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4367.0 - Aspects of Disability and Health in Australia, 2007-2008  
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SELECTED LONG-TERM HEALTH CONDITIONS


SELECTED LONG TERM HEALTH CONDITIONS

This section examines people's perceptions of their own health, the prevalence of people experiencing more than one medical condition and the most prevalent chronic conditions in the Australian population by Disability status.

Disability can be associated with mobility impairments which places people at a higher risk of circulatory disorders, that is, ischaemic heart disease, hypertension and cerebrovascular disease. It is also a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.


Self assessed health

Of people aged 18 years and over with Profound/severe disability, 17.4% considered their overall health to be very good or excellent and 22.6% stated that their health was good. In contrast, 68.8% of people without a disability rated their health as very good or excellent and 25.8% as good. Of people with Profound/severe disability, 59.9% considered their health to be fair or poor, compared to 5.5% of people without a disability (Graph 4).

4 Self-assessed health, by Disability status(a)
4 Self-assessed health, by Disability status(a)



Number of long-term conditions

Of people with Profound/severe disability, 3.0% reported no long-term health condition, compared to 36.0% of people without a disability. Of people with Profound/severe disability, 68.9% reported having four or more long term health conditions, compared to 10.8% of people without a disability (Graph 5). This has implications for the provision of co-ordinated support and clinical management of people with Profound/severe disability who have high and complex long-term health condition needs.

5 Number of long-term health conditions, by Disability status
5 Number of long-term health conditions, by Disability status



Arthritis

Arthritis is an inflammatory condition of the joints, characterised by pain, swelling, heat, redness and limitation of movement.

Across all age groups, the proportion of people with Profound/severe disability that reported arthritis was noticeably higher than those people without disability.

Although we cannot determine the cause of the disability from the survey, 62.5% of people with Profound/severe disability reported arthritis in the 75 and over age group, compared to 32.0% of people without disability (Graph 6).

6 Arthritis by, Disability status
6 Arthritis, by Disability status



Ischaemic heart disease

Ischaemic heart disease, like arthritis, is associated with the ageing process. It is a pathological condition caused by a lack of oxygen in the cells of the muscles surrounding the heart.

More people with Profound/severe disability had Ischaemic heart disease (10.6%) than people without a disability (0.9%). The rate of Ischaemic heart disease increased dramatically for people with Profound/severe disability between the ages of 55-64 and 65-74 (9.2% rising to 26.3%). In comparison, for those without disability, the rate went from 3.4% to 6.4% (Graph 7).

7 Ischaemic heart disease, by Disability status
7 Ischaemic heart disease, by Disability status



Hypertensive disease

Hypertensive disease is a common disorder characterised by high blood pressure. Risk for the disorder is increased by obesity, high cholesterol levels, high sodium levels and a family history of high blood pressure. Age and disability status are both statistically significant factors in the presence of hypertensive disease.

People with Profound/severe disability were more affected by hypertensive disease than people without a disability across all age groups (Graph 8). In the 45-54 age group, 16.6% of people with Profound/severe disability reported having hypertension, compared to 8.6% of people with no disablility. The proportion of people with Profound/severe disability who had hypertension in the 75 and over age group was 49.4%, in comparison to 28.8% of people with no disability.

8 Hypertensive disease, by Disability status
8 Hypertensive disease, by disability status



Cerebrovascular disease

Cerebrovascular disease was the second highest leading cause of death in Australia in 2008 (Causes of Death, 2008, cat.no. 3303.0). This disease pertains to a lack of blood supply and therefore oxygen to the brain due to a vascular blockage, commonly known as stroke.

The rate of cerebrovascular disease was 4.6% amongst the 0-44 year old people with Profound/severe disability, compared to 0.1% of 0-44 year olds without a disability. There was a marked increase in this disease in the people with Profound/severe disability from age 55-64yrs (8.3%) to age 65-74yrs (17.5%) (Graph 9).

9 Cerebrovascular disease, by Disability status
9 Cerebrovascular disease, by Disability status



Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a complex metabolic disorder, characterised by hyperglycaemia and associated with a relative deficiency of insulin secretion, along with a reduced response of target tissues to insulin (insulin resistance). The prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in Australia has increased from 2.4% in 1995 to 4.0% in 2007-08. There is a tendency for the increased prevalence of Type 2 diabetes to be concentrated in lower socioeconomic groups in developed countries.3

The proportion of people with Profound/severe disability who have Type 2 diabetes is markedly higher than people who have no disability, particularly in the 55-64 age group (25.5% compared to 6.0%) and 65-74 year age group (26.9% compared to 9.0%).

10 Type 2 diabetes, by Disability status
10 Type 2 diabetes, by Disability status



Asthma

Asthma is a condition characterised by laboured breathing, caused by airway inflammation which leads to restriction of the smooth muscle around the bronchi. It can be triggered by allergens, pollutants, cold air, infection, vigorous exercise or emotional stress.

In 2007-08, 10.0% of people in Australia reported asthma as a current and long term condition. There is a higher prevalence rate of asthma for people with Profound/severe disability across all age groups . The differential was particularly marked in the 0-14, 35-44 and 45-54 age groups (Graph 11).

11 Asthma, by Disability status
Asthma, by Disability status



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