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The term chronic disease applies to a group of diseases that tend to be long lasting and have persistent effects.
Chronic diseases have a range of potential impacts on a person's individual circumstances, including quality of life and broader social and economic effects. Chronic diseases are the leading causes of fatal burden of disease (the amount of life lost due to people dying early) in most age and sex groups  and are the leading cause of illness, disability and death in Australia, accounting for 90% of all deaths in 2011 .
Information presented below on the prevalence of selected chronic diseases comes from different data sources. This means there may be some differences in the time periods of reporting and methods of measurement used in relation to specific chronic diseases.
Media release: 1 in 5 Australians affected by multiple chronic diseases
Information in this section was last updated in August 2015.
CVD is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in Australia.
Over 1 in 5 Australians aged 18+ (22%) reported having CVD in 2011–12 .
Over the past 3 decades, survival rates for cancer have gradually increased . 861,057 Australians were alive in 2009 who had been diagnosed with cancer in the previous 28 years .
In 2009, the risk of being diagnosed with cancer before their 85th birthday was 1 in 2 for males and 1 in 3 for females.
1 in 10 Australians aged 18+ (10%) had biomedical signs of CKD in 2011–12, with the majority of these showing early signs of the disease .
1 in 19 Australians (5.4%) had diabetes in 2011–12 (self–reported and measured data). This is includes approximately 1% of the population who did not self-report they had diabetes, which may indicate they were unaware they had the condition .
The most recent data shows that mental health conditions are highly prevalent in the population.
In 2007, 1 in 5 Australians aged 16–85 (20%) experienced a mental disorder in the previous 12 months .
In 2013–14, 1 in 7 children aged 4–17 (14%) were assessed as having mental health disorders in the previous 12 months .
Over 1 in 4 Australians (28%) reported having arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions in 2011–12. The most prevalent conditions were back problems, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis .
3 in 10 Australians aged 25–44 had untreated tooth decay in 2004–06.
1 in 2 12 year–olds had tooth decay in their permanent teeth in 2010. From 1977–2010 there has been an overall decrease in the average number of permanent teeth affected; however there has been a gradual increase from the late 1990s .
1 in 10 Australians (10%) reported having asthma in 2011–12. This rate is significantly lower than the rate of 11.6% in 2001.
1 in 42 Australians (2.4%) reported having COPD in 2011–12. The development of COPD occurs over many years and mainly affects middle aged and older people .