smoking, environmental factors such as exposure to harmful pollutants or even genetics can play a role in the development of COPD. Although a cure does not exist yet for COPD, proper diagnosis and early treatment can slow the progression of symptoms and assist in the management of the condition, especially by reducing the risk of flare-ups.
A better understanding of the condition through a discussion with your doctor can mean access to specialist assistance that can teach the skills to remain active through the safe management of COPD. Proactive measures can also be put in place to ensure things such as seasonal flu vaccination are prioritised.
Bones, muscles and those tissues that support and bind tissues and organs together all form the musculoskeletal system. This system provides form, support, stability, and movement to the body.
Back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, fractures related to frail bones, injuries and rheumatoid arthritis are all common and disabling musculoskeletal conditions. Of those, back problems and arthritis are two chronic conditions that present in a variety of ways. As such the symptoms and treatments are varied. Finding the best course of action can be determined by a discussion with your GP.
You may be referred to specialists for either condition or an allied health provider such as a physiotherapist. Either or both of these health professionals can work with your doctor in co-managing the condition.
Mental health conditions
There is a wide range of mental health conditions that impact mood, thinking and behaviour. Some of the major types are clinical depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, dementia, bipolar disorder or eating disorders.
These mental conditions can also affect physical health, education, employment and the ability to interact with others and to function. Thankfully with the right support and treatment, many people affected by a mental health condition can recover to live healthy and meaningful lives. This could mean either resolving the symptoms or learning to manage them.
Seeing a doctor if you or someone close to you is experiencing symptoms of mental illness can mean work can begin in seeking specialised care. If you or someone close to you is in a crisis and needs immediate action triple zero can be called and for 24/7 support Lifeline can be contacted on 13 11 14.
Chronic Disease Management Plans and Treatment
There are many types of chronic disease and as such the causes are varied.
Thankfully better treatments and management plans are available for chronic disease and as such people who have these conditions are living longer.
Should you have or develop one of these conditions you may be eligible for a management plan from your doctor. A GP Management Plan and a Team Care Arrangement are the two types of plans that can be offered by your doctor.
A GP Management Plan is an agreed course of action between your GP and yourself, that identifies your health care needs and then outlines what your doctor can provide and the things that you will need to do.
When ongoing treatment is required from a multidisciplinary team, that includes your doctor and at least two other health professionals, a Team Care Arrangement may be applicable.
Resources and Doctor Referrals
These organisations offer free resources and information for their respective chronic conditions.
This national organisation educates the community about the signs and risk factors of a stroke while partnering with the community to prevent, treat and reduce the incidence of stroke. For example to recognise a stroke think F.A.S.T. That is has their FACE dropped? Can they lift both ARMS? Is their SPEECH slurred or do they understand you? Time is critical so call 000.
Asthma Australia provides well-researched and evidence-based information and has asthma educators available to answer queries. It’s a great place to find out more about asthma, its triggers, treatment, types and how to live with the condition. There is also up to date information regarding specific health warnings such as COVID-19 and what it means for those with asthma.
The peak arthritis body in this country, Arthritis Australia work in collaboration with arthritis organisations in all states and territories to provide information and awareness to help improve peoples lives. They also fund research to improve knowledge of a disease that affects one in six Australians. Through an understanding of the causes and potential cures, they aim to find better ways to live with and treat arthritis.
The national body for people affected and at risk of diabetes, Diabetes Australia aims to reduce the impact of this chronic condition through education, leadership and the support of research. Other than information about diabetes it has plenty of healthy recipes and links to other useful resources.
Dedicated to heart disease prevention, support and research, the Heart Foundation has a fantastic amount of resources. Their focus is to stop this number one cause of mortality in Australia, through an investment in research and education and initiatives like ‘Jump Rope for Heart’ to improve heart health.
Your doctor can also provide information and resources that are more specific to your condition. After all, your GP is a primary care provider and as such has an overview of your current health and medical history. They are also well placed in connecting you with specialist and allied services, who together can assist in the management your treatment and optimise your ability to cope with chronic conditions.
If you would like to make an appointment please contact our friendly reception staff or make a booking with your doctor online via the website Appointments page.